Butterflies of Scotland
- Grayling (Hipparchia semele)

Graphics via Wikimedia

The Grayling occur in coastal areas of northeast Scotland such as the RSPB Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire. The species is often associated with bare ground and rocky hills and is widespread on the coast of Britain and dry heathland, old quarries, earthworks, derelict old spoil heaps and open woodland on stony ground.

The Grayling is a master of camouflage. The undersides of its wings make it almost impossible to see when at rest on stone, bare ground or tree trunks. It rarely opens its wings when resting or feeding it keeps its wings closed and the eyespot is generally kept concealed. However, when alarmed, the Grayling will flick its wings revealing the eyespot. A predator attacking the butterfly is either startled by the sudden appearance of the pattern, or enticed into attacking the conspicuous spot rather than the butterfly's body

The Grayling has suffered from a loss of habitat, with a consequent drop in numbers. As a result, the Grayling is a priority species for conservation.

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