It is not unusual to come across mating butterflies, although sometimes copulation takes place well away from where they normally feed or defend territories: for example, in the tree tops … Continue Reading Mating Gatekeepers
The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the … Continue Reading Rock (and roll!) Grayling
There is a huge diversity of different courtship behaviour in butterflies, but one feature appears to be universal: female butterflies ‘almost never fly towards males to mate’ (Scott, 1973). In … Continue Reading Lang’s Short-tailed Blue: courtship behaviour
These nine images, which appear here in temporal sequence (from top to bottom), show a male Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) butterfly flying around a female. I am not sure exactly … Continue Reading Iberian Marbled White – courtship sequence
If you go to college (I studied Zoology) you learn a lot of exciting new words and phrases – things like parapatric speciation – very useful for impressing your friends at the … Continue Reading The Bath White: a parapatric species or a peripatetic pierid?
Finding a mate is one of the biggest challenges facing any animal which relies on sexual reproduction. For butterflies, the process of finding, recognising and attracting a mate usually rests … Continue Reading Butterfly body language
We are in the middle of The big butterfly count which is a nationwide survey run by Butterfly Conservation, Friday 14 July to Sunday 6 August, to assess the status of the nation’s butterflies … Continue Reading Common but extremely beautiful: The small tortoiseshell
Males butterflies in the family Lycaenidae, the so-called Blues, typically have brightly coloured, iridescent colours on the upper (dorsal) surfaces of their wings. Vivid blue iridescence such as this on the … Continue Reading Bright iridescent patches are honest signals!
Migrant Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta (L.), usually arrive in the UK during May and June each year. Like the closely related butterfly, The Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui (L.), these migrations of Red admirals originate from … Continue Reading Red Admirals – European migrants
The Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758), is a butterfly with an enormous distribution – from West Africa to New Zealand (1, 2). There are a large number of different forms or … Continue Reading Tigers mating
The Longbanded Silverline (Spindasis lohita), Family Lycaenidae, is a beautiful insect with a remarkable structure – a tail, or ‘false head’ – at the end of its hind wing. There is … Continue Reading Bluff and deception in Blues
I spent some time observing and photographing Painted Jezebel (Delias hyparete indica) butterflies feeding and courting on Bougainvillea flowers in Thailand. These beautiful and very common butterflies are often seen flitting … Continue Reading Courting Jezebels
It is rather ironic that this little butterfly, which was named by a 19th Century British entomologist, does not occur in the UK! Weaver’s fritillary (Boloria dia) occurs throughout mainland … Continue Reading Weaver’s Fritillary
The Cleopatra is not a butterfly we see in the UK although a few individuals have occasionally appeared in southern England, perhaps as a result of hitch-hiking on a passing … Continue Reading Beautiful Cleopatra
A little butterfly skipping from flower to flower in the late afternoon sunshine. Enjoying little sips of nectar. Seemingly oblivious to the cares of this world. Yet there lurks a … Continue Reading Watch out little butterfly!
In 1988, it was discovered that the Wood White butterfly (Leptidea sinapis (Linnaeus, 1758)) was actually two species, largely overlapping in their habitats, but virtually identical and only distinguishable by … Continue Reading Wood Whites go A-Courting!