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Small white and Large white larvae

Small white egg

Early instar

Early instars - some moulted and some not.

Male adult   

Female adult adult   


Final instar larva ousting earlier instar

Food : Hops if available, but mainly nettles

Larvae seen : May to June and late July to August

Note : There are a number of other common species of Nymphalids with larvae very similar to Meadow Brown and which also feed on grasses. These include Speckled Wood, Wall, Gatekeeper, Marbled White and Ringlet. Some of these larvae are more variable in colour from green to brown.

Food : Various grasses
Overwinters as a larva
Larvae seen : August to the following May

Food : Nettles

Larvae seen : Mainly May to July

Food : Nettles

Larva : Two broods - sometimes three
Larvae seen : May to June and July to August



Later instars


Second instars

First instars and egg cases

Food : Crucifers, particularly Jack-by-the-Hedge (Garlic Mustard) and Lady’ s Smock (Cuckoo flower)

Only one generation - adult April and May
Larva seen : Mainly May and June
Overwinters as a pupa

Food : Thistles - sometimes others including Nettles
Painted Lady is an immigrant - often numerous.
Larva very variable - seen : between May and October


First instar and egg

Female - no orange

Male adult   

Antocharis cardamines Orange Tip



There is no reliable way to tell whether a larva is a moth or a butterfly so a few very common butterfly species and their larvae have been included as they may be a source of confusion.

The larvae of Small White are green and normally hide during the day, eating at night.Here however the Small White larvae have emerged and are feeding in the open among the Large Whites.
Food : Cabbages and other Brassica species
Larva seen : Mainly June to September

Pieris rapae Small White



Food : Cabbages and other Brassica species
Larva seen : Mainly June to September
Large White is unusual among the Piridae as it is not camouflaged and feeds in the open in the day.

Pieris brassicae Large White



Food : Trees - Buckthorn and Alder Buckthorn
Larva seen : May to July

Gonepteryx rhamni Brimstone



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Identify moths


Larvae6. Butterflies                                     

Identify moths





Vanessa cardui Painted Lady

all White



Aglais urticae Small Tortoiseshell





Inachis io Peacock

e Small White



Polygonia c-album Comma




Maniola jurtina Meadow Brown