Species index

Scarce Heath

(Coenonympha hero)

 

Jura 04/06/06

Jura 04/06/06

Jura 04/06/06

Jura 04/06/06

The Scarce Heath is an extremely rare butterfly and in France is now restricted to just a few sites in the east. The habitat is very particular. It consists of forest clearings in which the grass tussocks are surrounded by a permanent network of regularly waterlogged channels. Whilst these channels are essentially dried up sufficiently in the summer to enable unhindered walking, in June 2006 we found that a large part of the area was still so damp under foot that we could no longer advance across it. The largest habitat area we visited had been replanted with young conifers and the long term survival of the species looks doubtful in these circumstances. The butterfly was relatively common within its habitat though generally we saw individual adults flying low over the grassland, then settling well down amongst the grasses. When approached they were extremely sensitive, usually taking to the air before we could get closer than a couple of metres. Then they would regularly fly into the cover of bushes and trees and settle well up on the branches. It is a strikingly beautiful butterfly with the neat row of ocelli on the hindwing enclosed in red. In keeping with other heaths it always rests with wings closed.    

Species index