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A quite common species on the Dorset heaths but far less so elsewhere


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Grayling: the forgotten one

Post date: Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 - 00:00

The grayling (Hipparchia semele) is the butterfly we all forget! If asked to list the butterflies of Dorset without referring to any documentation I reckon I could name most but if I am going to forget one it will be the grayling. The grayling is very restricted in its habitat; it has preference for heath or down land with patches of bare soil, preferably near the coast. Then, it only flies for about three weeks in August so it is not on the wing for very long.

It has very dull, well camouflaged undersides to its wings. It rests with its wings closed on patches of bare earth and it so it can easily be missed. Often, it is only as you are about tread on them and they take off that their presence is revealed.

This actually quite a common species on the Dorset heaths but far less so elsewhere


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Grayling
Scientific Name Hipparchia semele
Interest Level
Species Family Satyrid Butterflies (Browns)
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
H2: Dry Heath/Acid Grassland Mosaic Associated