Speckled Wood

Speckled wood butterfly on the path from Northumberland Park, North Shields

The speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) is a butterfly found in and on the borders of woodland areas throughout much of the Palearctic realm.The species is subdivided into multiple subspecies, including Pararge aegeria aegeria, Pararge aegeria tircis, Pararge aegeria oblita, and Pararge aegeria insula. The color of this butterfly varies between subspecies. The existence of these subspecies is due to variation in morphology down a gradient corresponding to a geographic cline. The background of the wings ranges from brown to orange, and the spots are either pale yellow, white, cream, or a tawny orange. The speckled wood feeds on a variety of grass species. The males of this species exhibit two types of mate locating behaviors: territorial defense and patrolling. The proportion of males exhibiting these two strategies changes based on ecological conditions. The monandrous female must choose which type of male can help her reproduce successfully. Her decision is heavily influenced by environmental conditions.