Saturday, 18 April 2015

A-Z Challenge - Butterflies 'P'

P - Painted Lady, Peacock

These, as their names imply, are two of Britain's most colourful butterflies.

What's more they are frequent visitors to our Buddleia, aka Butterfly Bush, each summer.


Painted Lady
This Painted Lady however was sunning itself on the leaves of one of our Rhododendrons.

Its caterpillars are grey or black with yellow stripes on the side. They feed on may plants including thistles and nettles. 

The adult butterflies migrate and hibernate in the winter south of the Alps. Immigrants enter Britain from April. There are two or three broods between June and September

We often find a Peacock on the ground,

Peacock Butterfly (from our bedroom window)
However there is no doubt where they like the best,

On the Buddleia having driven off a Large White
They are happy of course to share a flower with others.

Peacock Butterflies on Buddleia
The brightly coloured eye-like markings on its wings are like the spots on a peacock's tail - hence its name.

When at rest the Peacock's eye-spot is hidden but when disturbed it opens its wings to display them and scare of any predatory birds.

Common throughout the British Isles they lay their eggs on nettles in April and May. Caterpillars are jet black and finely speckled with white. 

We saw our first Peacock this year on April 5th.

Peacock Butterfly Caterpillars

The butterflies emerge from the pupae from July and brighten the countryside until September or October. We will be looking out for them from when our Buddleia breaks into flower.

The Peacock also appears on a set of butterfly stamps issued by the Royal Mail.




Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight

Photo attribution:

  • Peacock Butterfly Caterpillars: 28 June 2008, upload by Computerhotline, by Rictor Norton and David Allen - CC BY 2.0


Friday, 17 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'O'

O - Orange Tip

There really is no mistaking this very aptly named butterfly if you are looking at the male.


Orange Tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines)
It's believed that the orange tips to its wings are a warning colouration derived from its liking for the garlic mustard plant and indicating that it is not palatable to predators.

The underside of its wings has a pattern of green blotches formed by a combination of yellow and black scales which provide the orange tip with excellent camouflage when its wings are closed.

Orange Tips mating showing the coloured underside
However when you see the female of the species you might think that it is just another white butterfly.

Female Orange Tip
Without the orange on the tips of its wings it is often mistaken for other white butterflies.

The caterpillars feed on the cuckooflower (as the female butterfly above), garlic mustard and charlock. The adult orange  tips sip nectar from bluebells, brambles, bugle, dandelion and ragged robin - all of which have flowers common in our area of Yorkshire.

I shall have to look out for the butterfly this summer. I can't say I've seen one before.

The BBC Springwatch programme is using the Orange Tip butterfly to map the progress of spring this year. People are asked to record and report the date on which they see the first one. 

There is an even more spectacular orange tip in Europe. The Southern Orange Tip (Anthocharis euphenoides) is yellow in fact.

Southern (Yellow) Orange Tip
This one was photographed in Spain. I could go there or to the Alps to catch sight of one.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside

Photo attributions:
  • Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines): 15 April 2014 in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, Sharp Photography, by Charlesjsharp - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Orange Tips mating: uploaded by Entomolo, 17 April 2011, by hamonjp - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Southern (Yellow) Orange Tip: Male, near Higuera de Calatrava, Spain, 19 March 2008, by Joan Cales Hinojosa Galisteo - CC BY-SA 3.0




Thursday, 16 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'N'

N - Northern Brown Argus

Before I found this butterfly I thought I would have to settle for 'Nymphalidae,' the largest family of butterflies with 6000 species around the world. However to help me with this challenge my wife found a nature guide for butterflies and moths. Tucked away in there was the Northern Brown Argus. 

Until then I thought the Argus was a local newspaper in different parts of the UK.


Northern Brown Argus
This specimen was photographed on a Bloody Cranes-Bill flower at the Pinbain Burn SSSI (site of special scientific interest). Pinbain is a rabbit grazed limestone grassland and coastal cliff in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Brown with orange spots on its outer wing edges, in Scotland most have the characteristic white spot on the forewing. In Northern England the spot may be dark brown or black.

Its foodplant is the Common Rock-Rose.

Common Rock-Rose
A very local butterfly in Scotland it exists on only a number of scattered sites.

Northern Brown Argus in Yorkshire
No white spot here, it seems brown/black to me. There are lots of different leaves and grasses in this calcareous pasture on the Kettlewell - Starbotton footpath.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings

Photo attributions
  • Northern Brown Argus on Bloody Cranes-Bill: Pinbain Burn SSS, 17 June 2007, geograph.org,uk, by Mary & Angus Hogg - CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Common Rock-Rose: upload by Gary Dee, 12 May 2011, by Leonara King - CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Northern Brown Argus in Yorkshire: 29 May 2009, geograph.org.uk, by Derek Parkinson - CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'M'

M - Meadow Brown, Monarch

You can find it in all parts of the British Isles except for the most mountainous areas. It's one of the commonest and widespread of our butterflies.


Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina)
That one black eyespot on the forewing is unique to the meadow brown. The are is some variation with some showing two white pupils. The meadow brown  flies from June through to September, even in dull and inclement weather while many other butterflies wait out the rain.

It loves grasses, grasslands, heathland. parks and fields.

The summer/autumn migration of the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is legendary covering, as it does, thousands of miles from the US and southern Canada to Mexico.


Monarch butterfly on a Penta flower in Texas
 Monarchs have even been transported to and bred on the International Space Station.

A milkweed butterfly, the Monarch is one of the most familiar North American butterflies. With a wing span up to 4 inches, its orange and black pattern makes it easily recognisable. 

However it is yet another butterfly that I have never seen.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly

Photo attributions:

  • Meadow Brown: By a footpath in Yerdley Wood, 21 June 2009, geograph.org.uk, by Shazz - CC BY 2.0
  • Monarch on a Penta: October 2011, by A Yee - CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Multiples - Thematic Photography

I just knew what my first multiple would be; my wife says it's where I stand to air my knowledge.

Between the radiator panels
My second multiple would have met last week's theme.

Daffodil blooms
And then there's this, or should it be these.

What are these?
In case you haven't guessed - 

The Vikings are coming
To see Carmi's multiples and multiple other multiples follow the links at Thematic-photographic-333.

A-Z Challenge - Butterflies 'L'

L - Leopard Lacewing (Centhosia cyane)

This heleconline (long wing) butterfly is to be found in India, Southern China and Indochina.


Leopard Lacewing - male
The upperside is tawny, with its black forewing crossed by a broad white bar. A row of black dots, part of its defence mechanism, line the rear of the hind wing. The thorax is tawny brown.

Female Leopard Lacewing
The female has similar markings but the tawny colour of the male is replaced by pale greenish white and somewhat brownish on the upper fore wing.

The underside of this butterfly looks even more spectacular to me with its body white underneath,

Leopard Lacewing
Your guess is as good as mine as to whether it is male or female in this shot at the Butterfly Lodge at Oh Chin Huat farm in Singapore.

The Butterfly World at Preston Park in Eaglescliffe near my home has recently reopened after the winter. I shall have to check out whether they have a lacewing there.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies



Photo attributions:
  • Leopard Lacewing male: by Greg Hume - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Leopard Lacewing female: by David Momaya, August 2006 at Jairampur, Arunchal Pradesh, India; upload 26 June 2007 - CC BY 2.5
  • Leopard Lacewing (underside): at Oh Chin Huat farm, 1 August 2012; upload by russavia; by Erwin Soo from Singapore - CC BY SA 2.0


Monday, 13 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'K'

K - Karner Blue

The Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) is an endangered species of small blue butterfly.

Karner Blue
It's most widespread in Wisconsin, and can be found in portions of Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio.

The male is silvery or dark blue with narrow black margins on the topside of its wings. The outer portions of the female are grayish brown, with bands or orange crescents inside the black border.

Karner Blue underside
The underside of both the male and female is grey with a continuous band of those orange crescents on the edges of their wings, The scattered black spots are circled with white.

The caterpillars feed only on the leaves of the wild lupine plant, the adults on the nectar of the flowers. This effectively determines their occurrence to the northern part of the wild lupine's range.

Wild blue lupines
The butterfly's habitat of pine and oak savanna/barrens which support which support wild lupine are being managed and protected where possible as part of a recovery plan.

It is prohibited to collect specimens of the Karner Blue.

I wonder whether I shall ever see one when I visit my daughter at her Michigan home. 

In researching this butterfly I was surprised that the author of 'Lolita,' Vladimir Nabokov also a lepidopterist had described the Karner Blue.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender

Photo Attributions:
  • Karner Blue: By John and Karen Hollingsworth, US Fish & Wildlife Service - Public Domain
  • Karner Blue - Underside: 12 April 2012, upload by Dolvis; author US Fish & Wildlife Service HQ by Joe Trick - CC BY 2.0
  • Wild Blue Lupine: US Fish & Wildlife Service by Joel Trick