This large and beautiful butterfly is one of Wyre Forest’s treasures. It can be seen flying in the forest throughout July where it can be spotted feeding on bramble blossom or sipping honeydew up in the tree tops. The courtship flight, with the male looping around the female is a delight to watch. After mating the female lays her eggs on tree trunks above violet plants in shady woodland. After about a fortnight the tiny caterpillar emerges, eats its eggshell and then spins a small pad of silk on which it hibernates until the following spring when it descends to the ground to search for violets on which it feeds. Mick Farmer has sent in this lovely photograph of 2 pairing on bracken.
Jon Cartwright photographed this adult Gorse Shieldbug on gorse at Fastings Coppice in May this year. It will have overwintered and bred this spring. Now, in July, we can find the late instal nymphs which should be mature by the end of the month. The sexually immature late summer adults have purplish coloration, but when they emerge from hibernation they are usually yellow-green.