Butterfly Spotting

Today (Thursday 10th April 2008) I spotted the first butterfly of the season. It was a peacock butterfly. I spotted it this morning about 10am in my vegetable garden.

Have you spotted any butterflies this year yet? – Let me know which butterfly you saw, where you saw it and when you saw it.

  1. really beautiful….wow! I haven’t seen any yet…but I did hear the frogs start singing in the evenings…

    Comment by Jean Ann – April 10, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

  2. Hi Jean Ann, I was surprised to see the butterfly as we had snow at the weekend but the sun was shining this morning so it must have come out of hibernation.
    Thanks for your comment.
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – April 10, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  3. So far I’ve seen Peacocks, Brimstones and a Comma. All in my garden in the last week. Great to see them again after the winter… Jane

    Comment by Jane – April 11, 2008 @ 5:30 am

  4. A pair of commas on the 4th of April, on a beautiful sunny day.

    Comment by Louise – April 11, 2008 @ 11:24 am

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Latin Name: Parage aegeria.

Description: The speckled wood butterfly has brown wings with creamy-yellow coloured spots on the upper wing with one small dark eye spot near the tip of the upper wing. The lower wings have creamy-yellow coloured spots and a row of three dark eye spots.

Size: The wingspan of the speckled wood butterfly is approximately 50mm.

Habitat: This butterfly can be found in woodlands and hedgerows.

Food: The speckled wood butterfly feeds on the honeydew secreted by aphids. The caterpillar of the speckled wood butterfly feeds on grasses.

Distribution: The speckled wood butterfly is found throughout Europe.

Months Seen: The speckled wood butterfly adult can be seen between March and October.

Did You Know?

  • The speckled wood can hibernate as a caterpillar or a chrysallis.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Latin Name: Aglais urticae

Description:  The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly is bright orange with a black border and blue spots around the edge of the wings. The forewing has 3 rectangular black patches and the hindwings have black on them aswell. The underside of the wings are a black and brown colouring with a row of faint blue spots near the edge.

Size: The Small Tortoiseshell has a wingspan of approximately 45-60mm.

Habitat: This butterfly lives in gardens, parks, meadows, woodlands, grasslands, farms and country lanes.

Food: The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly feeds on nectar from flowering plants such as the buddleia, daisies, thistles, ragwort and dandelion. The caterpillar feeds on stinging nettles.

Distribution: The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly can be found throughout the UK.

Months Seen: This species of butterfly can be seen from March to October.

Did You Know?

  • The Small Tortoiseshell caterpillar is a black or brown colour with branching spines and yellow bands on eachside of it’s body.
  • The adult butterfly sleeps in sheds and houses during the Winter.
  • Eggs from the caterpillar are laid on the stinging nettle.


Small White / Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly

Latin Name: Pieris rapae

Description:  The Small White butterfly has white wings. The upperside of the wing has one black or grey spot on it’s forewing for the male and two for the female. There is also a black or grey patch on the tip of the forewing.

Size: The wingspan on the Small White is approximately 40-55mm.

Habitat: Meadows, gardens, hedgerows, allotments, parks, grassland and wasteland are home to the Small White butterfly.

Food: The Small White butterfly feeds on nectar particularly on plants with white flowers and the caterpillars feed on brassicas and garlic mustard.

Distribution: This species of butterfly can be found throughout the UK.

Months Seen: The Small White butterfly can be seen between April and October.

Did You Know?

  • The Small White butterfly is commonly referred to as the Cabbage White.
  • This butterfly is related to the Large White butterfly.
  • The caterpillars are bright green with tiny black speckles and covered with fine hairs.

Small White caterpillar eggs

  • The Small White caterpillar’s eggs are laid singly and gradually turn yellow.

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What Is A Butterfly?

Comma Butterfly 

  • A butterfly is an insect.
  • They have 6 legs.
  • Butterflies have 3 body parts.
  • These insects have 2 antennae.
  • Butterflies have overlapping scales on their wings.
  • They are coldblooded.
  • Butterflies begin their life as an egg which hatches into a caterpillar.
  • The caterpillar then produces a chrysalis (pupa) which then transforms into the butterfly.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral Butterfly

Latin Name: Vanessa Atalanta

Description:  The Red Admiral is a brightly coloured butterfly with red bands and white spots on a black wing.

Size: The wingspan of the Red Admiral is approximately 60-70mm.

Habitat: The Red Admiral lives in gardens, hedgerows, orchards, woodlands and meadows.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Food: They eat nectar, fermenting fruit such as apples, plums and pears, brambles, buddleia and nettles.

Distribution: The Red Admiral can be found throughout the UK.

Months Seen: This butterfly can be seen between May and October.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Did You Know?

  • Females lay one egg at a time leaving up to a dozen under nettle leaves.
  • Red Admiral butterflies migrate from Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
  • The Red Admiral caterpillar is yellowish brown to black with a row of yellow spots on each side. It has short black spines and has white speckles on it.
  • Red Admirals will migrate South in the summer.
  • These butterflies can spend Winter as sleeping adults but in order to survive they need a warmer climate.


Where Do Butterflies Go At Night?

I was recently asked the question Where Do Butterflies Go At Night? by TopVeg. This is an excellent question.

Where Do Butterflies Go At Night?

Butterflies roost and sleep;

  • In garden buildings.
  • On or in tree trunks.
  • On the underside of leaves.
  • Under dense leaves.
  • In crevices in walls.
  • In crevices in between rocks.
  • Under the overhang of houses.
  • Hanging on bushes and shrubs.
  • Under rocks.
  • In garages.

These are the same places that butterflies go to shelter from the rain.

Thanks TopVeg for this excellent question.

Wall Brown Butterfly

Wall Brown Butterfly

Latin Name: Lasiommata megera

Description: The Wall Brown butterfly has orange wings with a brown border and brown markings on the wing. Near the tip of the forewings the Wall Brown has a prominent eye spot with an arc of 3 or 4 eye spots on the hindwing. The underside of the wing is a brown colour which acts as a camouflage when resting on rocks and stones.

Size: The Wall Brown has a forewing span of up to 50mm.

Habitat: The Wall Brown can be found in rough grassland, country lanes, roadside verges, grassy orchards, dis-used quarries, coastal regions and shrubberies.

Food: The Wall Brown Butterfly feeds on nectar and the Wall Brown caterpillar feeds on grasses.

Distribution: Wall Brown butterflies are found in North Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe with the exception of Northern Scandinavia.

Months Seen: This butterfly can usually be seen between March and October.

Did You Know?

  • The Wall Brown butterfly likes to settle on rocks and walls.
  • This butterfly has declined in numbers in central Britain and Northern Ireland.