A photo of a Speckled Wood Butterfly's colours make it striking against the deep greens of a leaf.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Pararge aegeria

Key Facts

  • Wingspan: 4.6-5.6cm

A medium-sized butterfly, the Speckled Wood is on the wing in two or three broods, between the end of March and the end of October.

It is a common and widespread butterfly of woodland edges and rides, where it flies in the dappled sunlight, and can also be seen in hedgerows and gardens. Adults feed on honeydew while the caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses including False Broom and Cock’s-foot.

How to Identify

The Speckled Wood is dark brown with creamy yellow spots. The best way to identify the ‘brown’ butterflies is by looking at the eyespots on their wings. The Speckled Wood is the only brown butterfly with three small, cream-ringed eyespots on each hindwing and one on each forewing.

Where to Find

Found in woodlands throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, increasingly found in Scotland.

How people can help

The Speckled Wood has made a comeback during recent times and is now widespread in woodlands and even gardens. The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of butterflies: a mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for butterflies.

Did you know?

Despite suffering declines in the 19th and early 20th century, the Speckled Wood has expanded its range in recent years, moving northwards, possibly as a result of climate change.

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