Lepidoptera The New Small Skipper Butterfly – Hesperia Lineola

A few years since (1888) a butterfly was taken in one of our south-eastern counties that closely resembled the well-known Thaumas (or Linea), but which turned out to be a species not previously known in Britain. When, however, the distinguishing features of the new butterfly were made known, several entomologists discovered that they had already secured the new prize, but that, being ignorant of its characteristics, they had placed it in their series over the label Thaumas.

Since the above date, this new insect (Butterflies ImagePlate VII, fig. 18), which is named Lineola, has been taken in considerable numbers at Leigh, Harwich, Southend, and near Shoeburyness in Suffolk, as well as in the Fens of Huntingdonshire; and it is highly probable that it may turn up in various other localities where it has not yet been observed.

It appears on the wing about the first week of July, a little later than Thaumas, but the two kindred species are often found flying together.

The chief points by which we distinguish Lineola from the last species are these: The general appearance of the wings is a bit dingier than in Thaumas; the inner portion of the hind wings is of a bright tawny colour in Thaumas but not in Lineola; the tips of the antenna are yellow beneath in Thaumas, but black in Lineola; and the black streak across the fore wings of the latter species is short and generally broken.

The eggs of Lineola are laid at the end of July or beginning of August on various grasses, chiefly the various species of Triticum, but do not hatch till the following April.

The larva is full fed about the end of June or beginning of July, and then changes to a long yellowish-green chrysalis, from which the perfect insect emerges in two or three weeks.