a Comma Butterfly

A Comma Butterfly



“How does one tell a Butterfly from a moth? This is often a question asked about this intriguing family of beautiful insects. Generally, all butterflies are seen during the day, whilst most moths are active at night. Butterflies tend to have a small ‘club’ at the end of their antennae whilst moths have a more feathery end. After all that, they are all members of the same family (the Lepidoptera) and many moths are even more delightfully patterned than our plainer butterflies.

The life cycle of Moths and Butterflies is a complete metamorphosis – egg, larva, chrysalis, adult. For some this process takes a year, for others just a few weeks. The annual cycle for each species is determined by its over-wintering strategy. Some endure the season at the egg stage, others stay underground as larva, many eke out the colder months as a pupa, some survive winter as fully-grown insects.

Many caterpillars have specific and sole food-plants, so our flora is important in determining what types we can find in Cookham. Adult Butterflies tend to have a wider choice of nectar-bearing plants, perhaps being less fussy than their fore-bearing caterpillars, but one or two, such as the Hairstreaks and the Purple Emperor, prefer to sup on aphid’s honeydew.

An excellent identification guide to these fascinating creatures is ‘Britain’s Butterflies” (£15) by David Tomlinson and Rob Still. Ring 01628-526091 for details.  

“Butterflies Recorded in Cookham" - click here



Large Skipper “The Large Skipper is a common butterfly of summer, often associated with Bramble and Clover”.

Marbled White – “Seen mainly in July and August, the Marbled White is actually classified as a brown butterfly with white markings!”

Meadow Brown – “The meadow Brown can sometimes be seen in great profusion on grasses and meadow flowers”.