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Wall Brown Butterfly

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:03 pm
by Perseus

Wall Brown
Lasiommata megera ... _name=Wall

This is a diminishing butterfly with a diminishing range and the
reasons are not clear.

It feeds on grasses, but the preferences are not known to me.

On the downs around the lower Adur valley this butterfly is only
frequent at best and only occasional at times.

The ford plant list of grasses include the Bents (various) (Agrostis
spp.), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), False Brome (Brachypodium
sylvaticum), Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum), Wavy Hair-grass
(Deschampsia flexuosa) and Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus).

Observations on the downs around the lower Adur valley indicate this
butterfly is present in the following areas:

Lancing Ring meadows where it settles on the bare paths and that is
how it got its name as the wall Butterfly, although I add the epithet
Brown to make it clearer that we are referring to a butterfly. It is
frequent here usually only a handful at most seen in an hour. Tor
Grass is abundant in the meadows.

On Mill Hill, there is an observed correlation between the Wall Brown
and both Cocksfoot and Tor Grass, but these are easy to recognise

The wall Brown has not been recorded on any of the pastures at all,
although strays may turn up as it has been recorded in Shoreham town.

It is present occasionally on paths and road banks where it has not
been positively associated with any of the grasses.

Historical records show a hot spot for this butterfly north of
Shoreham . Independently, I located on one occasion of 40 Wall Brown
butterflies in 15 minutes and this I assume to be the hotspot. It was
on a path between two fields mostly used as pasture but ploughed up
sometimes. I could not correlate the grasses, but these were not Tor
Grass or Cocksfoot.

Although because the caterpillars feed on grasses, it could be
thought that pastures would be good locations, but above Shoreham and
Lancing this is adamantly not the case. Meadows and paths are
preferred. Mostly paths.

I will ask for comparative observations. This one is not easy because
the butterfly is nowhere prevalent. I think they are noted from sand
dunes in Cornwall.

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List


Andy Horton
Adur Valley Nature Notes
Adur Valley Nature Notes: November 2007

Adur Valley & Downs Gallery

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:09 pm
by Pete Eeles
Thanks for the various species-related contributions, Andy.

At the Hants and IOW BC branch AGM, Matthew Oates cited several reasons for the potential decline of species. One these was parasitism, which Matthew felt we know almost nothing about when it comes to butterflies.

The immigration of various parasites, viruses and bacteria to our shores, as a result of climate change, seems one possible explanation for the massive decline of our once-common species, such as Small Tortoiseshell and Wall. As well, of course, for the ability for our resident parasites to survive. No evidence whatsoever, but there ya go!


- Pete

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:24 pm
by Perseus

Thanks for the reply. I have avoided making guesses, except for educated ones. Mostly just observations.

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List


Andy Horton
Adur Valley Nature Notes

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:53 pm
by Perseus
Any photgraphs of Wall Butterflies landing on flowers appreciated. This butterfly is flighty and difficult to photograph with my camera at the best of times. Somewhere I have a photgraph of a Wall landing on a flower. i.e. Stemless Thistle.


I have known them land on Greater Knapweed on one occasion.

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:00 pm
by Matsukaze

Wall Brown, Mendip, 29 April 2007.

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:47 am
by Perseus
Well captured. Is it a Hawkbit?

Late at night, I get these yellow flowers all mixed up.

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:10 pm
by Matsukaze
Sorry, no idea what the butterfly was nectaring on - I was concentrating on it! I don't run across them very often - this was one of only three Walls I saw all year.

The yellow hawk-flowers are probably beyond me in any case.

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:37 pm
by Perseus
I don;t think I saw a dozen Walls in 2007. In the past I have seen 40 in 20 minutes and still not managed a decent photograph.

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:46 am
by Padfield
I think walls do nectar readily. This is commonly on yellow composites, as in the photo above, but also on plenty of other flowers.

Here's a female on some small pink flower that I can't identify because I haven't got my books with me (I'm in England for Christmas). There's masses of storksbill in the region but if those hairy leaves belong to this flower it isn't storksbill.


I find walls are extremely flighty when they are sunning on bare ground but much easier to approach in other behaviour, like courting, mating or feeding. I could have touched this pair (but I didn't!).



wall brown

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:42 pm
by Paul
still doing well here in n. yorks!!!!

nectaring on marigold in the garden

nectaring on coltsfoot, or hawksbit, or something... I'm no botanist!!

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 11:17 pm
by Perseus
Great pics! It could be a Hawksbit or Hawkweed. It is hard to tell.

I am struggling a bit with wild flowers.