Abstract Eggs of the European skipper, Thymelicus lineola, containing pharate first-instar larvae were brought into the laboratory at the beginning of each month from September to May and maintained at 20°C, 14L:10D. No emergence was observed within 40 days of collection before December. From that time on, while total emergence was similar, the duration of the emergence period decreased over the season from > 120 days in December to < 14 days in May. There was however no marked change in the seasonal supercooling point values of diapausing larvae. The rate of emergence from eggs collected in March was influenced by photoperiod, being slower under short-day conditions. However for any given photoperiod tested, the rate of emergence increased with an increase in temperature. The possible adaptive significance of a two-phase diapause, where diapause termination is photoperiodically controlled in species that overwinter as an egg or as a pharate first-instar larva within the egg chorion in exposed habitats, is discussed.