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Image 1 contributed by U.K
photographer Bill Edwards.
Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images 2 - 4 contributed by U.K
photographer Steve Oddy.
Also known as the Enfield Eye or the Wood Argus
Speckled Woods are found throughout England (except the far north), Wales, Ireland, and in northern Scotland.
They are the only butterflies that can hibernate as either a caterpillar or a chrysalis.
There are many sub-species of Speckled Woods. The ones in the north are dark brown with white spots, while those further south are dark brown with orange spots.
They are the only brown butterfly with three small, cream colored eyespots on each hindwing and one on each forewing.
There are usually two generations per year, one in the spring and one in summer.
They prefer woodland fields and glades, gardens, parks and hedges.
They typically choose slightly damp areas where there is tall grass and some shade.
They are active during the day and feed on aphid honeydew, a sugary liquid excreted by insects when they feed on plants.
They also feed on flowers and fruits when aphid activity is low.
Females are very selective.
They only mate once in their short lives, so it has to be successful.
Eggs are laid on the food plant of the caterpillars, usually on the undersides of the leaves.
They hatch after one to three weeks depending on the weather.
The hatched caterpillar will live and feed on the food plant, and can overwinter in the plant's base.
It will go through phases of development, known as instars, and then pupate after about a month.
Males are extremely territorial.
If one wanders into a rival's territory they will both spin through the woodland terrain in combat until one is driven off.
Adults feed on honeydew.
Wing Span: (male to female): 47-50mm /4.6 - 5.6cm. Males tend to be slightly smaller than females
Lifespan: 6-7 months as a caterpillar,
up to 3 weeks as an adult
* The Speckled Wood has experienced an extraordinary 71% increase in distribution, and an 84% increase in abundance in the last 40 years.
This increase is credited to climate change.
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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