Coenonympha tullia | Large Heath | Fraochán mór

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Vulnerable (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Vulnerable (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Large Heath is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Medium size, wingspan: 35 - 40 mm
  • Irregular white streak on underside of wings
  • 2 to 6 distinct ringed eyespots on underside of hindwing


Specialist, wet grasslands on nutrient poor soils, raised bogs, blanket bogs and cutover bogs. The adults roost in low vegetation, and fly erratically close to the ground (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Univoltine: June to August, flying later in northern counties.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid singly on the foodplant, particularly on dead leaves at the base of the tussock. The larva feeds by day from late July to late September, and again from late March to late May, retreating into the tussocks of grass when not feeding. Pupation occurs in late May or early June, the pupa being suspended from the foodplant or adjacent vegetation. Overwintering in larval diapause from about October to the following March (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Specialist, the larvae primarily feed on Hare's-tail Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum).

Flowers visited

Generalist, the adult nectar sources include: Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Heather (Calluna vulgaris / Erica spp.), Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and White Clover (Trifolium repens).


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



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.