The Grayling

At the rocky coast line and archipelago of the Baltic Sea in Finland a particularly funny butterfly holds its habitat: The Grayling (Hipparchia semele). This species is master in disguise, and it’s practically impossible to spot an individual that’s resting on a rock. You need to catch it flying.

A friend of mine, Helmut, introduced me to the harsh habitat of this butterfly. Once we arrived on sight, we had to wait for an individual to fly by that could then be chased. The Grayling has a beautiful eye on it’s upper wings. However, it may not be willing to show this eye. After the butterfly lands it takes about two seconds, and the eye “shuts”. Graylings only show the eye when they’re disturbed (they’re very careful, and rather fly away instead of showing the eye to a threat) . Nevertheless, it seems that while feeding on flowers they also keep the beauty on their wings visible.

Luckily, we saw multiple individuals flying. And we also caught them with our lenses. Definitely a good day for a hobby lepidopterist.

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