Speckled Wood - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation
Speckled Wood (m) 2005 - Lee Browne Speckled Wood (f) 2018 - Dave Miller

Speckled Wood

Parage aegeria

Widespread and common resident

Speckled Wood branch distribution

Distribution and Status

In the 1980s the Speckled Wood was mostly seen in western Hertfordshire and western Middlesex with a few colonies scattered elsewhere. The expansion had already started from the south and west, and the butterfly is now widely distributed in the two counties. Since the start of this century, though, numbers have dropped quite significantly, probably as a result of increased woodland management including widening of rides, less favoured by this insect

Habitat Requirements

A woodland butterfly as the name suggests but it can often be seen along hedgerows in the wider countryside as well as gardens

Larval Foodplants

Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata, Common Couch Elymus repens in meadows and False Brome Brachypodium sylvaticum in open woodland

Adult Food Sources

Buddleia Buddleja davidii, Common Michaelmas Daisy Aster x salignus, Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.

Behaviour/Observation notes

The Speckled Wood has been the subject of many studies regarding its behaviour. Males establish territories mostly in sunny but sheltered spots in woodland and along hedgerows about one or two metres above ground

Speckled Wood branch phenology

Life History

The Speckled Wood produces two generations a year although they overlap because of the extended emergence of the first brood. Those that hibernate as pupae emerge in April whereas those that overwintered as larvae usually emerge some weeks later. Because of the overlap there are several peaks: usually in the first week of May, middle of June, late July and late August/early September. Nevertheless, in suitable areas, it may be seen in every week between late March and early October. Specimens seen in October could be from a small third brood. Eggs are usually laid singly on the underside of a leaf of grass. Larvae feed on the leaves. As winter approaches, some larvae enter hibernation whilst others form pupae attached to a grass stem or leaf. This is the only known British species which passes the winter in two different stages

Further information

Photo gallery
Branch Annual Report (2022)
UK distribution map
Full list of larval hostplants (Nymphalidae)
Stevenage butterflies - additional notes


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