Belongs to: brown butterflies

Speckled wood Pararge aegeria


Best time to see: Apr to end Sep

Key facts

A medium-sized brown butterfly of shady places

Habitat: dimly lit woods and tall shady hedgerows

Became scarce last century but has made a recent recovery and is now common in woods of southern Britain, including Essex

Recognition

Upperwings have creamy-yellow patches on a dark brown background; underwings patterned grey and brown; wingspan 47–50mm

Usually seen in ones or twos in dancing fluttery flight or basking with wings held open; on the wing from April to September

Mainly feed out of sight drinking honeydew in the treetops, but sometimes descend to feed on bramble blossom

Lifecycle

Pale yellow, globe-shaped eggs laid singly on shaded grass stems; pale green caterpillars feed by day on sheltered grasses

Early broods pupate to emerge in late summer, others hibernate over winter and pupate the following spring

Hibernates either as caterpillar or chrysalis, leading to a complicated sequence of broods

  • Main photo
  • underside

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Tony Gunton