Butterflies

The Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) butterflies have been active since late April.  The male is easy to recognize with bright orange tips on its forewings. The female, however, does not have the male’s orange markings. Instead she has dark grey wingtips with a black spot in the centre of each forewing.  Her hind wings are covered with green splotches. She is now seeking food plants on which to lay her eggs.  The Cuckoo- flower or Lady’s smock (Cardamine pratensis) is a favourite.  She will also lay eggs on Garlic mustard or Hedge garlic plants (Alliaria petiolate).  Only one egg is laid on each.

The Peacock (Inachis io) hibernates from September to February.  This very striking butterfly has false “eyes” on the forewings to scare predators away.  The female lays clusters of eggs on the underside of the Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).  The black caterpillars devour the plant for about a month and then pupate.

The brown Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) with cream spots was also seen in April and will be visible until September.  The female will lay her eggs on wild grasses such as Cock’s foot and the caterpillars will eat the leaves of these. Therefore, for conservation purposes it is important that local authorities and farmers manage grasses growing on road and field verges. Gardeners and institutions can also help by creating wildflower meadows.

Butterflies 1 1ae Male orange tip
Male orange tip
Butterflies 2 1be Female orange tip butterfly
Female orange tip butterfly
Butterflies 3 1ce Hedge garlic
Hedge garlic
Butterflies 4 1de Ladys smock
Lady's smock
Butterflies 5 2ae Peacock
Peacock
Butterflies 6 2be Nettles
Nettles
Butterflies 7 3ae Speckled wood
Speckled wood
Butterflies 8 3be Cocks foot grass
Cock's foot grass

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