Marbled White

  • Marbled White (upperwing)
    Marbled White (upperwing)
  • Marbled White (underwing)
    Marbled White (underwing)
  • Marbled White (male & female)
    Marbled White (male & female)
  • Marbled White (male)
    Marbled White (male)
  • Marbled White (female)
    Marbled White (female)
  • Marbled White (group)
    Marbled White (group)
  • Marbled White (caterpillar)
    Marbled White (caterpillar)
  • Video play iconMarbled White (underwing)
    Marbled White (video)
  • Marbled White (upperwing)
    Marbled White (upperwing)
  • Marbled White (underwing)
    Marbled White (underwing)
  • Marbled White (male & female)
    Marbled White (male & female)
  • Marbled White (male)
    Marbled White (male)
  • Marbled White (female)
    Marbled White (female)
  • Marbled White (group)
    Marbled White (group)
  • Marbled White (caterpillar)
    Marbled White (caterpillar)
  • Marbled White (underwing)
    Marbled White (video)

Scientific name: Melanargia galathea

Medium-sized butterfly, with black and white checked wings.

The Marbled White is a distinctive and attractive black and white butterfly, unlikely to be mistaken for any other species. In July it flies in areas of unimproved grassland and can occur in large numbers on southern downland. It shows a marked preference for purple flowers such as Wild Marjoram, Field Scabious, thistles, and knapweeds. Adults may be found roosting halfway down tall grass stems. 

Found in flowery grassland but may stray into gardens. This species is widespread in southern Britain and has expanded northwards and eastwards over the last twenty years, despite some losses within its range.

Size and Family

  • Family – Browns
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 53-58mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP status: Not listed     
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Low                          
  • European status: Not threatened

Caterpillar Foodplants

Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) is thought to be essential in the diet of larvae but Sheep's-fescue (F. ovina), Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), and Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum) are also eaten. It is thought that several other grasses may be used, but the full range is not known.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, and Wales
  • Southern and central England, north to Yorkshire, and South Wales
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = +11%.

Habitat

Unimproved grassland with tall sward. The strongest populations are found on chalk or limestone grasslands but other habitats such as; woodland rides and clearings, coastal grassland, road verges and railway embankments are also used.

Factsheets

Similar species