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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Some strange British butterfly reports

I am collecting here some unusual British butterfly stories from the 19th and early 20th Century.

Butterflies of Berkshire,Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire by C and D Steel (1985) page 68

“ Two very rare migrants for which there are single records in our region are the Queen of Spain fritillary (Argynnis lathonia) recorded from Berkshire in 1867,and the Weaver`s fritillary (Boloria dia) ,recorded from Berkshire in 1837.Recent rumours that the large blue (Maculinea arion) still survives in the Cotswolds must be treated with scepticism .However, it is possible that an eighteenth century record from Cliveden, Buckinghamshire is genuine.”

An Introduction to Entomology. William Kirby and William Spence. 1856 page 493

“The Lepidoptera ,though some of them,as we have seen, produce a sound when they fly,at other times are usually mute insects; but this alarmist – for it may be so called, from the terrors which it has occasioned to the superstitious – when it walks and more particularly when it is confined, or taken into the hand, sends forth a strong and sharp cry, resembling ,some say,that of a mouse,but more plaintive,and even lamentable,which  it continues as long as it is held.”

Science Gossip  1872  page 95     A White “Brimstone. 

“A friend of mine has in his collection a variety of the Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhumni) ,male,having in the centre of the anterior wings a large patch of deep orange. From its differing from the Brimstone in no other respect, I presume it to be a hybrid between that and the Clouded Yellow (Colias edusa)”. – H.Moore,67 Preston St,Brighton

A White “Brimstone” (2)  page 117

“I scarcely believe Mr Moore is justified in imagining that the butterfly referred to is a hybrid between G.Rhumni and C.Edusa, since this variety of the Brimstone and the typical form have both been reared from the same batch of eggs. This variety is occasionally met with. In the south of Europe a variety is met with called G.Cleopatra, in which the orange patches cover nearly the whole of the upper wings.” W.H. Warner,Kingston,Abingdon.

From Country Queries & Notes Vol 1 April 1908 to March 1909 page 20 “Is the Clouded Yellow Butterfly Truly British?”

“My acquaintance with Edusa goes back to February 1882 or `83, when a living female was brought to me ,and I have noted, with regard to every “Clouded Yellow year” since, that numbers of specimens were to be seen in the spring.This was especially so seven years ago,when I saw several myself in March and April,and four were seen at that time by a friend of mine flitting about together on his lawn. Now the problem is: were these hibernated specimens or not,as I did not see a single one for seven or eight years previous to that time? With regard to the wind theory, which I think is the general idea amongst entomologists to-day, why do we not get these butterflies every year? I understand that they are plentiful every season on the Continent,and surely we get a favourable wind oftener than once in seven or eight years” – A.E.Webber, Boscombe,Bournemouth.

Science Gossip   1887.

There was correspondence between three people, J.A.Billings, Hamilton James and H.D.S about the appearance of a butterfly which might have been Anosia plexippus (Milkweed)  or Danaus Erippus (Southern monarch)  variety Arcippus at Shanklin.Isle of Wight and the Lizard, Cornwall between 1885-1887.

From Country Queries & Notes vol 1 April 1908 to March 1909 page 20 “Is the Clouded Yellow Butterfly Truly British?”

“My acquaintance with Edusa goes back to February 1882 or `83, when a living female was brought to me ,and I have noted, with regard to every “Clouded Yellow year” since, that numbers of specimens were to be seen in the spring.This was especially so seven years ago,when I saw several myself in March and April,and four were seen at that time by a friend of mine flitting about together on his lawn. Now the problem is: were these hibernated specimens or not,as I did not see a single one for seven or eight years previous to that time? With regard to the wind theory, which I think is the general idea amongst entomologists to-day, why do we not get these butterflies every year? I understand that they are plentiful every season on the Continent,and surely we get a favourable wind oftener than once in seven or eight years” – A.E.Webber, Boscombe,Bournemouth.



Cocteau Twins   Iceblink Luck (My favourite Cocteau Twins song.)

I'm seemin' to be a little aliveI'm happy again, caught, caught in time
Expose the daughter of yourself well
Me, I think that you're in her heart

You're the match of Jericho
That will burn this whole madhouse down
And I'll throw open like the wall, not safe
More like a love that's a bot-tle of exquisite stuff, yes

You, yourself, and your father
Don't know, so part in your own ways
You're really both bone setters
Thank you for mending me babies

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