JaseJ's picture

Marbled White

Observed: 8th July 2009 By: JaseJJaseJ’s reputation in InvertebratesJaseJ’s reputation in InvertebratesJaseJ’s reputation in Invertebrates
Marbled White
Marbled White

Still not seeing many Marbled Whites, although that may have something to do with the Emperor dragonflies, which seem to hunt them in preference to the hundreds of other butterflies on the meadow.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) interacts


Rose's picture

I love this butterfly

I didn't know that they hunted them! I saw quite a lot last year, this year I haven't seen any. but then I was working as a field ecologist surveying butterflies last year, so I guess it depends on what you are doing and where you are looking.


JaseJ's picture

It had a lucky escape

The first Marbled White I saw this year was taken in mid air by a male Emperor dragonfly. The one in this picture escaped the jaws of a female Emperor by making a sharp turn into a hedge. I'm not sure if it was luck, good judgement or just the wind!

The Marbled Whites do seem to be targeted in preference to the other species on the meadow though. Perhaps it's because they fly further above the grasses (the Meadow Browns and Ringlets stay low) or perhaps it's because they stand out from their surroundings more. Or maybe they just taste good.

The Emperor dragonflies can be quite vicious - I watched one kill a Broad-bodied Chaser back in May, and they are pretty big insects in their own right.

Martin Harvey's picture


Marbled Whites are thought to be distasteful to bird predators, hence their bright markings, so interesting that Emperor Dragonflies go for them. Their larvae are grass-feeders, but Miriam Rothschild was able to show that they gain chemical defences from consuming the fungi that grow on grasses.

Entomologist and biological recorder