Butterflies and Moths
Butterflies and moths are common in the Park. Most require special habitats and food-plants. Most moths are dull coloured and fly by night. Most butterflies are brightly coloured and fly by day. Of Ireland's 36 species of butterfly, 26 have been recorded in the Park. This includes the rare Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia quercus) that is found in the canopy layer of oakwoods, and is very difficult to see. Below are profiles of some of the other butterflies and moths you may see in the Park followed by a list of the 26 species recorded to date.
EMPEROR MOTH (Saturnia pavonia)
This is very much a species of heathland and bogs. The large green caterpillar can be found feeding on heather in spring. It then spins a very noticeable cocoon, before the moth takes to the wing in May and June. Often empty cocoons may be found attached to the heather.
ORANGE TIP (Anthocharis cardamines)
This is one of our earlier butterflies and may be seen on the wing from April to June. The male is easily recognised with his orange wing tips. The female, being white, is trickier to identify, but the mottled hind wings are diagnostic. The caterpillar feeds on Lady's Smock and other crucifers. The species over-winters as a pupa.
SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARY (Argynnis paphia)
This spectacular large butterfly is frequently seen in Glendalough in July and August. It is primarily a species of woodland clearings. On the higher heathlands you are more likely to see the Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis paphia). Fritillary caterpillars feed on violets and over-winter as a small caterpillar.
There are many other species of butterfly and moth to be seen in the National Park. The Information Office at the Upper Lake in Glendalough sells an excellent poster with pictures of all our Irish butterflies and good details of their lifecycles.
Names of butterflies
|Small Tortoiseshell||Ruán Beag||Anglais urticae|
|Orange Tip||Barr Buí||Anthocharis cardamines|
|Silver-washed Fritillary||Fritileán Geal||Argynnis aglaja|
|Dark Green Fritillary||Fritileán Dúghlas||Argynnis paphia|
|Green Hairstreak||Stiallach Uaine||Callophrys rubi|
|Holly Blue||Gormán Cuilinn||Celastrina argiolus|
|Small Heath||Fraochán Beag||Coenonympha pamphilus|
|Clouded Yellow||Buíóg Chróch||Colias croceus|
|Small Blue||Gormán Beag||Cupido minimus|
|Painted Lady||Áilleán||Cynthia cardui|
|Dingy Skipper||Donnán||Erynnis tages|
|Grayling||Donnóg Aille||Hipparchia semele|
|Wall Brown||Donnóg Bhalla||Lasiommata megera|
|Wood White||Bánóg Choille||Leptodea sinapsis|
|Small Copper||Copróg Bheag||Lycaena phlaeas|
|Meadow Brown||Donnóg Fhéir||Maniola jurtina|
|Speckled Wood||Breacfhéileacán||Pararge aegeria|
|Large White||Bánóg Mhór||Pieris brassicae|
|Green-veined White||Bánóg Uaine||Pieris napi|
|Small White||Bánóg Bheag||Pieris rapae|
|Common Blue||Gormán Coiteann||Polyommatus icarus|
|Gate Keeper||Geatóir||Pyronia tithonus|
|Purple Hairstreak||Stiallach Corcra||Quercusia quercus|
|Red Admiral||Aimiréal Dearg||Vanessa atalanta|