photo credit: ahisgett
In spring and summer a visit to a sunny opening near a ancient hedgerow or in a forest will often reveal large numbers of this elegant butterfly who can be so active as to make identification quite a challenge.
The general appearance of the Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterfly is one of a brown butterfly of average size, covered in a number of spots which may range in colour from pale cream through to a yellow-orange. Closer inspection reveals a far more delicate-looking butterfly with attractive markings and gentle “scalloping” of the posterior wings.
This butterfly is most often found, as the name suggests, around the margins and openings of woods and hedgerows where it is often a very active flyer, only settling to rest occasionally.
The caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses most notably couch grass.
Whilst this butterfly is often seen reasonably early in the season from April onwards, it does not overwinter as an adult butterfly typically but is far more likely to see out the colder months either as a large caterpillar or as a pupae, ready to hatch in the spring as the weather warms up.