Málaga, April 2023
After I left school I spent a
Gibraltar. This species was a defining butterfly from that period of my
life and so has special significance for me. Since then I have seen it
early in the year on occasional trips to Málaga and elsewhere in
southern Spain and it still manages to hold its magic. It is only found
in Spain and Portugal, and only really in the first half of the year,
but is generally common where it flies. Like many of its cogeners,
though, it is flighty and difficult to catch settled for a photo!
Given a good view, the
white is impossible to confuse with any other mainland European
butterfly. The tiger stripes on the underside, perfectly matching the
pattern of the milk thistle on which it often settles, are absolutely
distinctive. They show through to the upperside too, though very
faintly - a useful thing to look for when close approach to a settled
butterfly is impossible. The wings also always look more pointy to me
than those of western dappled white, with which it often flies, and it
is typically a slightly smaller insect.
What used to be considered the Canary Island subspecies of this
butterfly, E. belemia
is now considered a distinct species, E.
hesperidum. It is very similar but there is no
overlap. In North Africa another green-striped white flies, E. falloui,
the scarce green-striped white. This has a smaller discoidal spot,
especially in the male, clearly separated from the costa and lacking
the white centre of green-striped white.
Green-striped whites are bivoltine, flying from February to early June.
The larvae feed on Biscutella
laevigata and other Brassicaceae. It hibernates as a pupa.