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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus


The Small Heath is one of our commonest grassland butterflies but it has declined slightly in recent decades due to intensive agriculture. It favours dry, well-drained grassland, particularly heath, downland and coastal dunes.


The upperwings are pale golden beige, but these are difficult to observe as it always rests with its wings closed. The underside of the upper wing is orange with an eye-spot and a buff-coloured tip, and there is a central pale flash on the underside of the hindwing, which points towards the margin.

Flight times

The Small Heath is usually double-brooded except in the northern part of its range, and flies between late April and early September in the south.

Food plants

Eggs are laid singly on blades of fescues, bents and meadow-grasses.

Small Heath - © Simon Jenkins  picture of Small Heath butterfly

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Small Heath distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 144
First sighting 01/05/2010
Last sighting 24/09/2010
Small Heath distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 128
First sighting 29/04/2011
Last sighting 29/09/2011
Small Heath distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 145
First sighting 15/05/2012
Last sighting 07/10/2012
Small Heath distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 206
First sighting 25/05/2013
Last sighting 26/09/2013
Small Heath distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 226
First sighting 11/04/2014
Last sighting 22/09/2014
Small Heath distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 255
First sighting 09/05/2015
Last sighting 01/10/2015
Small Heath distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Small Heath distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14

Comparison of years 2005-09 & 2010-14

No Data


Photo Gallery

Small Heath

Small Heath © Christine Maughan

Small Heath

Small Heath © Christine Maughan

Small Heath

Small Heath © Simon Jenkins

Small Heath

Small Heath © Simon Jenkins

Small Heath Small Heath Small Heath Small Heath
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