Save Danes Moss

Rare Dingy Skipper Butterfly found within the development area of Danes Moss - Vulnerable to extinction in the UK
Dingy Skipper at Danes Moss

There is exciting news that a colony of Dingy Skipper has recently been found at Danes Moss. The photo above shows one from the colony and as can be seen, although brown,  they are far from dingy with amazing patterning on their wings. There are no known local sites where this butterfly can be found in Cheshire East and so presumably it has existed at Danes Moss undiscovered for a number of years. Loss of habitat leading to fragmented populations hamper the ability of this species to recolonise areas where it once lived and sadly has seen massive population declines of over 60% since the 1970s.

It has a number of statuses and protections across the UK including the following which highlight how much conservation priority this species has been given:

  • Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England
  • Listed on Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016
  • Northern Ireland Priority Species 
  • Scottish Biodiversity List
  • UK BAP status: Priority Species
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: High
  • Fully protected under the Northern Ireland 1985 Wildlife Order

(Source: Butterfly Conservation)

The colony lives on a sheltered area bordered by woodland. It’s favourite food plant, the Common Birds Foot Trefoil (which has yellow flowers), is distributed along the bank of the boundary ditch of the proposed development area and has also been found within the boundary of the proposed development area itself. This leaves it very much at risk from the development. Further investigation is needed to find out how widespread it is across the whole Moss. 

Dingy Skipper feeding on Common Birds Foot Trefoil
Dingy Skipper feeding on Common Birds Foot Trefoil at Danes Moss

This butterfly can be seen in May and June  and when disturbed flies fast and low along the ground making it hard to follow. The favourite flowers they visit to feed are mainly yellow and include Birds Foot Trefoils, Buttercups, Hawkweeds and Vetches. later in the day and on cooler days without sun they will roost on dead flower heads and so this can also be a good place to look for them.

This is one of the 23 species of butterfly that can be found across the Moss and showcases some of the amazing biodiversity that can be found there. It is a key hotspot for them in the whole of Cheshire that has a total of 27 species of breeding butterfly. Find out more about the butterflies at Danes moss here

More information can be found about Dingy Skipper here on the Butterfly Conservation website.


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