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butterfly Marbled White Butterflies

Identify It >   Butterfly Section >   Marbled White Butterflies >

Scientific name:  Melanargia galathea

Size:  Wingspan up to 55mm

Distribution:  Found mainly in south west England.  Scarce elsewhere

Months seen:  June to August

Life span:  The caterpillar stage lasts around 11 months and the adult butterflies fly for up to two months

Habitat:  Fields, meadows and woodland rides, especially on chalky soil

Food:  Nectar.  The caterpillars feed on various grasses

Special features:  Marbled White butterflies are the only butterflies in the UK with these distinctive black and white markings.  The females have a slight brown tinge to the undersides of their wings.

Marbled Whites have a slow, floppy way of flying, and generally stay close to the ground.

The females drop their eggs randomly over vegetation.  The eggs hatch within a few weeks and the tiny, cream coloured caterpillars immediately go into hibernation amongst vegetation.  They emerge the following spring to feed on various meadow grasses.

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