Foreign invaders and butterflies we have lost in Hampshire

Monarch 

Map Butterfly laying her eggs on Nettle

 

The Map not found in the UK. This striking butterfly exhibits seasonal dimorphism, having two forms, levana and prorsa that represent the spring and summer broods. levana individuals are primarily orange in colour, giving them the appearance of a small fritillary, whereas prorsa individuals look more like a small White Admiral.

The Map was unofficially introduced to the UK in 1912 when the butterfly became established in the Forest of Dean in Monmouthshire and Symond's Yat in Herefordshire. An entomologist at the time, A.B. Farn, was so opposed to the introduction of a foreign species that, in 1914, he collected and destroyed every butterfly he could find. However, the ultimate demise of the colonies is believed to be the result of additional (and unknown) factors.

There have been other records from England, some in recent years that are attributed to be either genuine migrants, accidental imports or releases from captive-bred stock.

Eggs are pale green and laid on top of each other in long strings hanging from leaves of Stinging Nettle (Urticaceae). The caterpillars are black, speckled along the back with pale yellow, and have dark orange multi-branched spikes along the back and sides. The chrysalis is pale brown, marbled and flecked with olive, usually suspended by the cremaster from a stem of the foodplant.

Adults use a wide range of herbaceous plants for nectar while males are known to absorb salts and other nutrients from damp soil.

Size and Family

  • Family: Nymphalids

  • Size: Medium

  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 40-50mm

Conservation Status

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Low                    

  • European Status: Not threatened

Caterpillar Foodplants

Caterpillars feed on Stinging Nettle

Habitat

Open deciduous woodlands, riverbanks and on farmland where stinging nettle is abundant.

Distribution

  • Central Europe, extending across temperate Asia to China, Korea and Japan.

  • Distribution Trend Since 1970s: N/A

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European Swallowtail

The Swallowtail This butterfly is present throughout the entire Palearctic region, ranging from Russia to China and Japan, (including the Himalayas and Taiwan), and across into Alaska, Canada, and the United States, and thus, is not restricted to the Old World, despite the common name. In Asia, it is reported as far south as Saudi ArabiaOman, the high mountains of YemenLebanonIran and Israel. In southern Asia, it occurs in Pakistan and Kashmir, northern India (Sikkim, to Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh), NepalBhutan, and northern Myanmar.[3]

This butterfly is widespread in Europe. In the United Kingdom, it is limited to a few areas in the Norfolk Broads of East Anglia.[4] It is the UK's largest resident butterfly. The monarch (Danaus plexippus) is slightly larger, but is only a rare vagrant.

 

As P. machaon is widespread throughout Eurasia and often common, it is not threatened as a species.[3] It is listed as "vulnerable" in the South Korean and Austrian Red Data Books, and in the Red Data Book of the former Soviet Union.[3] In Armenia the species demonstrates stable population trend and is assessed as Least Concern. [5]

In some countries, P. machaon and its subspecies are protected by law. Papilio machaon machaon is protected by law in six provinces of Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. The species is protected in the United Kingdom, and subspecies verityi is protected in India.[3]

Description 

 

The imago typically has yellow wings with black vein markings, and a wingspan of 65–86 millimetres (2.6–3.4 in).[6] The hindwings of both sexes have a pair of protruding tails which give the butterfly its common name from the resemblance to the birds of the same name. Just below each tail is one red and six blue eye spots.[7]

In the caterpillar stage, P. machaon has a length of 45 millimetres (1.8 in). When young, the caterpillar resembles a bird dropping, giving it camouflage. The caterpillar also protects itself using a large orange fork which protrudes behind its head.[7]

It can be distinguished from Papilio hospiton, which occurs sympatrically with it on Corsica and Sardinia, by the longer "tails" on the hindwings.[8] It can be told apart from the Algerian species Papilio saharae only by counting the segments on the antennae.[8]

Large Tortoiseshell Copyright ©  Nikki Kownacki 

The Large Tortoiseshell was once widespread across Britain and most common in the woodlands of central and southern England but while its numbers were always known to fluctuate, it declined to extinction by the 1960s. This butterfly has not been recorded from Ireland.

It is still common in some parts of Europe, but declining in others. There continue to be sporadic records in Britain, the majority from the south coast but some are considered to be of specimens released from reared stock rather than genuine immigrants.

There have been several suggested causes for its decline - including climate change, parasitism, and the effect of Dutch Elm disease on one of its primary foodplants.

Size and Family

  • Family: Nymphalids

  • Size: Large

  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 68-75mm

Conservation Status                  

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Presumed Extinct 

  • European status: Declining

Caterpillar Foodplants

Caterpillars feed primarily on Elms (Ulmus ssp) but can also found on Aspen (Populus tremula), Birch (Betula), Poplars (Populus) and Willows (Salix).

Habitat

Historically in the British Isles, the Large Tortoiseshell inhabited woodland, especially those containing sallows whose flowers provide a primary nectar source for the adults in the spring. It was extremely common in the New Forest in the Victorian times 'especially about woodmans and keepers cottages' Frohawk a famous Lepidopterist in the Victorian times said it was very widespread and common in the Inclosures.

Distribution

  • Countries: England, Wales and Scotland (Presumed Extinct)

  • Previously widespread in England, Wales and Scotland, their strongholds were in the midlands, south and east of England. Recent sightings from the south coast, in particular from Devon, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Sussex.

 

Photograph shows the Large Tortoiseshell  maybe still extant on the Isle of Wight but whether this is a naturally occurring specimen remains to be seen. The butterfly over the last few decades has had some sporadic sightings. It was seen at Hook Heath 1991 and again at Titchfield Haven in 1999. Also at Fort Cumberland at Southsea in Portsmouth where it remained for a few days feeding on Bramble. There has been sightings and possible breeding Specimens at Portland in Dorset over the last couple of years.

Mating pair of Geranium Bronze

Short Tailed Blue

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Black-Veined White

High Brown Fritillary

Wood White

Long Tailed Blue 

Heath Fritillary

Camberwell Beauty or Morning Cloak

 Helice form of the Clouded Yellow laying her eggs

Clifden nonpariel

Silver 'Y' Moth

Painted Lady

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Box Tree Moth