Large Heath (Coenonympha tullia)

Taken at Meathop Moss, Cumbria, on June 23rd 2018.
(1/800th sec at f13. Approx 3x lifesize. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 35 - 40mm

Three subspecies of the Large Heath are found in the British Isles. Ssp davus is found in north-west England and central England near the border with Wales. Ssp polydama is mainly found in the north of England, southern Scotland and western Ireland. Ssp scotia is found in northern Scotland, most of the western isles and Orkney. There is considerable variation in underwing markings. The sexes are similar.

It is found in central and northern Europe, as well as the British Isles.

Typical habitats are marshes and peat bogs, moorland, damp grasslands and riverside meadows.

There is one generation per year, with adults being on the wing from mid-June to the end of July in the British Isles. The larva is the over-wintering stage.

The primary larval foodplant is Hare's-tail Cottongrass. Common Cottongrass and Jointed Rush are also used.

Adults feed primarily on Cross-leaved Heath, Hawkweeds, Heather, Tormentil and White Clover.

This butterfly tends to be flightly and difficult to approach.

This species has Vulnerable status on the UK list.


28-Jun-2018 : Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria (5)
23-Jun-2018 : Meathop Moss, Cumbria (10)
29-Jun-2014 : Crowle Moor, N. Lincs (1)