© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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The same but different...


Speckled Woods are busy fighting in patches sunshine all over the park. They cling to areas with trees and undergrowth, dancing in little clearings or on the edges of grass The ones you see whirling round and round each other are males, battling it out for territory to increase their chances of getting a female.

The male Orange Tips are still busily looking for females too. The other day someone asked me how to tell the difference between a female Orange Tip and the Small White butterflies. As I mentioned in an earlier blog (see Brilliant Master of Disguise), the best way is to look at the underwings. The female Orange Tip has green mottles on the underside of her wings, but a Small White does not.

But what if you can only see the butterfly with its wings open?

Female orange tips do look pretty much identical to small whites but they have more rounded wing tips, their black wing tips spread further down the wing, while Small White's markings spread further across the top, and female Orange Tips also have a slightly crenalated edge to their wings… All of this can be difficult to see unless a Small White happens to be beside it for comparison, though!

I’ve included both on this blog so that you can see. Above is a female Orange Tip, and below are is a female Small White (male Small Whites have two spots on their wings, female have one spot). I hope this helps, but do contact me if you have any more questions!

#speckledwood #orangetipbutterfly #smallwhitebutterfly

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