Pyrgus andromedae

Alpine Grizzled Skipper


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2013

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2012

Field notes and information

One of two very similar species: Confined to the major mountains of Europe.

Identification & Similar species: The alpine grizzled and the dusky grizzled skippers, P. andromedae & P. cacaliae, can be separated from other similar species by: few upperside hindwing markings and dirty dark green underside hindwings which give the butterflies a rather dull overall feel. Space 1b of the underside hindwing has a white exclamation mark (!) which is missing in most other similar species.

Two main differences between these two species are as follows:

P. andromedae: brighter upper forewing markings with 3 spots in the discal area in spaces 1b, 2 and 3. Basal spots present on the underside hindwing.

P. cacaliae: usually very small upper forewing markings and maximum of 2 spots (sometimes none) in the discal area in spaces 1b and 2. The middle basal spot is absent on the underside hindwing

Distribution & Flight: Pyrenees, Alps, north Scandinavia and a few mountains in the Balkans. It flies from mid to very high altitudes, down to sea level in the Arctic. Single brooded from late June to August.

Habitat & Behaviour: Grassy alpine meadows with flowers.

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2012

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Grisons, Switzerland, July 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2009

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Valais, Switzerland, June/July 2009

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2007

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2003

Row of three basal spots visible on forewing - the 3rd spot (small in this specimen) is missing in cacaliae.

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2006