Speckled wood

A beautiful photograph of a speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) against a backdrop of buttercups, taken in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie.

It is unusual to see a speckled wood feeding on nectar as this one seems to be. More usually, they feed in the treetops, on the honeydew excreted by aphids. They are rarely seen feeding on flowers, except early and late in the year when aphid activity is low.

Two images of speckled woods taken in the reserve in their more usual leafy habitats, by DKG and Ian Bushell.

Although the female lays her eggs on the meadow grasses (false brome, cock’s-foot, Yorkshire-fog or common couch) where the caterpillars will feed, the adult butterflies live their lives in partially shaded woodland with dappled sunlight rather than in open flower meadows.

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