Small Heath

Coenonympha pamphilus 

PhotoWingspan: 34-38 mm     

A light brown butterfly, smaller than any other Brown. It is nearest to the Gatekeeper, which is a deeper orange colour, but both species can still look similar and sometimes share habitat in late summer. Always settles with wings closed, when forewings show the light brown, with a single black spot with white pupil. Blotchy grey-brown hindwing covers over forewing, particularly in cloudy weather. Flight weak and slow. 

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Flight Period
Double-brooded, with slight overlap between generations: first generation from early May to mid-July, second, from mid-July to mid-September, so a few can be found at any time through the summer. 

Larval Food plants
Fescues (Festuca spp.) and Bents (Agrostis spp.) 

Grassland, especially on lighter soils, less often found in marginal habitats as numbers decline. 

Wiltshire Status
Resident, locally frequent to common, widespread. 

Wiltshire Sites
Still found in many parts of the county, but most numerous on the downland sites.

Barbury Castle
Cley Hill
Martinsell Hill
Haxton Down 

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record 16th April 2007 & 2012  

Latest county record
1st November 2010