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Speckled Wood Butterfly

Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood Butterfly, Speckled Wood

A close up of a Pararge aegeria Speckled wood butterfly on a leaf at rest

Pararge aegeria MHNT dos

by Didier Descouens. CC BY-SA 4.0

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These butterflies are a common site in countryside habitats where hedgerows and open woodland are most abundant. See these butterflies during a summer walk in the woods; they enjoy basking in dappled sunlight. They get their names from their love of shaded woodland combined with some patchy sunlight. These butterflies associate strongly with aphids because they feed primarily on honeydew as adults. Honeydew is a sugary sweet secretion that's a byproduct of aphid digestion. These butterflies seem to favour warmer climates as their numbers have sky-rocketed in recent years.
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Speckled Wood numbers have increased significantly in the last decade.


Adult wings are brown-winged and brown bodied. The front wings possess an eyespot whereas the back wings have 4. Eyespots are initially orange and brown but eventually fade to yellow with age. The larvae, or caterpillars, are a bright green and can look quite plump. They have very faint, creamy-yellow stripes that run laterally down the body. Pupae, or cocoons, are almost a translucent green. You can see the wing veins if you look closely! Creamy-white eggs are laid singularly beneath the leaves of false brome cock's-foot Yorkshire-fog and common couch.











A common butterfly widespread across Europe and some parts of Asia and Russia.

Biological treatment

Butterflies are considered essential pollinators. These butterflies will lay their eggs on false brome cock's-foot Yorkshire-fog and common couch, tending not to lay their eggs on garden plants. Generally speaking, they seldom cause problems in gardens, with anything in nature, there are always exceptions!

Chemical treatment

It's not recommended to use pesticides against these butterflies.



Brachypodium spp.


Dactylis spp.



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