Thymelicus sylvestris, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Thymelicus sylvestris, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Thymelicus sylvestris


Thymelicus sylvestris is a butterfly of the family Hesperiidae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Thymelicus sylvestris (Poda, 1761)

Common name

Small Skipper


Family: Hesperiidae > Subfamily: Hesperiinae > Tribus: Hesperiini > Genus: Thymelicus


Male to female: 25-30 mm

On the forewing, the upper side is light brown-orange and yellow shaded. There is a distinctive black marginal line, not entering the submarginal area.  The underside is very light yellow-orange colored with pale grey near the apex. A very thin line of androconia is also present.
On the hindwing, both sides are similar to the forewing, but lacking marks. The underside is light brown without any markings.
Generally, both sexes have a similar appearance, but there aren’t any grey shades on the underside of the hindwings. The antennae clubs are brown-colored underside.

It flies fast low to the ground and is strongly attracted to purple flowers such as thistles and knapweeds. The butterfly is active in the sunshine, it has a rapid buzzing flight, ‘skipping’ from flower to flower.


Thymelicus sylvestris in Crete lives in mountains or lowland, it is typically occurring where grass has grown tall. In dry sunny slopes, shrubland, rocky slopes, olive groves, cultivated areas, river and lake banks.

Food plant

The larva feeds on Poaceae plants.

Flight Period

The butterfly flies in one generation per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Thymelicus sylvestris has a similar appearance to Thymelicus acteon, but it differs in being a lighter brown color. The female also lacks the pale gold discal patch on the forewing, which forms a gentle curve in the case of Thymelicus acteon.


Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Thymelicus Sylvestris Distribution Map

*based on

Thymelicus sylvestris location map based on greek butterflies distributions map by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)