Grayling (butterfly)
The Grayling is a species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 in the brush-footed butterfly family Nymphalidae. It sometimes occurs in coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

al areas of northeast Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 such as the Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve. It can also be found near the coast around England, such as Fire Beacon Hill
Fire Beacon Hill
Fire Beacon Hill is a Local Nature Reserve in East Devon, England, registered as Common land and known as Harpford Common. Sidmouth Town Council are the current owners, and are responsible for the management of the site.- Geology :...

. This species is often associated with bare ground and rocky hills.

They rest with closed wings, forewings lowered between the hindwings as do many Satyrinae
Satyrinae, the satyrines or satyrids, commonly known as the Browns, is a subfamily of the Nymphalidae . They were formerly considered a distinct family, Satyridae. This group contains nearly half of the known diversity of brush-footed butterflies...

. When disturbed, they raise the forewing so that the large eyespot
Eyespot (mimicry)
An eyespot is an eye-like marking. They are found on butterflies, reptiles, birds and fish. In members of the Felidae family , the white circular markings on the backs of the ears are termed ocelli, and they are functionally similar to eyespots in other animals.Eyespots may be a form of...

s near its apex become visible. A predator attacking the butterfly could either be startled by the sudden appearance of the pattern, or be enticed into attacking the conspicuous spot rather than the butterfly's body (Stevens, 2005). A very similar species has recently been in discovered at Faraulep
Faraulep Atoll is a coral atoll of three islands in the central Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district in Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia....

, Stripe-backed Grayling.

It is now a UK BAP
United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan
The United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan is the governmental response to the Convention on Biological Diversity signed in 1992. When the Biodiversity Action Plans were first published in 1994, the conservation of 391 species and 45 habitats was covered. 1,150 species and 65 habitats are...

 species (Butterfly Conservation, 2007).


A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

, dune
In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by wind. Dunes occur in different forms and sizes, formed by interaction with the wind. Most kinds of dunes are longer on the windward side where the sand is pushed up the dune and have a shorter "slip face" in the lee of the wind...

s, salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

, undercliffs, clifftops, dry heathland, calcareous grassland
Calcareous grassland
Calcareous grassland is an ecosystem associated with thin basic soil, such as that on chalk and limestone downland. Plants on calcareous grassland are typically short and hardy, and include grasses and herbs such as clover...

, old quarries
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...

, earthworks, derelict old spoil heaps, open woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

 on stony ground, dry and well-drained soil, with sparse vegetation and plenty of bare ground in open sunny positions.

Life cycle

  • Egg 15 July to 21 September
  • Larva 1 August to 21 June
  • Pupa 7 June to 7 August
  • Adult 1 to 14 June, and 7 to 21 July

Host plants

  • Sheep's-fescue Festuca ovina
  • Red Fescue Festuca rubra
    Festuca rubra
    Festuca rubra is a species of grass known by the common name red fescue. It is found worldwide and can tolerate many habitats and climates; it generally needs full sun to thrive...

  • Bristle Bent Agrostis curtisii
    Agrostis curtisii
    Agrostis curtisii is a species of grass in the Poaceae family native to Eurasia.It is tufted, with hair like leaves. Stems grow up to 60 cm. Its spikelets are yellow-green in colour, and its lemmas are awned. The ligule is pointed.Bristle Bent flowers in the UK from June until July and is...

  • Early Hair-grass Aira
    Aira is a genus of about 10 species of annual grasses, native to western and southern Europe, southwest Asia and Africa. The common name, shared with the similar related genera Deschampsia and Koeleria, is Hair-grass, from the very slender leaves and stems...

  • Tufted Hair-grass Deschampsia cespitosa
  • Marram Ammophila arenaria
    Ammophila arenaria
    Ammophila arenaria is a species of grass known by the common names European Marram Grass and European Beachgrass. It is one of two species of the genus Ammophila . It is native to the coastlines of Europe and North Africa where it grows in the sands of beach dunes. It is a perennial grass forming...

External links

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