Thymelicus acteon 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Lepidoptera Hesperiidae

Scientific Name: Thymelicus acteon (Rottemburg, 1775)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Lulworth Skipper
Papilio acteon Rottemburg, 1775

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-01-29
Assessor(s): van Swaay, C., Wynhoff, I., Verovnik, R., Wiemers, M., López Munguira, M., Maes, D., Sasic, M., Verstrael, T., Warren, M. & Settele, J.
Reviewer(s): van Swaay, C. & Cuttelod, A. (IUCN Red List Unit)
Although this species is widespread and often common in the southern half of its range, it shows strong declines in Central Europe. At the European and EU27 level, it has not been declining by more than 25% in the last ten years. However, in the European Grassland Butterfly Indicator (Van Swaay & Van Strien 2008), this species shows a decline of more than 30% in European grasslands, its main habitat. For this reason, the species is considered as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in large parts of Europe up to 54° N. In England, it is only present on Dorset coast. It is absent from the Balearic Islands, Corsica and Sardinia, large parts of northern Italy, northern Germany and northeastern Poland. 0-1,600 m. Its range extends to North Africa and the Middle East. The largest part of the global distribution area of the species is situated in Europe, but the species also occurs in other continents.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Montenegro; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Regionally extinct:
Additional data:
Range Map:174412-1

Population [top]

Population:This is a local species, restricted to (semi-) natural areas in the northern part of its range. In the south widespread. It is reported extinct in the Netherlands since the 1980s. Strong decline in distribution or population size of more than 30% have been reported from FYR of Macedonia, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Decline in distribution or population size of 6-30% have been reported from Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and United Kingdom (data provided by the national partners of Butterfly Conservation Europe).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Lulworth Skipper can be found on warm, dry grassland, with bushes or scrub nearby, or at the edge of woodland. In the north of its range, it is mostly found on calcareous grassland. Populations of the Lulworth Skipper are sometimes very large. Eggs are laid on the withered leaves of many grasses. Directly after hatching, the small caterpillar spins a cocoon in which to hibernate. It does not begin to eat and grow until the following spring. It then builds a shelter by spinning blades of grass together, which it only leaves when looking for food. When fully grown, it pupates, changing into a green pupa suspended in the vegetation by a silken girdle. The Lulworth Skipper has one generation a year. Habitats: dry calcareous grasslands and steppes (31%), mesophile grasslands (15%), dry siliceous grasslands (11%), broad-leaved deciduous forests (11%), sclerophyllous scrub (6%).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is especially threatened by changes in agricultural activities. If the management of chalk grasslands (mostly low intensity) is stopped, T. acteon can become very abundant for a few years on the tall grasses. After the invasion of trees and shrubs, the species disappears. Heavy grazing is harmful as larvae live in a spun leaf shelter for a part of the year.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In the southern half of its range (Mediterranean), the species will benefit from the establishment of areas of High Nature Value Farmland (Paracchini et al., 2008). In Central Europe, where the species is restricted to local calcareous grasslands, it benefits from proper management of semi-natural grasslands. In Belarus, the species only occurs in protected areas. In countries where the species is declining, important habitats should be protected and managed. The effects should be monitored by Butterfly Monitoring Schemes.

Citation: van Swaay, C., Wynhoff, I., Verovnik, R., Wiemers, M., López Munguira, M., Maes, D., Sasic, M., Verstrael, T., Warren, M. & Settele, J. 2010. Thymelicus acteon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T174412A7067590. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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