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butterfly Speckled Wood Butterflies

Latin name:  Pararge aegeria

Size:  Wingspan approximately 45mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK.  Less common in Scotland

Months seen:  April to October

Habitat:  Woodland glades and rides

Food:  Nectar.  The caterpillars feed on grasses

Special features:  These butterflies tend to be found, as their name suggests, in woodlands.  They are normally seen fluttering in the shafts of sunlight which penetrate through the woodland canopy.

The males are fiercely territorial.  They perch on foliage, waiting for other passing males to enter their air space.  When this happens they quickly take to the air and engage it in a fight.

The mid-air 'dogfight' involves spiraling round and round the intruder until it's driven away.  It's believed that the males have one wing slightly smaller than the other, in order to perform this spiraling manoeuvre more skillfully.

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