Those of you that read my blog regularly will know that Moore Hall is one of our favourite local places to go for a walk here in County Mayo. It never fails to inspire. During our trip last weekend it was nice to see all the early summer woodland plants.
But the highlight was seeing these wood whites. These butterflies are not common in Mayo and though I think I may have seen them before, this is the first time I got close enough to take a photo! Wood whites are what is called a cryptic species. Different wood white species can only be differentiated by either dissecting their genitalia or by checking their DNA. In Ireland, it was originally thought that we had the Real’s Wood White (Leptidea reali) and Wood White (Leptidea sinapis), but recent research shows that we don’t have Real’s Wood White, but the Cryptic Wood White (Leptidea juvernica) – a species completely absent from Britain but present in other parts of Europe. These two were engaged in a mating courtship – the reason I was able to get so close!