Green -veined White Butterfly (Pieris napi) - Wye Valley, UK.
Canon 300mm F2.8 IS plus 2 x Extender and Canon Extension Tube EF 25 II
Fill Flash -2 2/3, Tripod
AV Mode, Evaluative Metering dialed to -1
Text adapted from - http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=napi
This is a common butterfly of damp grassland and woodland rides and is often mistaken for its cousin, the Small White. It can be found from spring through to autumn in parks and gardens, as well as less-urban areas such as meadows and woodland rides. The first brood has lighter upperside markings than later broods, but darker underside markings. The so-called green veins on the underside of the adults are, in fact, an illusion created by a subtle combination of yellow and black scales.
This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere although it is absent from the Shetlands and areas of the Scottish Highlands.
First-brood adults typically emerge in late April, peaking around the middle of May and gradually tailing off through June. The second brood, which is always stronger than the first brood, starts to emerge in early July. However, in good years, the second brood may emerge in late June and give rise to a third brood.
The butterfly can be found in a variety of locations, including parks, gardens, meadows, woodland rides, hedgerows and, in fact, anywhere foodplants and nectar sources exist. This species favours damp areas but can also be found in small sheltered pockets, such as patches of scrub, in dry and open habitat such as chalk grassland.
The primary larval foodplants are Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Large Bitter-cress (Cardamine amara), Water-cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum), Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum). Crucifers (various) (Cruciferae family (various)) and Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) are also used.
Adults feed primarily on Betony (Stachys officinalis), Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Cuckooflower (Cardamines pratensis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Red Campion (Silene dioica), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Vetches (Vicia spp.).
As in most species, the males emerge a few days earlier than the females, and spend much of their time searching for a mate as they fly along woodland rides and hedgerows. As well as taking nectar, males may also be seen congregating on mud or other surfaces that are rich in nutrients, giving rise to the phenomenon known as “mud puddling”.
As in many whites, an already-mated female will indicate an unwillingness to mate by holding her wings flat and her abdomen upright, making it impossible for a male to mate with her. However, this doesn’t always work, and females have been known to mate more than once, although this is completely unnecessary for the fertilisation of the eggs.