Melanargia galathea   Marbled White

Melanargia galathea Melanargia galathea from Greena Moor

I was hunting a very rare plant Orobanche reticulata (Thistle Broomrape) in the depths of the Yorkshire countryside when I saw what I thought was a good looking moth. It settled down and I took a few photos realising as I did, that it was a Marbled White. Amongst other food plants this species likes thistles just as the Thistle Broomrape does. I had last seen this butterfly over 30 years ago as it is largely a south of England species particularly associated with downland.

In Cornwall the Culm grassland (badly drained acid moorland) leads to huge beds of Marsh thistle and a rare colony (for Cornwall) of Marbled White. Every time the clouds crossed the sun the butterflies (Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Skippers) went down and as the sun burst through they rose in large numbers.

LHS: Field near North Grimston, Yorkshire 28th July 2004 RHS: Greena Moor, Cornwall 19th July 2008

Added on 5th October 2004, amended on January 29th 2005, updated 26th July 2008

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