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  • The chequered skipper

Chequered Skipper

Pictured: chequered skipper, carterocephalus palaemon

Notes from Jenyns: taken in Whitewood, in June 1803, by Dr Abbott. ~ On the authority of J.C. Dale, Esq. ~ Cambridge; On the authority of E. L. Layard, Esq. ~ “Several reared from larvae found in Whitewood, 1842, feeding on Cynosurus cristatus.” ~ Mr Lee.

200-year trend in Cambridgeshire: Decline to local extinction.

Modern records

This species is now extinct in Cambridgeshire and was lost from all of England in the 1970s. A lack of ancient woodland clearings is thought to have contributed to its decline, with the species thought to have always been extremely localised to such habitat. However, the species held on in Scotland and a recent reintroduction has been made to Northamptonshire in Rockingham Forest, in an effort to bring it ‘back from the brink’. 

One key historic Cambridgeshire site not mentioned in Jenyns’ notebook is Castor Hanglands. During the 1800s other collectors reported seeing it at this site “in great plenty”. The reason for its omission is likely that the historic county of Cambridgeshire did not include Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. Therefore, sites like Castor Hanglands, which fall outside of ‘old’ Cambridgeshire, are unlikely to be included in Jenyns’ notes.          

National records map

Chequered skipper national records map: https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NHMSYS0000501644