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Speckled wood butterflies

Posted: Wednesday 28 April 2010
by Richard Jones

My 2010 garden tally of butterfly species is now up to six. We've had single visits from large white, comma, peacock and small tortoiseshell...


Speckled wood butterflyMy 2010 garden tally of butterfly species is now up to six. We've had single visits from large white, comma, peacock and small tortoiseshell. They obviously didn't find much of interest in my garden, so dipped down, bustled about one circuit of the lawn, then zoomed up and away. Several holly blues were skipping about over the ivy-covered fence at the weekend, all probably freshly emerged form chrysalides buried deep inside the tangled thatch.

But what really caught my eye was the pas de deux dance of the speckled woods. Their flurry of a whirling jig was taking place under the apple tree, and so engrossed were they in each other that I was able to approach to within 30 cm to watch them closely. It was as if the two butterflies were animated poys, the feather or flower balls swung on strings by Polynesian dancers. For nearly three minutes, they circled round and round each other, always keeping about 10-15 cm apart, as if they were connected by some invisible, but unbreakable, thread.

It's difficult to imagine what the precise purpose of this courtship dance might be, other than to gauge each other's shadowing ability. Perhaps this is an indirect measure of flight power and agility, useful qualities for an individual to assess in a potential mate before committing to the act of insemination.



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Gardeners' World Web User 28/04/2010 at 13:05

I have seen Yellow Brimstones, Orange Tips as well as the Holly Blue butterflies adding colour to my spring garden. Better than two years ago when we hardly saw any butterflies at all throughout both spring and summer.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/04/2010 at 15:32

Just seen a small white, so tally is now seven species.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/05/2010 at 08:55

Can anybody help me with some positive suggestions. Having planted a wide vegetable plants these are now being eaten by slugs and snails. Can anybody give me some positive solutions to stop this happening or alterntive ways to protect the plants.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/05/2010 at 11:12

ends of the leaves of my tree peonie are turning purple and one of my roses,is there a deficiency,thank you

Gardeners' World Web User 09/05/2010 at 19:32

I have a castor oil plant, probably 30 years old. Always been great but this year it seems to be lacking the quanity of leaves it normally has? It actually looks sicks and withered and a lot of the leaves on there seem to be dying. It looks very bare compared to normal, any ideas or tips please.

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