NINE JUNE BUTTERFLIES
There is a change in the butterfly fauna in June. The few earlier starter species that overwintered as adults or others that rushed their caterpillar development to get airborne as quickly as possible in spring have peaked. Now the true summer species sta
Callophrys rubi Britain’s only green butterfly perches, wings closed, on prominent bushes. Warm valleys, sandy heathland and brownfields are its favoured haunts. Its wide range of food plants include gorse, rockrose and bramble.
Lycaena phlaeas Bright and lively, this is always on the move, its orange catching the sun and glinting like burnished gold. Even when feeding at a flower it keeps shifting its body. The male and female crash into the grass to mate.
Limenitis camilla This is a scarce denizen of dappled woodland rides, where its caterpillars eat honeysuckle leaves. Hectic in flight – revealing an orange underside – it has headlong bursts of speed interspersed with gliding swoops.
Vanessa atalanta White and red insignia against black velvet make this one of our most beautiful and distinctive insects. A strong, fast flier, it’s also happy to sit and sip nectar leisurely from a thistle or buddleia flower.
DARK GREEN FRITILLARY
Argynnis aglaja Its bright chequered black and orange upper side contrasts with its soft green underwings, spotted with shimmering pools of bright silver scales. It is a powerful flier over dunes and rough grassland.
Melanargia galathea Found on southern English chalk downs and limestone hills. Its white, blonde or cream marbling varies from narrow tracery to deep blotches. Its favourite nectar plants include knapweeds and scabious.
Maniola jurtina Common across all types of rough grassland. Females are generally paler with large orange blotch on upper wings, males are an almost uniform dark brown. It rests with wings folded together, front pair tucked down behind back.
Aphantopus hyperanthus This regular of damp grasslands, scrub, woodland edges and hedgerows has a slow, lugubrious flight. The normally eight pale rings on the underside vary in number, shape, size and brightness.
Coenonympha pamphilus Despite its orange upperside, the delicate small heath is almost invisible when it folds its wings in long grass. An erratic low bobbing flight distinguishes it from similar orange skippers. It’s often found in small numbers.