Lasiommata megera (Linnaeus, 1767)
Description: Wingspan 45-53mm. Females are slightly larger than males. The uppersides are brown covered with large orange patches. There is a white pupilled black eyespot near the apex of the forewing and 2-3 others on the hindwing. The underside of the forewing is patterned like the upperwing. The hindwing underside is cryptically patterned in grey with a series of orange and black eyespots. The female is slightly larger than the male and has more extenisive orange patches on the upperside.
Similar Species: None in N. Ireland.
Key Identification Features:
Flight Period: In Ireland bivoltine, May/June and August/September
Status: Historically the Wall has been found on the coast of Down and Antrim north to Islandmagee and on the north coast between Castlerock and the Giant's Causeway. Inland there are many records from Armagh but in most of inland N. Ireland there have been no records. The Wall has undergone a severe decline in the last 20 years and by 2001 the only known populations remaining were on the Down coast. The species is known to go through cycles of decline and increase and it is possible this is what is happening at present.
Ecology: A colonial species found in open habitats with sparse vegetation and bare ground. Males and females spend a lot of time basking in the sun, perched on a bare surface with wings fully open. Males either patrol habitat searching for females or perch waiting for a female to pass. Females lay their eggs either on bare ground near the base of the foodplant. They choose foodplants growing along a vertical edge in warm sheltered locations. The commonest foodplants are tall grasses such as Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata, Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus, Sheep's Fescue Festuca ovina and Wavy Hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa. The overwintering stage is the third instar caterpillar.
World Distribution: Southern and central Europe to southernmost Scandinavia, North Africa, Asia Minor and Central Asia.
Bradley & Fletcher number: 1615 Agassiz number: 59.002
UK Butterflies account
|Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland |
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