Facts on the marbled white butterfly

...The marbled white butterfly

The marbled white butterfly

Adults are seen on the wing from late June, reaching a peak in mid-July and are widespread in southern BritainIs quite conspicuous as it may be the only white object in the grassland habitat it favoursShows a preference for purple flowers such as wild marjoram, field scabious, thistles, pyramidal orchids and knapweedsIt’s common to see a flower head containing several adults vying for spaceEarly morning is a good time to spot it as it sits with open wings to absorb the sun’s raysFemales don’t lay their eggs on a food plant but drop them while perched on a grass stem or while flying in a suitable habitatIts black and white markings distinguish it from all other species found in the British IslesDespite its name this butterfly is more closely related to the sub family of ‘browns’Is often seen with small scarlet red parasitic mites attached to its body. These parasites feed on the blood of the living butterfly but in small numbers do not pose a threatOccurs in large numbers on chalk downland with smaller colonies found on road verges, field margins, woodland clearings and disused railway lines

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