Monday, March 16, 2015

Oriental Emperors (Sasakia charonda)

Adding a touch of (appropriate) diversity to the blog. I have recently received a shipment of Sasakia charonda larvae direct from a new collaborating researcher in Japan. I thought some of you might like to see these wonderful larvae.

I hope to rear these larvae to maturity and test if some of my more recent findings are equally applicable to other iridescent members of the Apaturinae. If people are interested, I can always post further images as the larvae develop.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Apatura iris in Silly Places

Pleased to report a male Purple Emperor in my friend Melissa Harrison's house in Streatham, SW London, on 25th July 2013.  It released itself, and continued its journey...

That male may well have been a genuine wild insect.  However, we have to be careful as Purple Emperors are included in batches of mixed butterflies released at weddings and other celebratory events.  For example, last July a male was recorded on the butterfly transect at Minnowburn, a wooded valley owned by the National Trust on the western edge of - wait for it - Belfast, Northern Ireland!  Detective work by Catherine Bertrand of BC NI discovered that the butterfly had been released, with other species, at a wedding in Belfast two days previously.  This practice may explain last summer's sighting at Sheringham, near Cromer, on the Norfolk coast.

But you can never tell with Emperors.  In 2007 a female was found squashed on the steps outside the High Court in London!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In Pursuit of Butterflies, a 50 year affair

In Pursuit of Butterflies, a 50 year affair will be published by Bloomsbury on June 4th.  

The book chronicles diverse adventures in time and place with British butterflies, and a vast array of caterpillars and suchlike.  Adventures range from the sublime to the ridiculous and back. 
The essential subject is butterflying, but love of place figures strongly, and love of periods in time (such as the long hot summer of 1976 and July 2013).

450 pages including 16 pages of colour prints (2 per page), plus black & white line drawings by Tim Bernhard.  It's a big book but it's designed so you can dip in and out of it at will.

There's a pre-publication offer of £17.09, down from £18.99.  Here's the link -   

The One Butterfly that matters more than the rest strung together and multiplied by pi r squared features prominently, especially in the early and later chapters.  The front cover is, of course, exclusively purple.

To whet your appetite, here's an aberrant male iris, I photographed in Hampshire back in 1981 -