Butterfly of the Week
– past News Posts
Orange tip: This butterfly is a delightful harbinger of spring. It over winters as a pupa on dead low growing vegetation near its favoured food plants. These are Lady’s smock – a pale pink flower of damp meadows and roadside verges or the white flowered weed, Garlic mustard, found in all sorts of disturbed ground. The males with their orange tips are conspicuous and travel long distances seeking out the females which do not have the orange tips but do have the same green-seeming network on the underside of the hind wings. When the butterflies roost, this green netted underwing provides excellent camouflage. Females will often be found near suitable egg laying sites where the food plants are relatively large, and in unshaded, isolated but sheltered sites. It has only one generation each year so the pupa formed in June will hibernate until the following spring.
John Ball Sean Pritchard Peter Bright
Peacock: The adults that are seen in this week went into hibernation last August/September/October in our garages, woodsheds, log piles. Last autumn they fed avidly on the nectar of flowers like Buddleia and Michaelmas daisy to build up the fat stores they need to see them through to the spring. They can be seen on the wing at anytime through the winter if there is a warm spell after which they return to hibernation. They come out of hibernation at the end of March or beginning of April. The males currently are seeking out suitable territories perhaps near suitable large clumps of nettle that are sheltered but in full sunshine that are favoured egg laying sites. Passing females are pursued and mated with. Eggs will be laid from late April through into May.
Peter Bright photo