Wall - Lasiommata megera



Scientific Name: Lasiommata megera. The genus name means 'hairy eyes'. The specific name refers to the butterfly's restlessness, as if being harried. Megara is one of the Furies from Greek legend.

English Name: Wall, or sometimes Wall Brown.

French Name: Females are called la M├ęgere (='the shrew', as in the taming of), males are called le Satyre (='the satyr'). The sense in English would be more like 'the Witch' and 'the Warlock'.

5 Key Characters:
  • medium sized (forewing 20 - 25 mm).
  • upperside tawny orange (fauve) with dark brown markings.
  • upperside of the basal half of the hind wing brown.
  • a large eyespot near the tip of the forewing.
  • underside mottled camouflage grey.
Lookalikes: Females might sometimes be mistaken for the orangey phase of Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria aegeria, but the Wall has a series of well marked eyespots on the underside of the hindwing. The Large Wall L. maera is a bit bigger, and is plain brown on top with orange patches around the eyespots. Males might be mistaken for male Gatekeepers Pyronia tithonus, especially in flight, because of the strong 'sex mark' on the upper side of the forewings. Also not dissimilar to several fritillary species that could be flying with them eg Violet Fritillary Clossiana dia.

Habitat: Open areas and sunny woodland fringes, with a preference for dry stoney places (low walls, steep banks and slopes, scree). Males glide along sun drenched ridge crests and slopes, assembling on rocky outcrops.

Flight Period: February-March-April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November.

Caterpillar: Green with a yellow stripe down the side, all year, overwintering as a caterpillar.

Host Plant: Sheep Fescue Festuca ovina, Bulbous Bluegrass Poa bulbosa, Smooth Meadow Grass P. pratensis.

Status: Very common, but in steep decline in recent years. A Grassland Indicator Species (used to monitor and predict the health and sustainability of natural grassland habitats). This is a conspicuous and easy to see butterfly in the Touraine Loire Valley and Brenne.

References & Further Information: A photograph of a female resting on earth turned over by Wild Boar in the Brenne showing the remarkable camouflage colouration on the underside. A post on our daily blog Days on the Claise describing courtship behaviour we observed in Preuilly-sur-Claise, with photos, including the one also shown above.

Les Papillons de jour de France, Belgique et Luxembourg et leurs chenilles by Tristan Lafranchis.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

All photos will enlarge and open in a new screen if you click on them. Row 1 Left female on Purple Gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum at the side of a track up a limestone ridge near Preuilly-sur-Claise, April. Centre male (right) and female (left), details as left. Right female underside, in the Brenne, May. Row 2 female underside, in the Brenne, May.






















2 comments:

  1. Susan, that fumblr link to the female resting on the earth is no longer visible...
    but I presume you've used it in the group below the report??

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tim: yes, it's the same photo. Simon deleted our Flickr account because they are a pain in the arse, scooping up photos that have been machine selected and actually have nothing to do with the other photos they are put with in FlickRiver.

    ReplyDelete