Marbled white

Marbled White

Marbled White ©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Marbled White

Marbled White ©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Marbled White

Marbled White ©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Marbled white

Scientific name: Melanargia galathea
The striking black-and-white checks of the marbled white are unmistakeable. Watch out for it alighting on purple flowers, such as field scabious, on chalk and limestone grasslands and along woodland rides.

Species information


Wingspan: 5.3-5.8cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to August


The marbled white is a distinctive, medium-sized, white butterfly, with black-chequered markings. Adults are on the wing in the summer, from June to August. Strong colonies can be found on warm, species-rich chalk and limestone grasslands, but woodland rides, railways cuttings and road verges are also frequented. The adults can often be seen feeding on purple flowers, such as field scabious, common knapweed and wild marjoram. The caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses, but red fescue is especially important.

How to identify

The Marbled white sports a black-and-white checked pattern that is unmistakeable.


Found across southern England and south Wales, and expanding northwards.

Did you know?

The marbled white is expanding its range north and eastwards, possibly as a result of warming due to climate change.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the marbled white. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways grasslands are kept in good condition - supporting invertebrates and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.


Marbled white nectaring ©Tom Hibbert