Speckled Wood Satyridae

Pararge aegeria (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 46-56mm. Females are larger than males. The upperside is brown with creamy spots, some of which contain white pupilled eyespots. The underside is paler brown with cream blotches. At rest they perch with their wings fully open.

Similar Species: The combination of creamy spots on a brown background makes this butterfly highly distinctive.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside male underside

Flight Period: Adults can be seen from April to late October. The Speckled Wood is bivoltine in N. Ireland but due to the variable speed of larval development the broods overlap considerably.

Status: Throughout N. Ireland except for most exposed upland and treeless areas.

Ecology: A colonial species though females in particular will wander. Colonies are found in woodland, along hedgerows and patches of scrub. It can tolerate quite heavy shade. Males occupy and vigorously defend temporary territories in patches of sunlight or patrol habitat looking for unmated females. Females stay in the tree tops, only flying to mate, feed or oviposit. Adults feed mainly on honeydew in trees but also on flowers including Bramble Rubus fruticosus. The eggs are laid singly by the females on the foodplant which are grasses including False-brome Brachypodium sylvaticum, Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus and Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata. Young plants growing in warm sheltered locations such as the edges of woods are selected.

World Distribution: Europe except northern Fennoscandia, NW Africa and western Asia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1614 Agassiz number: 59.003

Additional information:

UK Butterflies account

Caterpillar: 

 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland
http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/lepidoptera/species.asp?item=5571

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