Thursday, 2 September 2010

Marsh Fritillary and Devil's-bit Scabious

Devil's-bit Scabious
At this time of year, the purplish heads of Devil's-bit Scabious are dotted all over old pastures and moorland. A careful examination around the bottoms of the plants may reveal the webs formed by the caterpillars of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly for which Islay represents one of the national strongholds. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the scabious, sheltering within the webs and gradually moving from plant to plant. In a few weeks time, they will make a winter web (deeper into the roots of the plants and neighbouring grasses) then emerge in the spring for another period of feeding before pupating and appearing as butterflies next May-June.

Marsh Fritillary caterpillar web

Marsh Fritillary adult

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