6th June 2014

There was a heavy dew this morning and I watched a Green-veined White butterfly drinking dew with it’s long, unfurled proboscis. Butterflies keep their long probosces, which are like flexible straws, furled under their heads most of the time. They then pump fluid through the proboscis to straighten it when they want to drink nectar or water. One photo shows it partly unfurled and one straighter with the tip in the dew. The Green-veined White is the most common and widespread butterfly in Britain, and the good news is it doesn’t damage vegetable crops. The caterpillar, as with Orange Tip, feeds on cresses, Garlic Mustard and Ladies Smock. The adults feed on Bugle (Ajuga), Stitchwort, Campion and Vetches, most of which we have growing in the garden. The so-called green veins vary in colour and are actually composed of a combination of yellowish and black scales. The first brood tend to have darker veining than the the second brood. A female that has already mated will indicate their unwillingness to mate again, as with the one in the photo, by holding their wings flat and their abdomen upright. Conditions: A hot, dry, sunny day.

Green-veined White Butterfly with proboscis unfurling, like an uncoiling spring.

Green-veined White Butterfly with proboscis unfurling, like an uncoiling spring.

Green-veined White drinking dew this morning.

Green-veined White drinking dew this morning.

Temperature: Max 20- Min 13 C.

Male Green-veined White attempting to ate with a female which has already mated.

Male Green-veined White attempting to mate with a female which has already mated.

The female indicates her unwillingness to mate by raising her abdomen.

The female indicates her unwillingness to mate by raising her abdomen.

 

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