The Marbled White is a fairly localised resident species in Yorkshire, and it is currently expanding its range. Numbers have increased nationally since the 1970’s.
Over 70 sites have been recorded in the past on the Wolds and typical habitats are found towards the heads of steep valleys, especially in the north Wolds; e.g. around Warter Wold, Millington and Bishop Wilton Wold. It also colonises disused railway tracks, e.g. the Hudson Way Leisure Trail and the disused railway at Wharram Percy, plus disused quarries like Kiplingcotes and Wharram, and even on the north-facing escarpment at Flixton Quarry, towards Filey. The species can also be seen on some roadside verges in the Wolds.
Aside from the Wolds, Marbled Whites can be found further north in Yorkshire, including Goathland and the Harrogate area, plus there is a colony at Shipley Station. Small colonies roughly follow the Magnesian Limestone ridge which runs up Yorkshire near the A1 and in fact the A1 with its grassy verges may help the butterfly spread. However it does not spread quickly because it prefers to stay in the same areas.
The species is dependent on the maintenance of grasslands, and colonies are damaged by tree planting or grassland scrubbing over. The growth of rabbit populations can also be a threat. Overall the species is helped by scrub and rabbit control plus very light grazing to maintain a suitable mix of fine and coarse grasses up to about half a metre tall.
The species’ international range is from north Spain up to northern areas of Britain, plus eastward through central and southern Europe into temperate Asia. It is also found in north west Africa, but not Scandinavia.