The Cuckoo Flower, The Orange-tip Butterfly, And The Garden Cross Spider

The Organge-tip Butterfly uses a variety of plants for laval food, including Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Turnip (Brassica rapa), Charlock (Sinapis avensis), Hairy Rock-cress (Arabis hirsuta) and Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris).

The Orange-tip also lays its eggs on Honesty (Lunaria annua) and Dame’s-violet (Hesperis matronalis) in gardens, although the larval survival on these plants is poor.

The Garden Cross Spider (Araneus diadematus) in these images prey on insects that land on the flower, including Orange-tip Butterflies and their eggs. The spider hides in the remains of a nearby dried plant stem connected to the Cuckoo flower by strands of silk. When an insect lands on the flower, the spider senses it and attacks along the thread; whatever it manages to catch, it wraps in silk and stores in its larder.  

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Cuckooflower and a Garden Cross Spider.


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The Garden Cross Spider returning to its skeletal dried plant hide .

Orange-tip Butterfly.

16 Comments on “The Cuckoo Flower, The Orange-tip Butterfly, And The Garden Cross Spider

  1. Superb pictures, particularly the last one. I have a mental image of you putting glue on leaves to get your subjects to stand still but I know it isn’t true.

    • Thanks Tom. I would like you to forget that vision; not only would it be too much trouble, it would involve to much waiting around. I press my 60mm macro lens right against their noses before they realise what’s happening. I don’t have any finesse.

  2. Wonderful photos! I have been chasing an orange tip around the garden for the past week; it just will not pose for me 🙁

  3. Pingback: Favourite Spring Beauty – Suzy Blue

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