Pearly Heath Butterfly - Coenonympha arcania

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Nymphalidae

Pearly Heath butterfly, France

This smallish butterfly (wingspan 1.7 to 1.9cm) is found in grassland and open woodland. In common with other butterflies in the 'Browns' group this butterfly holds its wings together when at rest.

Pearly Heath butterfly

The Pearly Heath is one of 39 members of the Coenonympha genus that are currently listed worldwide, and of these 14 have so far been recorded in Europe.

Pearly Heath butterfly, France, showing a hint of upperwings


Fairly common in central and southern Europe, excluding the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula, the Pearly Heath is also found into Asia at least as far as Iran. It does not ocur in Britain.


The eggs are laid singly on grass near to bushes, and the caterpillars overwinter in the fourth instar. The pupa is suspended on a stalk. Pearly Heath butterflies can be seen on the wing between June and September.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Steve Jelf.

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