Speckled Wood Butterfly
Scientific name: Pararge aegeria
This is a woodland butterfly which is common throughout the British Isles. They feed mainly on the sugary honeydew excreted by Aphids, but will come to flowers for nectar early or late in the year when there are fewer aphids around.
They have a wingspan of around 45mm, with the males being slightly smaller and they have less distinctive markings than the females. They are mainly brown with creamy markings and a small, dark brown eye spot near the tip of the upper wing, also a row smaller eye spots at the bottom of the lower wings. The males can be territorial and defend their area from rival butterflies; they can sometimes be seen flying up into the tree-tops, clashing wings.
The females lay single, white eggs on the blades of rougher grasses such as Couch, Cock's-foot or Yorkshire Fog on the edges of wooded areas, where the bright green caterpillars with darker green and yellow stripes, feed. After about ten days they pupate into the chrylasis while suspended from the grass blades. There can be several generations in a year which may overlap and over the winter they can hibernate as caterpillars or chrysalises.
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