Frisky butterflies in the Spring sunshine!

The fine weather earlier this week – at the end of March 2021 – saw the emergence of some butterflies, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells, from their winter hibernation. Although they are hunkered down somewhere over the cold months, you would probably never find them (unless they are inside the trunk of an old tree), as…

Silver-washed fritillary courtship behaviour

The courtship behaviour of the silver-washed fritillary, Argynnis paphia (Heliconiinae, Argynnini), is described in most books or websites about butterflies. Here’s how I described it in my book on Courtship and mating in butterflies. The male …. performs a unique pursuit flight, swooping down beneath the female, then darting up in front of her, until…

A courtship duet: Drosophila melanogaster

  In this blog, I have delved into the voluminous research on the common fruit fly, or vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and tried to produce a readable, hopefully entertaining, fly-level perspective, of their courtship behaviour. I am not an expert on this species, but I have immersed myself in the literature whilst researching a book…

Love is a carousel: courting Marsh fritillaries!

Marsh fritillaries, Euphydryas aurinia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), are one of my favourite butterflies. The beautiful tapestry of yellow, orange and black colours on their wings creates a stunningly attractive pattern, especially when contrasted against the bright pink colour of a flower. The beautiful appearance of butterflies is, I think, even more attractive when we discover something…

Courting brimstones: wing walking

Courtship in pierid butterflies, such as brimstones, is usually fairly brief, but can nevertheless, feature some interesting interactions. I happened across a short, unsuccessful courtship in this pair of common brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni) in NW Spain (Galicia). There are relatively few accounts of courtship in this species; however, Adrian Hoskins – informative as ever –…

Courtship bowing in meadow browns

Meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) butterflies, must, I think, be one of the most common and widespread butterflies in Europe. I am surprised therefore, not to be able to find any photographs of courtship behaviour in this species. The excellent UK Butterflies website states that: “Courtship between male and female is brief. The male showers the…