European Skipper – Thymelicus lineola

European Skipper Butterfly – Thymelicus lineola
Family: Hesperiidae – Skippers / Subfamily: Hesperiinae – Grass skippers
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This skipper is the most abundant butterfly in many regions of the Eastern U.S.

European Skipper

Adult butterfly: bright brassy orange above with narrow black borders on both wings, and ends of veins outlined in black; male has very narrow black stigma, and female usually has thin vertical black vein at end of forewing cell. Below, forewing is pale orange and hindwing is grayish-brown. Larva is green with dark dorsal stripe and whitish subdorsal and lateral stripes; head green with three brown bars with two white bars between them.

Family Hesperiidae: Skipper Butterflies comprise nearly 3,000 species worldwide, 250 of which call North America home. Roughly one third of North American butterflies belong to this family. Skippers are named for their rapid, erratic flight. Skippers differ from the true butterflies in their proportionately larger bodies, smaller wings, and hooked antennae, among many other structural differences. The skipper family is further divided into subfamilies. Skippers can be the most difficult butterfly species to identify; their markings are maddeningly similar.

European Skipper Butterfly


  1. Opler, Paul A., Harry Pavulaan, Ray E. Stanford, Michael Pogue, coordinators. 2006. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: NBII Mountain Prairie Information Node.
  2., European Skipper

Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.
Learn to identify many of the American Midwest's common species through descriptions and large diagnostic photos of live, wild specimens.
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