Contents ] SpeckledWood ] WallBrown ] Grayling ] Gatekeeper ] MeadowBrown ] Ringlet ] SmallHeath ] [ LargeHeath ] 

large heath   <>   coenonympha tullia   <>   fraochán mór


Large Heath, Clooniff, Moycullen, Co Galway, June '05  © D Hardiman
  © D Hardiman 2005  

Habitat:  The Large Heath is local and found on raised and blanket bog in the Midlands, West and North-West of  Ireland.
It has one brood annually.
Larval Food Plant: 
                     Cotton Grass (Bog-cotton)  Eriophorum spp.
Flight Time:  Mid-June to end of July
Hibernation:   Overwinters as a larva.

Markings on the Large Heath can be quite variable, see photos below for comparison.

Much of this species' habitat in Ireland has been lost as a result of  peat extraction and drainage.  On a European scale it is classified as vulnerable,  being an Annex II species under the Berne Convention.



                                                                                    Life Cycle of  the
Large Heath


The newly laid egg is pale yellow developing brown patches as it matures.  It is almost spherical except for a 
flattened top and measures c.0.8 mm in height.
Eggs are laid singly near the base of the food plant and hatche in c.15 days.

The adult larva measures up to 25 mm in length and tapers towards the rear.  The body is green with a dark 
green mediodorsal stripe that is edged with white.  There are striking white bands along each side in the 
subdorsal and spiracular regions.  The rounded head is dark green.  The anal points are fairly long  and 
tipped with pink.
The newly hatched larva begins to feed around late July to late September  when, as the third instar, it enters 
hibernation, overwintering among the grassy clumps.  In late March, this instar  becomes active again  
resuming feeding by day, and  possibly by night. When fully grown in late May to early June it goes on to

Large Heath larva  ©DHardiman 2005

Large Heath larva                        © DHardiman


Pupation lasts c.25 days.  The pupa is attached to stems of the food plant in deep vegetation close
to the ground.


   Large Heath Pupa     © DHardiman

The adult butterfly emerges and is on the wing from mid-June to the end of  July.

Large Heath, © D Hardiman

Large Heath, Co.Westmeath© D Hardiman

Large Heath, © R Thompson Large Heath, Moycullen, Co Galway © D Hardiman

Comparison of markings on the Large Heath which can be quite variable



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 SpeckledWood ] WallBrown ] Grayling ] Gatekeeper ] MeadowBrown ] Ringlet ] SmallHeath ] [ LargeHeath ] 

Hesperidae ] Pieridae ] Lycaenidae ] Nymphalidae ] Satyridae ] Migrants ] .