Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood ©Tom Marshall

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood ©Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Speckled Wood

Scientific name: Pararge aegeria
The Speckled Wood prefers the dappled sunlight of woodland rides and edges, hedgerows and even gardens. Despite declines, its range has spread over recent years.

Species information

Statistics

Wingspan: 4.6-5.6cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to October

About

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

Distribution

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

Did you know?

There are a number of subspecies of Speckled Woods. Those in the north are dark brown with white spots, while those further south are dark brown with orange spots.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the Speckled Wood. 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.