Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Have you spotted the first flowering of elder yet?

Speckled wood. Tim Sparksspeckled wood

Pararge aegaeria

  • Wings chocolatey-brown with creamy patches
  • Three black eye markings on hind wing – one on forewing
  • Underside is a patchwork of grey, cream and brown 
Where found

Widespread, favouring shady woodland and hedge conditions where larvae feed on a variety of grasses. Common in Ireland, Wales and southern England.

When to look for

Fabulous speckled wood facts

  • The appearance of the speckled wood changes from north to south of the UK. Individuals in the north are dark brown with white spots, with those in more southerly locations being dark brown with orange spots

  • It is unique among UK butterfly species in that it can overwinter in 2 stages, as both a larva and pupa. As a result, there is a mixed emergence with adult butterflies on the wing from April through to September, with a few adults being seen as early as March or as late as October, especially in the south

  • One of our few species that is doing well, with a sustained expansion to its range. It is believed that this butterfly has benefited from a reduction in coppicing, resulting in the shadier woodland that it favours