Butterflies, bumblebees, solitary bees, moths and other not-so-creepy crawlies are a vital part of pretty much every ecosystem on earth. The Manhood Peninsula is no exception.
We are lucky in West Sussex to have many of the UK’s butterfly species resident. On the Manhood Peninsula, meadow-loving butterflies such as the gatekeeper, meadow brown and marbled white can be seen feeding on nectar-rich wildflowers in field margins, along ditches and on pond banks. You may also spot blue butterflies, from the common blue that flies quite low to the ground among grasses, to the holly blue that flies high along hedgerows, seeking ivy leaves where it lays its eggs.
We also have frequent sightings of the four widespread white butterflies in gardens and wildflower meadows. The ‘big’ butterflies are often the most distinguished, such as the red admiral, peacock, comma, small tortoiseshell and painted lady. Woodland butterflies are not as common here but more so in the extensive woodland on the Downs, however, speckled wood butterflies and ringlets can be spotted flitting about in the shade of trees on the Peninsula with pale green brimstone butterflies frequently seen in early spring
There are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, but only eight of them are common and widespread making them slightly easier to identify. Bumblebees can be split into three groups based on tail colour – the white tails, red tails and ginger tails! Tail colour is the best place to start with identification as it can help you narrow down which species you are looking at. Visit this page to identify a bumblebee.
Bumblebees are furry, charismatic insects that are essential pollinators of our food crops and wildflowers. Growing a variety of wildflowers that flower at different times of the year (including over winter) will help them to find food during all stages of their lifecycle.
Buff-tailed bumblebee (David Wyatt)