34 - 38mm
A small butterfly with discreet habits and could easily be overlooked. The sexes are roughly similar with a wingspan of 34 mm. although the female is slightly larger. The uppersides of the neat, roundly elongated wings are an all over light buff-yellow with a thin outer border of dark brown and a pale outer fringe. Vein markings show as faint darker brown lines. The male has an obvious, although small, 'eyespot' (ocelli) of a central small white pupil encircled by a black spot and a final pale ring on the upper forewing and a pale patch in the post-discal area of the upper hindwing. The female tends to be lighter, more yellowy in colour, and her eyespot is not so obvious. Her hindwings carry over a third of darker buff colouring towards the body with a more obvious uneven lighter patch. The under forewings have slightly more depth of colour and a triangular grey patch across the tip, and the adjoining eyespot is more prominent. The under hindwing has a dark deep patch of purple grey next to the body, turning to a reddy tint near its edge, with an adjoining pale patch.
The first adult Small Heaths can be seen early in the season in May to June; the later ones will appear in July to September.
The Small Heath is not an avid feeder but is found quite frequently among flowers. In the spring it utilises low growing plants like Thyme, and Buttercup.