Millions of painted ladies expected in Britain

This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Transformation of a Painted Lady Butterfly – The Butterly Life Cycle

29 July 2013

Watch the amazing transformation of caterpillar larvae to butterfly, as captured and documented by Scot Brinkley in affiliation with the EmilyAnn Theatre & Garden’s Butterfly Day – 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Large number of Painted Lady expected in UK

The UK is braced for a once in a decade occasion as an influx of Painted Ladies are expected to arrive in the UK at any moment after unusually high numbers of the orange and black butterflies have been amassing in southern Europe.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles. But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland. Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.

Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently. Butterfly Conservation reported that some butterflies arrived during mid-May, but a spell of poor weather temporarily halted the immigration.

Recent warm sunny conditions have seen Painted Lady numbers soar once again with reports of large numbers of the butterflies seen at south coast sites – suggesting a large scale immigration may once again be about to take place.

Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public to record sightings of the butterfly to help chart the progress of any potential immigration during the summer.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording explained: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour these small fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”

The Painted Lady undertakes a phenomenal 9,000 mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle each year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

Research using citizen science sightings from the 2009 migration revealed that the whole journey is not undertaken by individual butterflies but in a series of steps by up to six successive generations.

Radar studies revealed that after successfully breeding in the UK in 2009 more than 26 million Painted Ladies returned south in the autumn, many flying high in the sky out of the sight of human observers.

Painted Lady sightings can be recorded via Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch scheme.

This video from England is called Painted Lady butterflies filmed at Butterfly Conservation’s Head Office in Lulworth, Dorset.

Rare moth in the Netherlands

This video is called Striped hawk-moth at Buskett Woodland, Malta.

Translated from the Dutch Butterfly Foundation:

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

This spring is good for migratory butterflies and moths. Besides painted ladies and red admirals which have flown to the Netherlands in large numbers there are also many reports of hummingbird hawk-moths. The crowning touch is the striped hawk-moth which on June 7 was seen in a garden in Velserbroek.

This South European species had been seen for the last time in the Netherlands in 2011.

Poppy attracts many bumblebees, video

This video is about a poppy attracting many bumblebees.

G. Temmink from the Netherlands made this video on 10 June 2015.

Ladybirds’ colours, new study

This video from Britain is called BBC Wildlife on One (1987) – Ladybird, Ladybird.

From Wildlife Extra:

A ladybird‘s colour reveal its level of toxicity

The brighter the ladybird the more toxic it is to predators, new research from the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge show.

Although red ladybirds with black spots are most familiar, ladybirds are a diverse group of species and come in many different colours and patterns, from yellow and orange to even camouflaged browns. The bright colouration of different ladybird species acts as a warning signal, telling potential predators to beware of the foul smelling, poisonous chemicals they use for defence.

The study which is published in the journal Scientific Reports, also found that the more conspicuous and colourful the ladybird species, the less likely it is to be attacked by birds.

Lina María Arenas, a PhD student at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter and from the University of Cambridge said: “Ladybird beetles are one of the most cherished and charismatic insects, being both beautifully coloured and a friend to every gardener. Our study shows that not only does ladybird colour reveal how toxic they are to predators, but also that birds understand the signals that the ladybirds are giving. Birds are less likely to attack more conspicuous ladybirds.”

The researchers measured toxicity using a biological assay, by counting the number of dead Daphnia — tiny crustaceans — in water containing the different ladybird toxins. The results show that five common ladybird species each have different levels of toxic defence. Those species with the most colourful and conspicuous colours against the natural vegetation where they live are also the most toxic.

Dr Martin Stevens from the University of Exeter said: “Our results tell us that the ladybirds present ‘honest’ signals to predators, because their colour reveals how well defended they are.

“Relatively inconspicuous species, such as the larch ladybird, have low levels of defence and place more emphasis on avoiding being seen, whereas, more conspicuous and colourful species, such as the 2-spot ladybird, openly flaunt their strong defences to predators like birds.”

Hummingbird hawk-moth slow motion video

This is a slow motion video about a hummingbird hawk-moth.

Rob van der Graaf made the video in his backyard in the Netherlands.

Emperor dragonfly laying eggs, video

This video shows a female emperor dragonfly laying eggs, near Arcen, Limburg province, the Netherlands.

Ronald Aarns made this video.

Leucistic small copper butterfly on Texel island

This is a video about a small copper butterfly in the Netherlands. This individual has the normal colours for that species.

Leucistic small copper, photo by Klaas de Jong

On 22 May 2015, in the Krimbos woodland on Texel island, local people Henk Leyen and Klaas de Jong saw this butterfly. Mr de Jong made the photo. It is a leucistic small copper; looking much whiter than usually.

Large copper in the Netherlands: here.