Small heath butterflies

At least, I think this is a small heath. It is a very common butterfly across Eurasia and North Africa, found in a range of habitats, not just heathland.

It is the smallest of the butterflies known as ‘browns’. It settles with its wings closed, possibly so that the ‘eye’ is visible to predators. It

One of my favourite things about butterflies is the strange names you get. Butter-fly might come from the yellowy colour of species that used to be common, it might be from an old wive’s tale that insects stole butter, or – wonderfully – it might be from the yellow colour of butterfly eggs and poo. In Malaysian, the word is rama-rama, which is great to say. Italians call butterflies farfalle (after which the pasta is named) but Russians say babochkas, which is also what they call their bowties. The Greek was psyche – like the root of psychology, psychoanalysis, like butterflies are inextricably linked to our souls.

The High Brown Fritillary is one of our rarest (picture below, from http://goo.gl/NIG3Of) butterflies. It is a beautiful type of butterfly, with a good range of colour when you can see it up close. It’s so sad to me that so many butterflies are disappearing. Even though there doesn’t seem to be one solid theory about what would happen if our butterflies disappeared (perhaps less well-researched than the bee decline), a lack of biodiversity is never a good thing.

This website has a great list of things you can plant to keep butterflies happy, with the added bonus of keeping bees fed too): http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/gardening/nectarbutterfly.html

 

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