Some butterflies, such as the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Brimstone and Red Admiral, hibernate as adults over the winter. Others, such as the Small White, don’t. Pity no-one told this one.

Small White, Highfield Drive, 28 Nov 2012

Well that was smart

Two Wednesdays ago, my mum found this fellow fluttering about in our back entrance hall.  He was pristine, with the scale fringe on his wings unspoilt, so he had obviously just emerged from his chrysalis and finished drying his wings. In the wild, Small White butterflies (Pieris rapae) hibernate in the chrysalis stage, suspended from a hard vertical surface.

Evidently, a caterpillar from my garden must have found its way indoors and pupated, but when the expected winter didn’t materialise, gone ahead with metamorphosis and emerged when it did, in late November.

Or, it escaped from a broccoli from Tesco.

Either way, it’s doing quite well in our back window, with sugary fluid to drink and an occasional period under an incandescent lamp to warm it up. It’s now 11 days old.

Small White, Highfield Drive, 28 Nov 2012

Here’s looking at you

Small White, Highfield Drive, 01 Dec 2012

Opening his wings to bask under the lamp. The fact that he has one black spot on each forewing shows he’s a he – the female has two.

Small White, Highfield Drive, 08 Dec 2012

Still going strong

Small White, Highfield Drive, 08 Dec 2012

His “butterfly house” – a windowsill covered with a net curtain, oriented to catch the afternoon sun. You can see him basking under the lamp.

You can find out more about this butterfly at the UK Butterflies site:

http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?vernacular_name=Small%20White
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