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Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)


Grizzled Skipper Butterfly

The Grizzled Skipper is a species of very small butterflies found hovering, flapping their wings very fast. They are seen mostly during spring and summer in bright, sunny fields and warm, flowering areas.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Hesperiidae
  • Genus: Pyrgus
  • Scientific Name: Pyrgus malvae

Description and Identification


Grizzled Skipper Butterfly Caterpillar

The small larva is born green with longitudinal lines across its body, while it gradually transforms into light brown upon maturing.


Grizzled Skipper Butterfly Chrysalis

The chrysalis is light green, with the other half gradually turning brown as they near the stage of the imago.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Visually similar (the males have the tip of their wings slightly angular as opposed to the rounded-tipped wings of the females)

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, it shows its characteristic fringes checkered in black to gray-black and white, while the tiny secondary wings are usually solid black to brownish black. When the wings are closed, the underside of the hindwings display a gray-brown to black checkered with whitish spots and white veins.

Grizzled Skipper
Pyrgus malvae

Average wingspan: 2.5-3.3 inches

Flight pattern: Swift and erratic


Grizzled Skipper Butterfly Eggs

White, elongated eggs deposited one at a time on host plant leaves

Quick Facts

Distribution Throughout Europe; In North America, starting from south and east Alaska to central Ontario and northern Michigan. Isolated populations also found in Labrador and arctic Quebec, central Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains from central Alberta south to northern New Mexico
Habitat Wide variety of habitats including sunny open forest edges, small shrubs and flowering gardens, grassy hillsides, tundra, valley bottoms, barren lands, scrub oak openings, and meadows
Host plants Agrimony, creeping cinquefoil, and wild strawberry
Adult diet Flower nectar

Did You Know?

The grizzled skippers tend to favor plants bearing blue- and violet-colored flowers.

Female Grizzled Skipper Butterfly
Grizzled Skipper Butterfly Images
Male Grizzled Skipper Butterfly

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