The week before I went down to visit my friend Jill in East Sussex I thought I spotted a Marbled white butterfly at Lavernock Nature Reserve but it flew off before I could get close and I couldn’t find it again.
In Sussex, a Marbled white (Melanargia galathea) was the first of seven new species of butterfly I saw in just seven days, and I managed to see three of them at three different places. The first was at Arlington Reservoir, the second at Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Woods Mill Reserve, and the third was at West Park Local Nature Reserve near Uckfield.
According to Patrick Coulder’s book A Natural History of the Cuckmere Valley:
… 200 years ago, this butterfly was known as the half-mourner, because women then wore black and white dresses during the period of ‘half-mourning’ which followed full mourning for a dead relative. Its name then changed to marmoress, meaning ‘marble-like’, and finally about a hundred years ago it became known as the marbled white.