Butterflies

(Order: Lepidoptera)




Peacock  (butterfly and caterpillars) (Aglais io) (Argyll Caravan Park, Argyll)

I haven't included butterflies in my website until recently because there is plenty of information on these insects both in books and on the internet.  However, I've given in, particularly when I saw David Attenborough encouraging everyone to count them so that we can keep track on how they are fairing. This is a very recognisable and well known butterfly, it has these large eye-spots on its wings presumably to ward off prey. The red, purple and blue make this a very colourful butterfly, although when its wings are closed it is almost all black. The caterpillars are a velvety black with white dots and long black 'spikes' along their 'backs'. The best thing about butterflies in general is that they are the only insect I can photograph without getting strange looks.







Red Admiral (Vanesssa atalanta) (Patterton, South West Glasgow)

This was found on a slightly chilly and breezy day at the end of August. It was enormous - somewhere in the region of 7 - 8 cms. These are very familiar butterflies with their striking dark brown and red bands and black and white wing tips. They are common in parks and gardens throughout the UK and can be found almost anywhere, including at the top of mountains and in Orkney and Shetland.






Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae(Near Muthill Road, Crieff)

Another colourful butterfly, mainly this vibrant terracotta colour with black markings and bluish lacing around the lower edges of its wings. It can often be seen flying in fields and meadows often where there are nettles, and there were certainly a lot of nettles on the margins of the field in Crieff. This one was found taking short rests on the ground in a carpark and there was a crowd of bystanders as I gently approached this one to try and get a decent shot. Embarrassing, but as always, worth it in the end...







Orange-tip (male) (Anthocharis cardamines) (Darnley Country Park, Darnley, South West Glasgow)

The male, as in these photos, has these unmistakable orange wing tips, whereas the female is all white and can be confused with other white butterflies. With its wings closed it also has this distinctive white a mustard mottled colouring.  Although these are common throughout the UK, they are rarer in the north of Scotland.





Green-veined White (Pieris napi) (Near Muthill Road, Crieff)

I can only apologise for the terrible angle on this one, but the thing would just not sit still for two seconds, which drove me completely to distraction. It is a mainly white butterfly with a black spot on the upper wings, and can look a bit like the female orange tip butterfly, which doesn't have orange tips - but when the wings are closed, the green-veined white, has as you can see (even with the bad angle) these greenish-grey veins on the underside of its wings, makes the identification of this butterfly unmistakeable.







Ringlet (male) (Aphantopus hyperantus) (Darnley Country Park, Darnley, South West Glasgow)

The yellow-ringed eyes on the underside of the wing give this butterfly its name (as you can see from the photo on the right). The male has the small dark spots on the upper side of its wings (as on the left) whereas the female has similar rings on the upper side of its wings as there are on the underside. A bit of a dull butterfly which some may confuse with a moth due to its lack of vibrant colouring associated with butterflies. The way to tell butterflies from moths is by looking at their antennae. Butterflies have straight antennae with little 'knobs' at the end (much as you see in children's drawings) whereas moths' antennae are feathery or saw-edged. Unless you can get close enough to them, it can sometimes be pretty difficult to tell one way or the other.






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