Taxonomy

Lasiommata megera | Wall | Donnóg an bhalla

Distribution

Status

Conservation status

Ireland: Endangered (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Potential Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to only a limited extent (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Wall Brown is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status

Resident

Species Biology

Identification

Key identification features include:

  • Medium size, wingspan: 45 - 53 mm
  • Numerous orange patches on upperside of wings outlined by broad 'lines' of brown
  • Prominent black eye-spots near the apex of forewing and along margins of hindwing, both upper- and undersides

Habitat

Generalist, found on unimproved dry calcareous grassland, coastal grey dunes, machair, vegetated sea-cliffs, limestone pavement and cutover bog.  The adults bask on warm, sunlit surfaces, especially on rocky walls, but also on bare earth. The females tend to congregate closer to nectar sources and potential foodplants (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Bivoltine: typically, the 1st generation flies from May to June, and the 2nd generation from July to September.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid usually on the tips of leaves, but sometimes on stems or exposed roots of the foodplant, occasionally on other plants. Sheltered and warm sites are selected. Summer larvae occur in late June and July, the later generation form late September onwards; but it is thought that in warm seasons some larvae pupate before winter. Overwintering larvae feed again for a short time in spring. The larvae pupate attached to a silken pad, usually under the foodplant and usually under overhanging leaves. Overwintering as a pupa, or possibly sometimes in larval diapause in grass tussocks (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Generalist, the larvae feed on a variety of grasses: Bents (Agrostis spp.), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus).

Flowers visited

Generalists, adult nectar sources include: Daisy (Bellis perennis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2020

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References

Publications

Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Images