Thursday 27th February 2014

Large Chequered Skippers

The next species of butterfly that I missed in 2013 was the Large Chequered Skipper, Heteropterus morpheus, and it was almost a deliberate move on my part not to go to see it. My diary entry for the last time I did see it, in July 2012, reads as follows:

The Large Chequered Skipper, Heteropterus morpheus, is a butterfly with a disjointed distribution, occurring in marshy areas across Europe. There is one region where it can still be found in the Netherlands, but it has declined drastically even there since around 2005, and nobody really knows why. I saw it in profusion in a wonderful wetland reserve called De Groote Peel in 2001 and 2003, but it has since then virtually disappeared from there, with just a few records of lone individuals.

Large Chequered Skipper, Heteropterus morpheus Large Chequered Skipper, Heteropterus morpheus Large Chequered Skipper, Heteropterus morpheus

This year I saw two in a nearby wooded area, but the very limited area in which they could be found was attracting large numbers of butterfly enthusiasts, who despite their love of this rare species, were trampling the vegetation in order to obtain better close-ups.

Large Chequered Skipper habitat

The upperside of the Large Chequered Skipper

Had I seen this species plus the other previously mentioned species that I should have seen, my 2013 list would have been: 85 species

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