Large Heath Butterfly
Keith Ball (October)
We spotted this large heath butterfly (Coenonympha trullia) whilst out with a group from the RSPCA.
It is found mainly on acid moorland where its larval food, white beak sedge is common. Adult butterflies feed on the nectar from cross-leaved heath flowers.
The large heath lives in fairly sedentary colonies occurring locally in Wales, northern England and southern Scotland, and is more widespread in northern Scotland.
Their caterpillars hibernate over-winter, and hatch in the spring. Adult butterflies fly between June and early August.
Wet moorland and bog habitats are increasingly being lost through peat extraction, tree planting, drainage and agricultural improvement. The large heath depends of this type of habitat and as a result it is very vulnerable to extinction. Heavy grazing by sheep also impacts on the breeding areas of the large heath.