A week or so back (26 June 2020) I was lucky enough to come across this beautiful Marbled White butterfly on a warm sunny morning whilst walking our springer spaniel in local fields. It was warming itself in the sun and was kind enough to stay still long enough for me to catch this photograph.
The Marbled White butterfly usually flies from late June through to early September in areas of unimproved grassland ¹. According to Patrick Barkham ² it is relatively common in midsummer woodland edges and rides in south-west England but rarely occurs in the east or north of the country. The Marbled White ( Melanargia galathea ) is in the family Nymphalidae which includes the striking and often colourful butterflies like Peacocks, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells. The Marbled White is in a sub-family of the Nymphalidae call the Satyrinae which are commonly called the Browns. The Marbled White is a Brown that is in fact white!
On the food plants for the caterpillars, Butterfly conservation ¹ state that “Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) is thought to be essential in the diet of larvae but Sheep’s-fescue (F. ovina), Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), and Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum) are also eaten. It is thought that several other grasses may be used, but the full range is not known.”
UK Distribution (live link to Butterfly Conservation Website)
Life Cycle (live link to Butterfly Conservation website)
¹ Butterfly Conservation (butterfly-conservation.org)
² The Butterfly Isles by Patrick Barkham (ISBN 978-1-84708-127-8)