CREATURE FEATURE: Caucasus Marbled White Butterfly

The Caucasus Marbled White Butterfly (Melanargia galathea donsa) is a medium-sized insect in the Nymphalidae family of butterflies. It is also known as Our Half-Mourner Butterfly and the Marmoris Butterfly.

The Caucasus Marbled White is white with grey-black markings on its upperside. The underside of its hindwings (back wings) has grey eye-spots. The male and female are similar, except that some females have a yellowish underside. Its body is greyish and fluffy. It has long, black, clubbed antennae and large eyes.

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Syrian Rock-Grayling Butterfly

The Syrian Rock-Grayling Butterfly (Hipparchia syriaca) is an insect in the Nympalidae family of brush-footed butterflies. 

The Syrian Rock-Grayling is tan, brown, and white, and is well camouflaged on tree bark and rocks. Its upperside is tan with copper, and edged in white, with a few eyespots. Its underside is dark-brown with eyespots. Its body is brown. It is similar to other Graylings, but with a narrower band on its forewing.

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Meleager’s Blue Butterfly

The Meleager’s Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus daphnis versicolor) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The male and female Meleager’s Blue Butterfly look different. The wings of the male are iridescent bright sky-blue on the upperside and grey-bluish on the underside – with blue at the base. The wings of the female are blue bordered with dark-brown on the upperside and pale brown on the underside. The undersides of the wings are dotted with small black spots encircled by white. The hind (back) wings are scalloped, especially in the females. The body is buff-coloured and hairy. Its antennae are segmented and clubbed at the tip. 

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Comma Butterfly

The Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) is an insect in the Nymphalidae family of butterflies. It is also known as the Anglewing, due to its angular wings. 

The Comma Butterfly is orange on the upperside of its wings with dark-brown to black markings and light spots on the edge. It has angular notches on the edges of its forewings (front wings). The underside is marbled brown. The hind wings (back wings) have a white spot in the shape of the letter C. It can look like fallen leaves when resting, which confuses its predators. It is a strong flier.

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Spanish Gatekeeper Butterfly

The Spanish Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia bathseba) is an insect in the Nymphalidae family of brush-footed butterflies.

The Spanish Gatekeeper Butterfly is brown and cream with orange on its forewings (front wings). On its forewings, it has a black circle with one or two white spots inside, called an eyespot. The underside of its hind wings (back wings) is brown with four or five orange-rimmed eyespots. The female has four eyespots on the underside hind wing, whereas the male has five. Its body is fluffy, thick, and brown. It has club-shaped antennae.

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Common Blue Butterfly

The Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The Common Blue male has iridescent blue wings above with a thin, black-brown border and white fringe. The female is brown above with blue flecks, like dust, and orange spots. Both the male and the female have a row of red or orange spots along the edge of the hindwing (back wing). 

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Wall Butterfly

The Wall Butterfly (Lasiommata megera) is an insect in the Nymphalidae family of butterflies. It is also known as the Wall Brown Butterfly.

The Wall Butterfly is brown with reddish-yellow tints on its upperparts with black margins and eye-spots. The male looks more yellow-orange, whereas the female looks more red-yellow-brown. It is browner on its underparts. It has a brown hairy body. It has clubbed antennae. 

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Entomology Collection at Drexel University in Philadelphia

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia is America’s oldest natural history museum. Established in 1812, it has a collection of 19 million specimens, with 4 million insect specimens, representing about 100,000 species of insects. 

Jon Gelhaus is Curator of Entomology at the ANS, where he has worked since 1990. He looks after the Entomology Collection. Since 2012, he has also been Professor in the Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science department where he teaches courses in Conservation Biology, Entomology, and Plant and Animal Identification. Entomology is the study of insects.

Jon Gelhaus and Jennifer Sontchi, Senior Director of Exhibits and Public Spaces at The Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS), presented a small portion of the collection during a live streaming event on 12 August 2021.

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Great Mormon Butterfly

The Great Mormon Butterfly (Papilio Memnon agenor) is a large insect in the Papilionidae family of swallowtail butterflies. 

The Great Mormon Butterfly male has blue-black upperparts. The female has brownish upperparts, streaked with greyish white. She has red patches on her wings near her body.  Both the male and female do not have a tail, even though it is a swallowtail. Its body is black with medium-sized black antennae. 

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Spot Swordtail Butterfly

The Spot Swordtail Butterfly (Graphium nomius) is an insect in the Papilionidae family of swallowtail butterflies. 

The Spot Swordtail Butterfly has a line of distinct white spots along the margin of its wings. One of the hind (back) wings has black markings on the underside. On the upperside, it is black and yellowish-cream, with broad stripes on the edge of its front wings. It has both spots and stripes on its hind wings. It has distinct black swordtails. Its body is black with medium-sized black antennae. 

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Rare Chequered Skipper Butterfly reintroduced to England

The Chequered Skipper Butterfly (Carterocephalus palaemon) died out in England in 1976 due to changes in the woodlands. A rise in conifer plantations did not suit the butterfly, which led to their extinction. 

The Chequered Skipper Butterfly exists in parts of Europe, including Belgium. After more than 40 years of extinction, 24 butterflies were caught in Belgium and sent to England by Eurostar in 2018. They were released at a secret site in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire, as part of a wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation project called “Back from the Brink.”

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Speckled Wood Butterfly

The Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria) is a medium-sized insect in the Nymphalidae family of brush-footed butterflies. It is also known as the Enfield Eye Butterfly or the Wood Argus. 

The Speckled Wood Butterfly varies in colour from brown to orange. It has pale yellow, white, cream, or tawny-orange spots and darker eyespots. It has white-edged wings. The female has brighter markings than the male. It has a brown furry body with six brown legs. It has club-shaped antennae. 

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