South Hill – Marbles Rock

The Somerset Wildlife Trust of South Hill is becoming a real favourite.  Today I returned to find the marbled white butterflies were really rocking.

Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) - South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7233

Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) – South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7233

Marble Whites

Marbled whites are officially a brown butterfly – but in black and white.  This makes them stand out against the summer grasses.

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) - South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7086

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) – South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7086

Marbled whites live in colonies.  These colonies only need a small patch of grass such a road verge.  So a reserve like South Hill though tiny is ample to support a healthy population of marbled whites.

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) on Self Heal (Prunella) - South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7209

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) on Self Heal (Prunella) – South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7209

There is also lots of grass clumps.  The long grass protects their white round eggs that overwinter deep down and safe.

These butterflies have recently emerged and are waiting for there wings to dry out.

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) - South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7225

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) – South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7225

All the butterflies in a colony emerge about the same time.  Large numbers suddenly appear then after a few weeks they disappear.

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) on Clover - South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7428

Marbled White (Melanargia calathea) on Clover – South Hill, Somerset, UK. ID 822_7428

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