Tag Archive: Real’s Wood White

UPDATE 20JUL11: With the start of the Big Butterfly Count on 16 July, the discovery of the Cryptic Wood White (which looks identical to the ‘English’ and Réal’s Wood White) has been officially announced. The major news organisations have published articles on it – Patrick Barkham’s is especially good:


My original article begins here:

A bit of background: we have two species of Wood White butterfly in Ireland: the wimpy Wood White in the Burren, and Réal’s Wood White everywhere else.

Or so we thought.

Research published this year shows that the Réal’s Wood White butterfly Leptidea reali (found in Europe and Ireland) is actually two cryptic species, reali and juvernica.



Now, the Dublin Naturalists’ Field Club has posted a web page explaining the history of the Wood Whites in Ireland and declaring that:

“the species that occurs outside the ‘Burren’ in Ireland is now to be known as Leptidea juvernica,  the Cryptic Wood White or Bánóg duaithne choille.”


Nothing has changed in real terms (excuse the pun!) – it’s not an exotic immigrant and the butterflies don’t even know they’ve got a new name – but it’s exciting nonetheless!

(Personally, I’d have preferred the “Irish Wood White” but as it’s found across Europe to Russia I bow to the professionals!)

So, in summary, Réal’s Wood White is no longer considered an Irish butterfly, and the Cryptic Wood White is.


With my first day of GCSE exams under my belt, I’ll take the opportunity to share a few more photos.  I was delighted to find, that with the cotoneaster plants in bloom again in my garden, the moths were beginning to pay visits. This is the first one – an Angle Shades moth – one of which I reared from a caterpillar last year (I fed it rose leaves but it probably eats lots of other stuff).

6.5.11 Angle Shades moth

I’ve also been out running again in Glencairn Park, and found this male Orange Tip while I was counting this species’ eggs (over 100!) With it being cold, he wasn’t for going far, and I got him on my finger – magic!

7.5.11 Orange Tip male

And finally, in sunshine the next day, I found a Réal’s Wood White, which I didn’t realise were so close to home!

8.5.11 Réal's Wood White

Oh, and I saw my first Small Whites of the year – no photos though!



Well, I arrived back from Virginia nearly a week ago. On my trip I saw new birds (I LOVE the grackles!!!), new butterflies (12 species, woop woop) and new people (best thing of all!!)

I was at the caravan at the weekend – saw my first-of-year Small Coppers and Réal’s Wood Whites in Murlough on Sunday, then on Monday my first-of-year Large Whites and Holly Blues in Donard Forest – and the highlight: one Green Hairstreak, which I’ve never seen before. That’s my 22nd NI species!

And I’ve got GCSEs over the next few months so I’ll sign off now unless something else fantastic happens. I’ll upload more luvverly butterfly photos this summer.