Marbled White Butterflies
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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.