Anthocharis cardamines, British butterflies, butterfly, Celastrina argiolus, Common blue butterfly, Holly blue butterfly, Large skipper butterfly, Ochlodes sylvanus, Orange-tip butterfly, Polyommatus icarus
Though summer is well underway here in Britain, I’m not seeing a huge number of butterflies. Here are some I have seen fluttering by in recent weeks.
There are several small blue butterflies in Britain and they can be difficult to tell apart but the Common blue (Polyommatus icarus) is, as its name implies, the most common. As is often the way with wildlife, the males are bright blue, whereas the females can be quite a drab brown.
The Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) looks quite similar to the Common Blue, especially in flight. The trick to identifying it is in the small black dots on the underwings. It is also the blue butterfly that emerges first from its winter hibernation so look for it near holly plants in early spring, then fluttering about ivy in the summertime.
If this is an Orange-tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines), where’s the orange colour? Turns out this is a female and only the males have bright orange wing tips. Still, she’s a very pretty little thing, even if she did seem a bit shy and hid her head behind a leaf.
Though it’s called the Large skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus), this butterfly is relatively small, its wingspan just a couple of millimetres more than the Small skipper, so you need to look for the mottled brown markings on its upper wings to tell the two apart.