Peacock butterfly flying along flowers, video


This video from the Netherlands shows a peacock butterfly flying along Japanese cherry flowers.

Ralph Hoekstra made this video.

Rare butterfly for first time on Texel island


This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

A very rare butterfly, a scarce tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas), was present in the dunes of Klein Valkenisse on March 27, 2015.

You can hear in the background several birds from the area, including chiffchaff, robin, dunnock, blue tit, long-tailed tit, goshawk and great spotted woodpecker.

Warden Erik van der Spek reports that last Saturday, for the first time ever a scarce tortoiseshell butterfly was seen on Texel island: in De Geul nature reserve. Last year, this species invaded the Netherlands for the first time, but had not been seen on Texel then.

Butterfly history of Somerset, England


This video from the Czech republic says about itself:

Large CopperLycaena dispar (Haworth, 1803) – male

27 May 2009

Large Copper – Lycaena dispar (Haworth, 1803) is quite common in SE Moravia where I live and expands from there to the North and also to the West.

From dispar journal in Britain:

A History of the British Large Copper Lycaena dispar dispar and the Scarce Copper Lycaena virgaureae in Somerset

Peter Andrews

Abstract: It has been over twenty years since the late Roger Sutton published information regarding the specimens of the British Large Copper Lycaena dispar dispar and the Scarce Copper Lycaena virgaureae in the Taunton Museum collections. This paper reevaluates these historic specimens, which are now held at the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton. Further information is also provided on the Somerset collectors that are thought to have encountered both of those Lycaena species on the Somerset Levels. The paper also mentions the further discovery of early specimens of Large and Scarce Coppers that may have originated in Somerset.

Introduction

In the collections of the Taunton Heritage Centre are the remains of five specimens of the British Large Copper Lycaena dispar dispar that are said to have been caught in the marshes at Langport in the Somerset Levels during the early part of the 19th century. The collections also contain a specimen of the Scarce Copper Lycaena virgaureae said to be taken at Langport.

The status of the Large Copper and Scarce Copper in Britain

The Large Copper was once found in a number of colonies in the fens of Eastern England but became extinct in the middle of the 19th century when the fens were drained (Salmon, 2000).

The Scarce Copper was considered a British species by the early Aurelians. William Lewin was one of the few early Aurelians to correctly identify the Scarce Copper as L. virgaureae. He wrote “In the month of August I once met with two of these butterflies, settled on a bank in the marshes, the sun at that time being very hot on them; they were exceedingly shy and would not suffer me to approach them” (Lewin, 1795). On the continent this species is not normally found in a fenland habitat but it is possible that this extinct butterfly flew in the drier areas in such localities in Britain. There are also records of the Scarce Copper from the East Anglian Fens (Salmon, 2000). In the Dalean collection at Oxford there is a male specimen of L. virgaureae that is labelled with a location of the Isle of Ely. Unfortunately, the activities of unscrupulous 19th century dealers who imported numbers of L. virgaureae from the European continent and sold them as British specimens have caused much confusion (Allan, 1966).

British butterfly news


This 2013 video from Britain is called Battle to save rare high brown fritillary butterfly.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

UK’s most endangered butterfly back from the brink

The critically endangered high brown fritillary had its best summer in a decade in 2014, with numbers rising 180% in a year thanks to conservation efforts

Patrick Barkham

Thursday 2 April 2015 06.01 BST

The most endangered butterfly in Britain enjoyed its best summer for a decade last year after highly focused conservation efforts on its 30 remaining sites.

Numbers of the critically endangered high brown fritillary increased by 180% last year compared with 2013 according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), with warm spring weather also helping its caterpillars survive.

Its recovery, which builds on an increase in numbers in 2013, raises hopes that this large, dynamic butterfly is no longer heading towards extinction.

As recently as 50 years ago, the high brown fritillary was a common sight in large woods across England and Wales. In recent decades, lepidopterists have puzzled over its dramatic disappearance, fearing it would become the first butterfly species to fall extinct in Britain since the large blue was lost in 1979.

But according to Tom Brereton of Butterfly Conservation, recent “fine-tuning” of conservation management in the high brown fritillary’s last remaining strongholds – Morecambe Bay in Lancashire and Exmoor and Dartmoor in the south-west – has revived its fortunes.

“There’s quite a lot of fine-tuned, targeted management on many of these sites,” said Brereton. “The sites being managed specifically for the high brown fritillary are where this butterfly did well last year.”

The high brown fritillary’s caterpillars feed on wild violets found on moorland, wood edges and rough pasture. The loss of traditional grazing in many areas has seen these flowers shaded out by scrub – clearing this, and controlling bracken growth, is required for both the violets and the butterfly. Then there must be precisely-timed livestock grazing in early summer to help the female butterflies locate the violet leaves on which to lay their eggs.

Even with two good years, however, the high brown fritillary has still declined by 62% since 1978. Brereton said climate change as well as habitat loss was contributing to its decline. Like many butterflies, the high brown fritillary spends the colder months as a hibernating caterpillar, and these die if winters are warm and wet.

“It is not doomed, but the long-term prognosis is that the weather is making it harder to manage for this butterfly,” said Brereton. “We will need to work harder to get the management right in the future.”

The second-most endangered butterfly in Britain, the Duke of Burgundy, also rallied in 2014, according to the butterfly monitoring scheme, which is run by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The Duke of Burgundy recorded a 26% increase in numbers compared to the previous year, similarly benefitting from areas of farmland under EU environmental stewardship schemes, as well as co-ordinated conservation management by charities including Butterfly Conservation, the National Trust and the Wildlife Trusts.

Last summer was better than average for butterflies with more than half the 56 British species studied recording a rise in numbers compared to 2013, which was an improvement on 2012, the worst summer on record for butterflies.

Among the more common species, butterflies whose caterpillars feed on grass did particularly well last year after warm, sunny weather with some rain promoted luxuriant grass growth early last summer.

The marbled white and ringlet, which both feed on grass, experienced their best years since the UKBMS began in 1976, and the grass-feeding large skipper was also up by 86% on 2013. The brimstone also recorded its best year since records began.

But cold conditions in August caused late summer species to suffer, with the large and small whites down by more than 65% on 2013, the chalk hill blue down 55% and the Adonis blue down 43%.

New butterfly species discovered, on 1 April :)


This video is called Metamorphosis: The Beauty & Design of Butterflies.

From the Twitter account of Butterfly Conservation in Britain today:

New butterfly ‘Aprilis follis’ has been discovered. It emits a strange strawberry scent when disturbed.

In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, 1 April tradition is often known as “April fish” (poissons d’avril in French or pesce d’aprile in Italian; or Aprilvis in Dutch). This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed.

Now not just April fish, but also an April butterfly.

DON’T FORGET IT IS APRIL FOOL’S DAY You’ve been warned — be on the lookout! [HuffPost]

Butterflies re-emerging in Dutch spring


This video is called Astonishing European Butterflies and Moths.

Translated from the Dutch butterfly foundation today:

Most of the butterflies that in recent weeks have been reported to Waarneming.nl and Telmee had wintered as butterflies and have emerged on the first sunny spring days. The brimstone is the most reported species (2000), followed by small tortoiseshell (1700), peacock butterfly (330), red admiral (290) and comma (180).

And now, species which had wintered while in the pupa stage have started emerging as well.

Australian stick insect, Mexican butterfly in botanical garden


Giant prickly stick insect, 22 March 2015

22 March 2015. To the botanical garden. On a smallish Eucalyptus tree in a pot in a hothouse, this adult giant prickly stick insect from Australia.

Before we had arrived at the garden, a song thrush sang from the top of a tree near a parking lot.

In the botanical garden, ring-necked parakeets flying and calling.

In the Victoria amazonica hothouse, we saw this gold-edged owl-butterfly. It was an old individual, with damaged wings.

Caligo uranus, 22 March 2015

First, we saw the upper side of its wings.

Caligo uranus, lower side, 22 March 2015

Then, the lower side.

Outside, bees had discovered the spring flowers.