Grayling (Hipparchia semele)

.... and in Manx that's Glassag

Passport crop

This is very much a coastal butterfly in the Isle of Man although historically there have been records of inland colonies. Grassy rocky cliffs and dry heathland such as at the Ayres are the prime habitats. It is fast flying and like many of the brown species the upperwings are brown with eye-spots. However, the description of the upperwings is not the best feature of identification because it never sits with its wings open. The underside of the hindwings is heavily mottled and at rest the butterfly tucks its forewing beneath the hindwing making it extemely well camouflaged. On landing the butterfly also aligns the angle of its wings towards the sun to create the least possible shadow. These camouflaging features make this butterfly appear to disappear on landing. The caterpillar foodplant is wild grasses such as Sheeps Fescue and Bristle Bent with Marram a favourite on dunes. This butterfly is single brooded and can be seen from July to early September. Overwinters as a small caterpillar.

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