Pearly Heath - Coenonympha arcania

Scientific Name: Coenonympha arcania.

English Name: Pearly Heath.

French Name: Le Céphale.

5 Key Characters:
  • a series of eyespots on the underside of the hindwing with white centres, then black bands surrounding a yellowy orange band.
  • medium sized (forewings 17 - 20 mm long).
  • underside of the hindwing has a broad irregular white band.
  • base colour of the underside is red brown.
  • upperside is brown, with a large area of tawny orange (fauve) from the base of the forewing.
Lookalikes: Small Heath C. pamphilus, which is smaller and the markings are not so sharply defined on the underside. It has no eyespots on the underside of the hindwing.

Habitat: Woodland fringes, hedges, wooded grassland and open woodland. Prefers scrubby dry grassland on calcareous soil. It seems to need a certain level of woody plant growth.

Flight Period: April-May-June-July.

Caterpillar: small and green with pale stripes down the side, July to May, overwintering as a caterpillar.

Host Plant: Grasses (Hairy Melick Melica ciliata, Wood Melick M. uniflora, Tor Grass Brachypodium pinnatum, Red Fescue Festuca rubra).

Status: Common but localised ie only occurs on certain sites. This is a conspicuous and easy to see butterfly on certain sites in the Touraine Loire Valley and Brenne.

References and Further Reading:
Les Papillons de jour de France, Belgique et Luxembourg et leurs chenilles by Tristan Lafranchis, one of the Parthenope Collection, published by Biotope.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs are numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. 1 - 3 at la Croix-Sourd (dry flower rich scrubby grassland on a limestone spur), May.

Resting on Common Juniper Juniperus communis, a common plant on the sites the Pearly Heath frequents.

No comments:

Post a Comment