View of a black cluster of butterfly larvae amongst dead oak leaves.

Marsh Fritillary Larvae. Photo: Nigel Spring

2019 was a bumper year for Marsh Fritillaries on our reserve at Alners Gorse with a record number of sightings of the adults and hugely increased numbers of larval webs counted in the Autumn.

The clusters of up to 200 larvae spend the winter months in the leaf litter and emerge on their wispy webs in February and early March to bask in the weak winter sunshine. There has been a notable shortage of sunshine recently but these determined clusters photographed by Nigel Spring on 23/02/2020 were doing their best to bask amongst the oak leaves and their larval food plant, Devil’s-bit Scabious.

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