Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Scientific Name: Melanargia galathea. The genus name means 'black-and-white'.

English Name: Marbled White.

French Name: Le Demi-deuil (='the half mourning').

5 Key Characters:
  • a medium large black and white butterfly (forewings 23 - 30 mm long).
  • underside of the hindwing is white with gray spots in the male and yellowish with pale brown spots in the female.
  • very gregarious and abundant.
  • a chalk grassland specialist.
  • adults are attracted to purple flowers and mainly nectar at thistles and knapweeds Centaurea spp.
Lookalikes: None.

Habitat: Wet or dry unimproved grassland.

Flight Period: May-June-July-August-September.

Caterpillar: Brown or green, August to June.

Host Plant: Grasses (Timothy Phleum pratense, Sheep Fescue Festuca ovina, Tor Grass Brachypodium pinnatum, a false brome B. rupestre).

Status: One of the top ten most common species in France, widely distributed and very abundant. This is a conspicuous and easy to see butterfly in the Touraine Loire Valley and Brenne.

Further Reading and References:

Les Papillons de jour de France, Belgique et Luxembourg et leurs chenilles by Tristan Lafranchis.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. Row 1 left on brambles at the side of the track along the Etang de la mer rouge in the Brenne, June; centre in a crop margin, La Liege.

Male, nectaring on scabious.
Male, nectaring on scabious.

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