Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Gennargentu, Sardinia, Italy, July 2015

Ssp. tircis.

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2010

Ssp. aegeria.

Field notes and information

A commonly encountered butterfly of woodlands and bushy places, including towns and cities.

Identification & Similar species: Only on the island of Madeira does it fly with a similar species - the Madeiran speckled wood, P. xiphia. The species is unlikely to be confused however it is much larger, darker and has a white streak on the underside hindwing.

Distribution & Flight: North Africa, Europe, except parts of northern UK and Scandinavia. Flies throughout the warmer months of the year, which is generally from April to October in central Europe, in a succession of broods. I've found them on 1st January in Tunisia.

Habitat & Behaviour: Woodland and scrub, suburbia. Flies particularly in the dappled shade of woodland clearings, paths or edges. In scrubby areas it will skulk around the lower parts of the taller bushes or even large rocks or outcrops. In woodland the males will often sit in a beam of sunlight on a prominent leaf or twig and defend a territory from any intruders. Usually he will return to the same spot. In more open places there is less of a premium on the "best" twig/ leaf in the sunshine but territorial behaviour is still displayed.

Variation: There are two subspecies distinguishable by the orange or cream colour of the upperside spotting. The orange spotted subspecies aegeria predominates in south west Europe (including Spain, Italy, north Africa). The cream spotted subspecies tircis is found in northern and eastern Europe (including north France, Switzerland, central Europe, Scandinavia, Balkans and Greece). Interestingly, the various Greek islands harbour both subspecies, apparently even when close geographically.

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2010

Ssp. aegeria.

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Anti-Atlas, Morocco, March 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2022

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Crete, Greece, April 2014

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S Greece, June 2013

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Taroudant, Morocco, April 2013

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Cadiz, Spain, October 2014

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2014

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2013

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2021

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2020

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Crete, Greece, April 2014

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2010

Ssp. aegeria.

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Sierra Nevada, Spain, July 2013

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Malaga, Spain, May 2008

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Valais, Switzerland, March 2012

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2008

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2020

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2008

Ssp. aegeria.