Coenonympha pamphilus

Small Heath


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Montes Universales, Spain, July 2011

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Vaud, Switzerland, August 2018

Field notes and information

A very widespread and common species over most of Europe and north Africa, absent only from the northern Arctic in this region.

Identification & Similar species: The lack of a submarginal line on the underside hindwing and the presence of small white centred brown spots are distinctive.

Distribution & Flight: Everywhere upto low alpine levels, except the northern Arctic. Flies in multiple generations depending on season, location and altitude in all warm months of the year.

Habitat & Behaviour: It likes fairly dry grassy places in a very wide range of situations. It flies erratically and close to the ground. When at rest it never opens its wings.

Variation: There are several variants that generally affect the underside hindwing. The ground colour can vary from grey to brown and the intensity of the markings can vary greatly.

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Chalkidiki, Greece, May 2004

Unheard of until now...? At rest with wings open. I think the deformity of the thorax prevented it from closing its wings.

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High Atlas, Morocco, August 2019

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Middle Atlas, Morocco, August 2019

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Vaud, Switzerland, April 2020

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2022

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Sicily, Italy, May 2018

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Corsica, France, July 2012

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Peloppensos, Greece, July 2018

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2011

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2017

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2006

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Montes Universales, Spain, July 2011

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Var, France, April 2007

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2006

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2012

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2012

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Cote d'Or, France, June 2005

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Var, France, May 2004