Sunday, February 26, 2012

Due Care and Attention

I ordered some net fabric online today from our local entomological suppliers. Thought you might be interested to see their response:

Hi Derek,
your order with web reference number (WA-9573) has been despatched.

Your goods were gently taken from the shelves and delicately placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of no less than 100 dedicated entosupplies employees marvelled at the aura emanating from the pillow and the revered prizes resting aloft.

Candles were lit...ancient magical incantations were chanted...indeed, some strange but wonderful dancing ensued...but finally, the items were carefully packed.

We then started celebrating the brave journey your goods would soon take out into the big wide world. Marching down to the post office, with police escort in tow, we were greeted by the entire town, and we all then waved farewell to your parcel, on this fine and unforgettable day, Monday 27th February, 2012!!!

In all seriousness though, we do hope you enjoyed your time ordering from us. We sincerely appreciate your business, and look forward to helping you the next time you visit!

Now that's what I call service!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Searching for Pupae

Matthew commented on Guy's blog:

Very interested in how / where you foundthe two pupae? In Savernake, they are all but impossible to find – even after placing out full grown captive bred larvae on medium size bushes -, so much so that I suspect either very high losses or movement on to different trees. And Idon’t find old pupal cases whilst looking for eggs / larvae either. But the Savernake sallows are tall… though I scan for pupae with binoculars.

Guy replied:

Both these pupae were at about head height in sallow about two bushes distant (but connected by touching branches) from where I had been watching two caterpillars. They were very well camouflaged and each time I went back to see them I had to stare for some minutes to relocate them. Here is one, in context (just left of centre):


And close up:

And here the other:


A third caterpillar I was following that year was nowhere to be found after his final instar. I do think he survived, though, as a she, as an egg was subsequently laid on a leaf right next to what had been ‘his’ resting leaf, giving birth to Hadrian:

One pupa died – Neil followed the drama as it unfolded on UK Butterflies. The other simply disappeared, when I thought it should be emerging. The cluster of sallow where Aurelian is currently hibernating is rather small and if he does survive that long it should only require patience to locate him.

At this point, Neil joined the discussion:

The only two pupae I have found in the wild (on ‘The Magic Sallow’ on the Downs at Amberley – killed by squirrels, then resurrected) were actually very close to where I had watched a handful of caterpillars approaching maturity in 2007, both being just above head height. These observations were greatly assisted by ease of access to the site, with almost daily visits possible (still hard to track them!). An elderly microlepidopterist who retired to Storrington from Aberdeen a few years back subsequently found an empty iris pupa (!!!!) on the same bush in July 2008, again just above head height.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?

A photo-journal by Guy Padfield of a plucky Swiss youngster..

This is him on 11th August 2011, in my
local woods in Switzerland:

I found several eggs, on different bushes, but this is the only egg I found on the branch where I subsequently found Aurelian.

Here he is on 28th September, enjoying what was still hot, summer sun:

By 30th October he was looking hoary and his resting leaf was not looking so appetising. You can see lots of silk where he has been travelling to and from his leaf.

When I visited him just a few days later, on 2nd November, he was nowhere to be seen. I searched diligently and found him on an adjoining branch, hibernating, having crawled about 2m or perhaps a little more, first back towards the trunk and then out again. He had taken up position on a joint, looking just like a bud.

This was my first hibernating picture of him , on 2nd November last year:

Here he is on 7th January this year:

24th January:

4th February (he’s on one of those branches, somewhere):

11th Feb:

… and finally, 21st February:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Rainbow and the Forest (Bascombe, 1966)

Can anybody on here please provide any further information on where it might please be possible to obtain a copy of Victor-Hastings-Dare-Bascombe's 32minute (1966 version), colour film entitled "The Rainbow and the Forest" (The Life Story of the Purple Emperor Butterfly)? The film was the only film produced by "Saffrom Films" and was presented at the end of the annual meeting of the "Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London" (later to become “The Royal Entomological Society”) on the 2nd March 1966. References also suggested that this film was also presented before the "Proceedings (and Tranactions) of the British Natural History and Entomological Society" in April of 1966. Victor-Hastings-Dare-Bascombe, a dental surgeon by profession unfortunately died in the September of the following year (1967), having been a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society for 10 years. I would very much appreciate any information that anybody could please provide in relation to this matter. The photo associated with this post was nothing to do with the original film and was simply downloaded from the internet (hence the iStockphoto logo). I just thought it was pretty and fit rather nicely with the films title. Limited further information on the film can be found at the following URL, for anyone that is interested:

Original citations can be found at the following locations:
Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London, (1966), 31(10), pp51.
Proceedings and Transactions of the British Entomological and Natural History Society, (1968), 1(1), pp4.
Journal of Zoology, (1969), 157(2), pp266.

Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London, (1967), 32(11), pp58.

I trust that the successful location of this film may also be of some interest to some of you?


A Study Wall, somewhere in the Purple Empire...