Grayling (Hipparchia semele)

Wing span: 51-62 mm. The Grayling is a master of disguise. Although it is fairly conspicuous when in flight, it can mysteriously disappear as soon as it lands, being perfectly camouflaged against a background of bare earth and stones. This butterfly can be found throughout the British Isles. It is primarily a coastal species, although colonies do occur inland. Its preferred habitat is sheltered, sunny and dry sites where vegetation is sparse. Typical sites include heathland, sand dunes, coastal grassland and disused quarries.
Life Cycle
There is one generation per year, with adults generally begining to emerge at the start of July, peaking at the end of the month. The larva is the overwintering stage.
Larval Foodplants
The primary larval foodplants are Bristle Bent, Early Hair-grass, Red Fescue and Sheep's-fescue.
Nectar Sources
Adults feed primarily on Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bramble, Heather, Marjoram, Red Clover, Teasel and Thistles.
UK Conservation Status
Earliest UTB sighting (since 2004)
29th June
First sightings data
Species Champion
Des Sussex (email:
Decoy Heath
Greenham Common
Wildmoor Heath