Speckled Wood

A walk through the woods in the current hot weather demonstrated the boost provided to butterflies conferred by the current hot and calm weather.  Amongst the myriad Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Small Whites we spotted this, somewhat bedraggled, Speckled Wood male (pararge aegeria).  You’ll notice that he’s missing his right antennae and his wings are damaged.  This could just be as a result of age related physical wear and tear, and/or due to the aerial battles which the males engage in.  The Lake District is the normal northermost point for this species, though there are some small isolated populations in lowland Scotland.  Their range extends over 700km North to South and comprises four subspecies – all slightly different and adapted to more or less sunlight and warmth.  For example, the subspecies in the Lakes has the largest wings to aid thermoregulation in our more varied and cooler climes.  Of course, man-made climate change is likely to have a significant impact on all butterfly species: in the case of the Speckled Wood, it may extend its permanent range northwards.

If you are keen on natural history and would like to engage with and learn more about the environment around you, Steve will be pleased to help.  See the webpages and call him on 07796 213817 or email steve@stevebanksoutdoors.co.uk to discuss your needs.