Butterflies to look out for in July
Common blue and small heath butterflies will still be on the wing throughout, with the Marbled whites in evidence for the first part of the month. In addition, the species below are likely to be seen. Further details about each can be found by clicking on the links.
Gatekeepers (Pyronia tithonus) are widespread in central and south Britain. It is on the wing between early July and early September. The butterfly is often seen nectaring on common fleabane, ragwort, bramble and marjoram. The caterpillars feed on a range of fine grasses such as fescues, bents and meadow-grasses.
Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) butterflies are found in lowland Britain along woodland rides and glades. there are some colonies on north-facing downs. There is one generation in June to August. Wild privet is a frequent nectar source for the adults and the caterpillars feed on a variety of grass species, especially cock’s-foot and false brome.
The small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) is associated with rough grassland and woods throughout England and Wales. The adults’ favoured foodplant is greater knapweed and the caterpillars feed on Yorkshire fog. It has one generation between June-August.
Chalk hill blue butterflies (Polyommatus coridon) are found mostly in southern England on calcareous grassland but not as far as the south-west peninsula. They are particularly abundant in Mount Joy cemetery from the end of July to the beginning of September. Their caterpillars feed on horseshoe vetch.
Small copper (Lycaena phlaeas) butterflies are common throughout lowland Britain. Egg-laying is usually restricted to common sorrel and sheep’s sorrel. In a good year, three generations may occur.
Pictures with thanks: © K. Marston