April 17th 2014

The Orange Tip Butterfly is the first butterfly to emerge that didn’t overwinter as an adult. They overwinter in chrysalis form and the adults are now flying round hedges and gardens all over lowland England. Only the males have orange tips to the wings. The females, having small, black wing-tips, can easily be mistaken for one of the White butterflies. (See this blog on April 1st for a drawing of the whole life-cycle of male and female Orange Tips).Their camouflage, with folded wings, is intricate. Orange Tips lay their eggs on various food-plant which are easy to grow in gardens, including Honesty, Sweet Rocket and especially Ladies Smock (see

Male Orange Tip Butterfly

Male Orange Tip Butterfly

the new header photo above) and Jack By The Hedge (Garlic Mustard). Because the caterpillars are cannibalistic they tend to lay only 1 egg per flower-head! Butterflies in general had the best year for some time, last year, due to the long, hot summer. Small Tortoiseshells, for example, increased by over 200%. The winter floods may have countered this, so Butterfly Conservation want us to record what we see this  year. P.S. Jonathan Agnew, better known as ‘Aggers’ to cricket-lovers, blamed a moth on the death of English cricket last season. A Death’s Head Hawk Moth, supposed to be a bad omen, entered the commentary box in Chittagong, Bangladesh, during the English team’s loss in a crucial T20 match! Conditions: Dry, high cloud and warm. Temperature: Max 13- Min 4c

Jack By The Hedge, or Garlic Mustard, edible as a garlic substitute and a favourite food plant for Orange Tip Butterflies.

Jack By The Hedge, or Garlic Mustard, edible as a garlic substitute and a favourite food plant for Orange Tip Butterflies.

The camouflaged under-wing of an Orange Tip Butterfly

The camouflaged under-wing of an Orange Tip Butterfly

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