September 2007 – Speckled Wood Butterfly – Pararge aegeria
Speckled wood butterflies have brown wings with creamy-yellow spots and a small dark eye spot near the tip of the upper wing. The lower wings have a row of dark brown eye spots. The wingspan is about 50mm.
The species is widespread throughout Europe and inhabits woodland and hedgerows.
Some male butterflies claim particular areas and defend them from rival butterflies. Speckled woods choose areas where the sunlight breaks through the trees creating dappled light. They patrol the patch and investigate every insect in the neighbourhood. They are on the look out for females to mate with or male intruders who they attack and chase away. You might see them spiraling up into the tree-tops, clashing wings with each other in battle. The butterfly that claimed the territory first usually wins.
The butterfly in this picture appears to have ‘battle scars’ as part of its wing is missing, however this did not seem to affect its ability to fly.
Related Website: BBC Science and Nature – Wildfacts
Website URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/409.shtml