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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Wall Brown male. 27/5/2013. Seaford. Sussex.
Wingspan
45 - 53mm
Photo © badgerbob
Wall

Lasiommata megera
LASS-ee-oh-may-tuh
muh-JEE-ruh
Number: 59.002
B&F No.: 1615
Family:Nymphalidae (Swainson, 1827)
Subfamily:Satyrinae (Boisduval, 1833)
Tribe:Elymniini (Herrich-Schäffer, 1864)
Genus:Lasiommata (Westwood, 1841)
Subgenus: 
Species:megera (Linnaeus, 1767)
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  Introduction  

The Wall gets its name from the characteristic behaviour of resting with wings two-thirds open on any bare surface, including bare ground and, of course, walls! Many people will have come across this butterfly on footpaths, especially in coastal areas, where the butterfly flies up when disturbed, before setting again a few metres ahead.

The basking behaviour of this butterfly allows it to benefit from the full warmth of the sun whose rays shine directly on the butterfly, but also get reflected back onto the butterfly from whichever surface it is resting on. This habit allows the butterfly to raise its body temperature sufficiently high for it to fly. In particularly hot weather, however, such basking is avoided and the butterfly may even retreat to a suitably-shaded spot to avoid overheating.

This species was once found throughout England, Wales, Ireland and parts of Scotland. Today, however, is a very different picture, with this species suffering severe declines over the last several decades. It is now confined to primarily-coastal regions and has been lost from many sites in central, eastern and south-east England. In Scotland it is confined to coastal areas in the south-west of the country. It is also found on the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. This butterfly is found in relatively small colonies that are self-contained although some individuals will wander, allowing the species to quickly colonise suitable nearby sites.

Lasiommata megera

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1767) as shown here (type locality: Austria and Denmark).


Wall male (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 23-Sept-2014
Male
Photo © Neil Hulme
Wall Brown, male. Seaford, East Sussex. 24/5/2012.
Male Underside
Photo © badgerbob
Wall female (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 25-Sept-2014
Female
Photo © Neil Hulme
Mating Wall. 3rd brood. Seaford. 23/9/2011.
Female Underside
Photo © badgerbob

  Phenology  

The first generation of adults emerge in early May, peaking at the end of May and early June, or a little later in the north of England and Scotland. They give rise to a second brood that emerges at the end of July, or mid-August further north. There are 2 generations each year and, on occasion, a small 3rd generation may appear in October.


The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.


  Habitat  

This species is now found primarily in coastal areas, especially unimproved grassland, wasteland, cliff edges and hedgerows.

  Larval Foodplants  

The primary larval foodplants are 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).

  Nectar Sources  

Adults feed primarily on Daisy (Bellis perennis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

  Imago  

The male of this species is territorial and will inhabit a particular area, such as a path, hedgerow or roadside verge, waiting for a passing female. Males will typically perch in a favoured position but will, in sunny and warm conditions, adopt a strategy of patrolling in order to find a mate. All passing insects are investigated and rival males will fly high into the air before coming back to the ground a few seconds later.

The female is much more sedentary and the less-conspicuous of the two sexes. After a brief courtship a pair will mate before disappearing into surrounding vegetation. Both sexes are avid nectar feeders and will feed from any available flower.


Wall Male - Ballard Down, Dorset 22-May-05
Photo © Vince Massimo
22-May-2005
Wall - imago - Arnside Knott - 07-Aug-06 (0584)
Photo © Pete Eeles
07-Aug-2006
Wall - imago - Arnside Knott - 07-Aug-06 (0585)
Photo © Pete Eeles
07-Aug-2006
Wall, Steyning, 10 August 2008
Photo © Neil Hulme
10-Aug-2008
Wall Female - Ouse Washes, Cambs - 30.07.2010
Photo © PhiliB
30-Jul-2010
Wall Female - Crawley, Sussex 9-Oct-08
Photo © Vince Massimo
09-Oct-2008
Wall, Female. Offham, Lewes. 12/8/2011.
Photo © badgerbob
12-Aug-2011
Mating Wall. 3rd brood. Seaford. 23/9/2011.
Photo © badgerbob
23-Sep-2011
Wall, Female, Dunglass, East Lothian, 24/08/2010
Photo © NickMorgan
Scotland
Wall, Male, Dunglass, East Lothian, 24/08/2010
Photo © NickMorgan
Scotland
Wall Brown, male. Seaford, East Sussex. 24/5/2012.
Photo © badgerbob
24-May-2012
Wall - imago - Thatcham - 27-May-12 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
Wall Brown, 12/08/2012, Steyning
Photo © Pauline
12-Aug-2012
Wall Brown, 12/08/2012, Steyning
Photo © Pauline
12-Aug-2012
Wall male - High & Over, Sussex 29-Sept-2011
Photo © Neil Hulme
29-Sep-2011
Wall female - Steyning, Sussex 6-Aug-2010
Photo © Neil Hulme
06-Aug-2010
Wall Brown male. 27/5/2013. Seaford. Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
27-May-2013
Mating Wall Brown, Lymington, 11/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
11-Aug-2013
Wall Brown, female, Lymington, 11/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
11-Aug-2013
Wall Brown, male, Lymington, 11/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
11-Aug-2013
Wall Brown, male, Lymington, 11/08/2013
Photo © Pauline
11-Aug-2013
Wall Brown male - Warton Crag 08.08.2013
Photo © nfreem
08-Aug-2013
Wall Brown male & female - 08.08.2013
Photo © nfreem
08-Aug-2013
Wall female,Newbridge,Cornwall. 18 Aug 2013
Photo © essexbuzzard
18-Aug-2013
Wall - female - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013
Wall - female - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-4
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013
Wall - Seaford, East Sussex - 29th April 2014
Photo © Butterflysaurus rex
Female Wall Brown. Seaford, E.Sussex.  27/4/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
27-Apr-2014
Mating Wall Brown. Seaford, E. Sussex. 27/4/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
27-Apr-2014
Female Wall Brown. Seaford, E.Sussex.  3/5/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
03-May-2014
Wall Brown female - Steyning Downland Scheme, Sussex 1-Aug-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
01-Aug-2014
Wall Brown - female - Newquay - 06-08-2014
Photo © Wurzel
Wall male (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 25-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
Third Brood
25-Sep-2014
Wall male (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 25-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
Third Brood
25-Sep-2014
Wall female (3rd brood) -  Mill Hill, Sussex 24-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
Third Brood
24-Sep-2014
Wall male (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 23-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
Third Brood
23-Sep-2014
Wall female (3rd brood) - Mill Hill, Sussex 25-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
Third Brood
25-Sep-2014

  Aberrations  

Description to be completed.

Unclassified Aberrations


Wall - aberration - Cley next the Sea - 30-May-00 [Alan Roe]
Photo © Alan Roe
wall aberation 31-May-2010
Photo © ColinC
31-May-2010
Wall male (aberration) Castle Hill NNR, East Sussex 30-April-2012
Photo © Average Wingspan
31-May-2012
Wall (m) (ab.fascia) 29.7.10  East Sussex. Downland boy
Photo © downland boy
29-Jul-2010

  Ovum  

The spherical eggs are laid singly, or occasionally in twos and threes, in various positions, including the leaves of the foodplant, exposed roots and nearby vegetation. Eggs are pale green when first laid, becoming more translucent as the larva develops within. Sites for egg-laying are typically sheltered and warm compared to their surroundings, and include grass clumps, rabbit scrapes and hoof prints from cattle. This stage lasts around 10 days.


Wall - ovum - Unknown location - 2004 (2) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Wall - ovum - Unknown location - 2004 [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
1-Wall Brown ovum (third stack)
Photo © Tony Moore
15-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova. 22/8/2013 High and Over. Seaford, Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
22-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova on diagonal grass, showing habitat. 26/8/2013. High and Over, Seaford, E. Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
26-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova. 26/8/2013. High and Over, Seaford, E. Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
26-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova. 26/8/2013. High and Over, Seaford. E. Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
26-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova. High and Over, Seaford. E. Sussex 28/8/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
28-Aug-2013
Wall Brown ova. 1/9/2013 High and Over, Seaford, E.Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
01-Sep-2013
Wall Brown ova. 1/9/2013. High and Over, Seaford. E.Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
01-Sep-2013
Wall Brown ova. 9/8/2014. Seaford. East Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
09-Aug-2014
Wall ovum - Mill Hill, Sussex 25-Sept-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
25-Sep-2014

  Larva  

After emerging, the young larva typically eats its eggshell before feeding on the leaves of the foodplant. Larvae become more mobile as they mature and will move from plant to plant as needed. Larvae typically feed at night, but occasionally feed during the day. This stage lasts around 4 weeks for those larvae that do not overwinter, and there are 3 moults in total.


Location of wall larva, High and Over, Sussex. 31/1/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
31-Jan-2013
Wall larva. High and Over, Sussex. 31/01/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
31-Jan-2013
Wall - larva - Thatcham - 24-Apr-05 (3) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Apr-2005
Wall - larva - Thatcham - 24-Apr-05 (4) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Apr-2005
Wall - larva - Thatcham - 24-Apr-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Apr-2005
Wall - larva - Unknown location - 2004 (2) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Wall - larva - Unknown location - 2004 (3) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Wall Brown larvae. High and Over, Sussex. 30/01/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
Approx 1.5cm length.
30-Jan-2013
Wall larva. High and Over, Sussex. 31/01/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
31-Jan-2013
Wall Brown Larva - High and Over, Seaford, Sussex 20-March-2012 (DSC7864)
Photo © badgerbob
20-Mar-2012
Wall larva, High and Over, Seaford. 28/3/2012.
Photo © badgerbob
28-Mar-2012
Wall Brown larva following moult. 6/3/2013. High and Over. Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
06-Mar-2013
Moulting Wall Brown larva. 5/3/2013 High and Over. Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
Moulting Wall Brown larva. 5/3/2013 High and Over. Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
05-Mar-2013
Wall Brown larva. 18/3/2013. High and Over, Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
18-Mar-2013
Wall Brown larva. 18/3/2013. High and Over. Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
18-Mar-2013
Wall Brown larva. High and Over, Seaford. 27/3/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
27-Mar-2013
Wall Brown larva. High and Over. 6/4/2013.
Photo © badgerbob
06-Apr-2013
Wall larva 4 days before pupation. 19/4/2013. High and Over.
Photo © badgerbob
19-Apr-2013
Wall larva 4 days before pupation. 19/4/2013. High and Over. Seaford.
Photo © badgerbob
19-Apr-2013
Recently hatched larva
Photo © Tony Moore
17-Aug-2013
Wall Brown larva. High and Over. Sussex. 4/3/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
04-Mar-2014
Wall Brown larva. High and Over. Sussex. 4/3/2014.
Photo © badgerbob
04-Mar-2014

  Pupa  

The green pupa is formed head down, attached by the cremaster to the foodplant or nearby vegetation and is extremely well camouflaged. This stage lasts around 2 weeks.


Wall - pupa - Thatcham - 24-Apr-05 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Apr-2005
Wall - pupa - Thatcham - 24-Apr-05 [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Apr-2005
Wall - pupa - Unknown location - 2004 (2) [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Wall - pupa - Unknown location - 2004 [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Wall pupa. High and Over, Sussex 21/4/2012.
Photo © badgerbob
21-Apr-2012
Wall pupa. High and Over, Sussex 20/4/2012.
Photo © badgerbob
20-Apr-2012
Wall Brown pupa. High and Over. Sussex. 19/5/2012.
Photo © badgerbob
19-May-2012
Wall Brown pupa. 12/4/2014. Seaford. East Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
12-Apr-2014
Wall Brown pupa. 26/4/2014. Seaford. East Sussex.
Photo © badgerbob
26-Apr-2014

  Similar Species  

No similar species found.

  Videos  

Video © John Chapple
Wall Brown.

  Sites  

Click here to see the distribution of this species overlaid with specific site information. Alternatively, select one of the sites listed below.

Sites
Abbots Wood, Arnside Knott, Badbury Rings, Ballard Down, Ballydyan, Ballyscanlan, Barnack Hills and Holes NNR, Beachy Head, Bindon Hill, Bingham Linear Park, Bishop Middleham Quarry, Boultham Mere, Brackett's Coppice, Bradfield Woods, Brean Down, Broadcroft Quarry Reserve, Broaks Wood, Bryncelyn Hall, Candlesby Hill Quarry, Castle Eden Dene, Castlehill Point, Clubmen's Down, Cop Lane, Corfe Castle, Crickley Hill, Crook Peak, Dolebury Warren, Draycott Sleights, Drigg Dunes, Durlston Country Park, Eakring Meadows Nature Reserve, East of Cove Farm, East Ord, Fingringhoe Wick, Fleetwood Marsh, Fontmell Down, Frog Firle Farm, Hethfelton Wood, Hexham, Higher Hyde, Hinkley Point Nature Reserve, Hod Hill, Holton Lee, Howth Head, Jerry's Hole, Kenfig Pool, Kingcombe Redholm, Kingcombe Stones, Long Knoll, Lorton Meadows, Lough Bunny, Lough George, Lydlinch Common, Malling Down, Meanwood Park, Mill Hill, Mill Hill Quarry, Monk's Wood, Mynydd Marian, Old Castle Down, Perryfields Quarry, Piddles Wood, Portland Tout Quarry, Powerstock Common, Ringstead Bay, Sand Point, Shipley Station Meadow, St Abbs Head, Steyning Downs, Stoke Camp, Stubhampton Bottom, Tadnoll, Titley Pool, Tophill Low, Torr Works, Tyne Riverside Country Park, Ubley Warren, Wall Common, Walters Copse, Warton Crag, West Williamston Salt Marshes, Whitbarrow Scar, White Sheet Hill, Windmill Hill and Cleeve Prior, Windover Hill, Wiveton Down, Wolla Bank Pit, Wood of Cree, Woolacombe Down

  Conservation Status  

There has been a severe and worrying decline of inland populations, with most remaining populations now being found in coastal areas. This species is therefore a priority for conservation efforts.

UK BAP StatusDistribution Trend (%)Population Trend (%)
Priority Species
Click here to access the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for this species.
Decrease-21
Decrease-37

The table above shows the distribution and population trends of species regularly found in the British Isles. The distribution trend represents a comparison between data for the periods 1995-1999 and 2005-2009. The information provided is taken from the Butterfly Conservation report The State of the UK's Butterflies 2011. The UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).


  Links  

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

  References  

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Herrich-Schäffer (1864) Herrich-Schäffer, G.A.W. (1864) Prodromus Systematis Lepidopterorum. Versuch einer systematischen Anordnung der Schmetterlinge.
Linnaeus (1767) Linnaeus, C. (1767) Systema Naturae. Edition 12.
Swainson (1827) Swainson, W. (1827) A Sketch of the Natural Affinities of the Lepidoptera Diurna of Latreille. The Philosophical magazine : or Annals of chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, natural history and general science.
Westwood (1841) Westwood, J.O. (1841) British Butterflies and their Transformations.

  Copyright © Peter Eeles 2002-2014
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