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.

On a hunt for the Dune Gentian with DJ in Oxwich dunes we were suddenly aware of many Marbled White butterflies settling on clover. Having been to these dunes many times before this was the first time either of us had seen Marbled Whites flying yet there were plenty to be seen.

Melanargia galathea

Melanargia galathea Marbled White

Oxwich dunes near river, Gower, South Wales 9th July 2009

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Melanargia galathea Marbled White

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

Added on 5th Oct 04, amended on Jan 29th 05, updated 26th July & Nov 6th 08, updated June 9th 2010

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