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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Butterflies at Friston Gallops, Friston Forest. 16.08.22

On Thursday I went on a trip with friends to Friston Gallops (above Butchershole Bottom) in the Friston Forest near Jevington; it is well know for its butterfly abundance and diversity. This is its citation on the Butterfly Conservation Sussex website

Grid ref: TV 555 994

Nearest town: Eastbourne

Large open Downland area, surrounded by woodland. Mainly managed by Forest Enterprise.

Access details Well signed car park off road between Friston and Jevington. Open downland is to the West

Key species Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Marbled White. Good populations of Common Blue, Small Copper, some Dark Green Fritillary. Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral in the adjoining Friston Forest.

Other common species The open Downland area has a huge population of common butterfly species, and wild flowers, including Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchid.

We saw the first rain in Sussex for many months; a welcome change to the dry weather which has damaged the landscape of Sussex. After a thunder storm, the sun shone briefly (from ca. 11.00-12.00), during which we saw many butterflies warming up, by spreading their wings. Butterflies are ectotherms, which means they rely on external sources for body heat. In the morning, and throughout cooler days, they must spend time in the sun with their wings spread, raising their body temperature to roughly 85 degrees before they can fly. A few minutes of basking in the sunshine raises their temperature as much as 20 degrees above the surrounding air. 5 Basic Butterfly Behaviors to Know - Birds and Blooms

The photographs are in chronological order.

All sections of text in italics are quotes, sources cited.

Male Chalkhill Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Very faded female Common Blue on Hawkbit

Common Blue

Female Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Female Chalkhill Blue on Wild Carrot

Male Chalkhill Blue

Common or Chalkhill Blue female?

Female Chalkhill Blue

Female Common Blue

Meadow Brown on Knapweed

Common Blue

Green-Veined White on Bramble

Female Common Blue

Common Blue

Male Meadow Brown

Small Copper

Female Common Blue on Wild Carrot (?)

Brown Argus (?) on Hawkbit (?)

Common Blue of Knapweed

Wall Brown

Common Blue

Four-spotted Orb Weaver ?

Small Heath on thistle (?) head

Common Blue on Knapweed

Hepiopelmus variegatorius (I had to ask in the Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) Facebook Group to get the exact ID)! In Britain this wasp is a parasitoid of Buff and White Ermine moths. The female injects her long ovipositor inside the host caterpillar and deposits her eggs into the caterpillar’s body. Her young hatch and devour their host, pupate, and emerge to begin the cycle again.

Common Blue on Great Willow Herb



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