Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

.... and in Manx that's Freoaghane veg

Passport crop

A small, almost innoccuous butterfly of short turfed grassland. Often seen in the company of Common Blues and Small Coppers. The upper wings are a pale yellow orange and it flies close to the ground. It always sits with its wings closed, and when first alighted reveals an eye-spot on the underside of the tip of the forewing. The eye-spots are a defence mechanism, which many members of the brown family have. Should a predatory bird, such as a Skylark or Meadow Pipit, see the butterfly land then the eye-spot encourages the bird to peck at what it thinks is the head of the insect. This gives the butterfly the chance to evade capture, albeit with a beak-shaped piece of wing missing! The caterpillar foodplant is fine leaved grasses such as meadow grasses and fescues. Double brooded but the second brood may only be partial. Overwinters as a small caterpillar. First brood on the wing from early May with individuals being seen throughout the summer and second in August to early September.

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