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Marbled White Butterfly

melanargia galathea

The Marbled White's black and white markings distinguish it from all other UK species. It is a regular visitor to the Gardens, despite being comparatively uncommon in Eastern England. It lives in distinct and often quite large colonies.

marbled white butterfly

An early July morning is probably the best time to see the Marbled White, as it warms up its wings by holding them open to absorb the sun's rays. It is usually spotted 

flying in areas of tall, wild grassland and has a marked preference for purple flowers such as Wild Marjoram, Field Scabious, thistles, and knapweeds, although it will also feed on clovers and Yarrow. When the weather is dull, and at night, the adults roost halfway down tall grass stems.

Red Fescue grass (Festuca rubra) is thought to be essential in the caterpillar's diet, but other grasses such as Sheep's-fescue, Yorkshire-fog, and Tor-grass are also eaten.


Life Cycle

To Learn More

Visit Butterfly Conservation's and UK Butterflies' sites.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018 

marbled white butterfly lifecycle

Over the centuries the Marbled White's striking colouring has earned it many interesting names (several of them associated with mourning) including: Our Half-Mourner, Marmoris, Marbled Argus and Marbled-White Half Mourner. 

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