Sally Worby nature blog – Butterflies
What’s flying in Drayton? A sample of our wildlife!
Butterflies are Lepidopterans, meaning ‘scaly wing’, referring to the tiny dust-like overlapping scales on their wings used in defence, flight, temperature regulation and waterproofing.
A very diverse group, Lepidopterans indicate the health of ecosystems as their caterpillars need specific plants and the adults are important pollinators.
Butterflies have specialised mouthparts forming a long tube through which they suck nectar, this is coiled under the head when not in use.
56 species live in Britain, 75% are endangered.
Common around Drayton are:
Small tortoiseshell – the striped caterpillars occur in groups, often on nettles. Adults will feed in gardens.
Small heath – declining due to loss of wild grasslands, less often in gardens
Large white – common in gardens and known to vegetable growers as the cabbage white.