A Butterfly Diary: June


Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi, Baum-Weißling)

There have been so many butterflies this month – I was quite surprised! The same ones that were around all spring can still be seen – Common Brimstone, Cabbage White, etc. The one above, however, is one I have never seen before, and despite its wings looking slightly damaged I thought it was simply beautiful. Just recently my dear blogging friend Uta at Uta’s Flow posted a fascinating video of this butterfly emerging from its chrysalis – take a look here, and there are more photos here.


There have been so many Tortoiseshells this summer – all on the Centranthus and on some Lobelia I have in pots – which I was rather pleased about as I didn’t realize it attracted them. This is the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae, Kleiner Fuchs)


They lay their eggs on nettles (hence the name “… urticae), and the adult butterflies feed on nectar from hundreds of garden plants, so leave a few nettles standing somewhere if you can. Those that overwinter fly from March to April here, and there are then probably another two generations in a year.

Occasionally they pause on the lavender, which highlights the blue fringe on the wings.



Another very frequent visitor this year is the Skipper – both small and large, although I’m not much good at telling the difference! I think this one is the Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus, Rostfarbiger Dickkopffalter), and I have often seen it on the Lavender and Vetch, as well as the Centranthus. (This photo is on a singed fern leaf though!)…


And this one on a white Sweet William might be the Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris, Braunkolbiger Braun-Dickkopffalter). Just look at that proboscis!


Both Skippers are quite small, only a 2-3 cm wingspan, and the larvae feed on many types of grasses. There are several other similar ones, so if any expert out there spots a mistake, please let me know!


 One of the loveliest and one of the largest butterflies we often see is the Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia, Kaisermantel)


I read that the caterpillars like violet leaves, of which we have plenty so that is good to know! This one was about 6cm across, and posed beautifully for me on the Acer, and then on the Lavender too. There’s some nice information about the caterpillars on the Wikipedia page here


(He was watching me carefully!)


The next one is a rarer visitor to my garden, although not an uncommon butterfly in Germany: the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea, Schachbrettfalter). The German name “Schachbrett” means chess board, describing the pattern quite aptly.


This one was attracted to the crown vetch (Securigera varia). It is more common here in the south of Germany than in the north or west, and prefers areas with chalky ground. Only one generation flies in a year, so the caterpillars overwinter and the butterflies are seen from June to August.


The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Admiral) is one of the butterflies I remember seeing in abundance as a child on my Mum’s Buddleia. This smallish one (about 4-5 cm) looks as if he came through a storm.



Finally, for today, a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus, Hauhechel Bläuling) which I also showed in last month’s Butterfly Diary.



I have also seen Hawk-moths galore over the last two weeks, and will include them in a post soon!


Update: 16th August 2014

I found this photo that I had forgotten to include of a Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii, Sumpfhornklee-Widderchen) and it will also be posted on my August 2014 Butterfly Diary.


It looks stunning on the lavender!


As I read up on all the butterflies for my butterfly diary each month I am becoming much more aware of which flowers and grasses in and around my garden are important for the wildlife.


Take a look in your garden.

Do you see any of these butterflies I have shown today? What has been visiting your plants this month?


Fun facts about butterflies #1

Fun facts about butterflies #2

Fun facts about butterflies #3