New Jersey Butterflies

European Skipper

Thymelicus lineola

Identification: Tiny—FW 0.5". Sexes similar below. Above: FW and HW bright, deep orange with narrow dark borders. Male has a very narrow dark stigma paralleling the outer edge of the inner FW. Antennae are relatively short, with blunt tips (unlike the curved, pointed tips of other skippers). Below: FW and HW unmarked. FW pale orange, HW slightly more grayish or greenish. Similar skippers: Swarthy is dark above, with pale veining on HW below. Delaware is brighter orange overall (especially when fresh), with prominent black cell-end bars and black veining above. Tawny-edged is pale brown on HW below, contrasting with orange on leading edge of FW, and HW often has a faint spotband.

NJ Status and Distribution: Nonnative resident. As its name implies, the "Euro" is an alien species, native to Eurasia; it was first seen in NJ in the late 1950s, and has since colonized the entire state. It is widespread and very common to abundant in northern NJ, becoming less so in the south.

NJ Range Map-European Skipper

Habitat: Any kind of open area with tall grasses. Readily visits garden flowers.

Flight Period: Early June—mid July. Extreme dates: North Jersey 5/20—7/14; South Jersey 6/3—7/25.

Larval Food Plants: Timothy (Phleum pratense), but also Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata) and other grasses.

Overwintering Stage: Egg with developed 1st-instar larva inside.

Best Locations: Schooley's Mountain CP, Big Brook Park, Flatbrookville, Whittingham WMA, Vineland area.

Comments: Often seen by the dozen on Common Milkweed flowers. This is one of only 2 alien species of butterfly in NJ (the other is Cabbage White).



European Skipper

Kittatinny Valley SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/19/06.


European Skipper

Schooley's Mountain CP, Morris Co., NJ, 6/18/11.