Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele)



The Grayling butterfly much prefers to sit rather than fly. Always sitting with wings closed, whether it is sunny or over cast. The colours and markings of the undersides the hind-wings, give almost perfect camouflage with the ground. When disturbed it will fly just a short distance before landing, and doing the amazing disappearing trick once again.


A widespread butterfly mainly found around the coastal regions of England and Wales, and a small number of inland locations.

Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele) showing eye spot

Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele) showing eye spot © Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2017

Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele)

Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia semele)

Habitat – Warm dry bare stony or sandy ground around cliffs, sand dunes, heaths and open woodland.


June-September with numbers of individuals peaking around August although it may vary slightly from year to year and the colonies location.

Quick Info

  • Family Group– Browns – Nymphalidae
  • Size around – 50mm
  • Larval Food Plant: Various Grasses
  • .
  • Adult Nectar Plant: Hawkweeds, thyme and heather
  • Population Status– Vulnerable with falling numbers due to continued habitat loss
  • Photographed – Wiveton Downs, Norfolk
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