Melanargia galatheaWingspan: 53 - 58 mm
The black and white chequered wing pattern makes this butterfly very distinctive, quite different from all other Browns and with far more black than on any White butterfly. Characteristic black eyespots near the outer edges of the underwings show the family affinity to the Browns. Normally flies slowly low above the ground, though occasionally can fly high and fast when going longer distances.
The flight period is from mid-June to mid-August.
Larval Food plants
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) is the main food plant.
Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina)
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum)
Tall unimproved grassland on a variety of soils, mainly calcareous or neutral where a sward of tall grasses including Red Fescue is not grazed or cut frequently
Resident, common & widespread.
All over the county but especially the downs, Salisbury Plain and other open grassland areas.
Earliest county record 1st June 2007, Boscombe Down (Tony Horner)
Latest county Record
5th September 1985