Name: Grayling

Scientific name: Hipparchia semele

Category: Minibeasts

Nature Stars: 60

What are nature stars?

About: A medium sized butterfly, mainly dark brown with washed out orange markings and a very intricate grey and black patterned underwing. Wingspan measures about 5.5 cm. Adults are on the wing in the summer, June to August. A butterfly of warm places where the adults spend much of their time sunbathing on the ground, with their wings closed and angled to catch the full rays of the sun. Caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses.

How to identify: The best way to identify the 'brown' butterflies is by looking at the eye spots on their wings. The combination of orange and brown markings, together with two large eye spot on the fore wing and one smaller eye spot on the rear wing are uniqe to the Grayling, as is the habit of sunbathing on the ground.

Where: Found on heathlands and other sunny habitats around the coasts of Britain.

Natural Superpowers

  • Predator: 10
  • Agility: 70
  • Rarity: 60
  • Cute factor: 40
  • Traveller: 50

Fantastic fact: A unique subspecies is found on the Great Orme in north Wales, where they are smaller than normal.

Photograph credit: Keith Warmington/

More in this category: Oil beetle » « Small Skipper


  • Tawnyix
    • Date: 2014-10-29 18:35:25
    • Tawnyix

    thanks for the latin/scientific name

  • Dolphilor
    • Date: 2010-08-03 12:23:06
    • Dolphilor

    I have never seen one.