Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

How to Find Your Way with Butterflies

The Brimstone butterfly

Butterflies can help us find our way, all we have to do is to take an interest in their habitats – and the fussier the better.

The Brimstone is a beautiful butterfly and hard to miss, with its delicate green, yellow and off-white shades, but it is not great for navigating. It is too tolerant – it will put up with too many habitats, from grassland to woodland.

There are fortunately lots of butterflies that are more choosy. Take a look at the picture below.

Is it a leaf? Is it bark?

No, it’s the comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album).

Comma butterfly
The Comma butterfly

The comma is one of my favourites. Because it is beautiful, but also because it helps us make a map. It is a sign we are near the edge of woodland.

Plug alert: this sign appears in my book, Wild Signs and Star Paths, together with a neat way of remembering it.

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