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speckled wood   <>   pararge aegeria   <>   breacfhéileacán coille  

 

Male Speckled Wood, © DHardiman 2004
  © DHardiman 2004     

Habitat:  The Speckled Wood is widespread and common in Ireland seen typically along woodland clearing, hedgerows and fields.
This species is double brooded and possibly treble brooded
Larval Food Plant:  Numerous grasses such as -
                                 False Broom  Brachypodium sylvaticum
                                 Yorkshire-fog  Holcus Ianatus  
Flight Time:   
        Two to three overlapping broods which may be seen from
        April to October
Hibernation:   May overwinter in larval or pupal states 
This species is territorial and patrols a beat.  The male has a band of androconial scales on its forewing.

 

 

  © DHardiman 2006  

 

                                                                                                      

                                                                        Life Cycle of  the
Speckled Wood

 

Ovum:
The glossy  pale yellow eggs are c.0.8 mm high and flattened at the base.  They are laid singly on the blades of 
a wide range of grasses in April or May and again in the summer.   Hatching occurs between 8-23 days,
depending on the temperature.

© DHardiman 2004

Larva:   On emerging, the larvae do not always eat the eggshell but remain close to it on the leaf. 
They feed inwards from the margins of the leaf  to the midrib. 
The first brood larvae feed by day and night and are fully grown in 25-30 days when they enter pupation.
The larvae of the late summer brood are unusual in that they either hibernate as larvae or pupate before    
hibernating and therefore can be found overwintering in either state.

It has been found that when the autumn is cool, larvae emerging from eggs as early as mid-August remain
in the larval stage and overwinter in this state.  While in warmer temperatures larvae emerging as late as 
the end of  September develop rapidly enough to pupate in November and overwinter in this state.  These 
pupae hatch the following spring producing butterflies as early as March but more usually in April and 
May.  While the overwintering larvae do not produce larvae until later in spring. This larval stage lasting
at least 7 months.

© DHardiman 2001

 

Pupa:   The duration of the pupal stage is variable and dependant on temperature and time of  year.  In summer it may 
be as short as 10 days,  but in the overwintering pupal stage it can last roughly from November to April.
The pupa is attached by cremasteral spines to a silken pad spun on the underside of leaves of the foodplant
or adjacent vegetation.  The cast larval skin is always attached to the pupa.

 

© DHardiman 2006  

Adult:
Adults can emerge continuously from April to mid-October.  There tends to be an overlap among different
generations and in warm summers there may be three broods with old worn specimens still on the wing
in October.
Both sexes feed on the honeydew of ash, oak and birch or nectar from ragwort.  Mating and ovipositing
take  place from April onwards.

   Male                   © DHardiman 2004

Female                 © DHardiman 2002

The outer margins of the females wings are more rounded and the creamy-yellow patches usually larger 
than the males althought there is a marked seasonal variation in bothe sexes.

The oblique band of blackish androconial scales in the centre of the male forewings are difficult to see.

 

 

 

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