Species Account for Melanargia galathea
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Taxonomic group: butterflies (Lepidoptera: butterflies) - County data
Marbled White on UK Butterflies website
The Marbled White Melanargia galathea is a local butterfly with a strongly south-western bias spreading as far north as the Yorkshire Wolds. It frequents areas of lightly cropped or ungrazed swards where the larva feed on various grasses. It is associated with tall grassland, but some management is required to ensure that this does not become too overgrown. The butterfly flourishes where grazing is light enough to allow some grass to grow long and form tussocks, yet heavy enough to ensure an open sward of both fine and coarse grasses, with plenty of flowers to provide nectar (Asher et al, 2001). In Essex the butterfly occurs in the south of the county, with Benfleet being one of the main localities where it has survived throughout the last century. In recent years it has been spreading, with colonies now at least as far west as Grays Chalk Quarry. References