Some butterflies can be hard to identify at first sight! Can you tell from this image which species this is? You can get some help by visiting the Butterfly Conservation website or app. When I first spotted this small butterfly flitting around the grasses and wild flowers, at Papercourt Meadows, I suspected it was a female common blue. Many female Lycaenidae (blues and coppers) have a similar appearance, especially the open wings, and this can make identification difficult in the field. You really need to see some of the close-up details and view the butterfly from different angles. Once I got the side view I was able to confirm that it is, in fact, a brown argus. Of course a brown argus is technically still a blue! Confused yet?
Key identifying spots that are present in the common blue, but missing in the brown argus, are circled in the guide image above. In the hindwing of the brown argus, the two spots that are circled are closer together than on the blue, almost a figure of eight shape. Another key identification help with this one is that the abdomen (body shape), viewed from above of the argus, is long and thin. This means that it isn’t carrying any eggs and can therefore only be identified as a male brown argus!
All has gone to seed
For the years ahead
This is going to be my last in the series of images from my archives with newly composed haiku. I wanted this image to be the last one as it’s all about hope for the future. I can actually leave the house again, so I really want to make the most of new encounters with wildlife and engaging with plants and nature. I hope that you have all enjoyed a moment of mindfulness through these creations. Can’t quite believe I managed about a hundred in total! I hope the future will start to look brighter and safer for us all. Keep enjoying the simple pleasures in life, in the natural world around you, stay safe and do whatever you can to help keep others safe too.
I think this is my favourite image from last week! Firstly, it’s a butterfly, secondly it’s on a seed pod and last but not least, this was the moment the sun came out after a pretty wet and miserable day. I love this time of year, the sunlight has become golden again, the plants are all coming into their Autumn colours and structure. I’m really enjoying having a decent macro lens again, allowing me to get up really close to my favourite things. Have a great week everyone!
The beauty is a common blue butterfly, a real favourite of mine! The beast in question is an Ichneumonid wasp. They are parasitoids, meaning that their larvae infect and feed on other invertebrates, eventually killing the host. I think this particular wasp is Apechthis compunctor, which lays its’ eggs in the pupae of butterflies. The adult often emerges from the butterfly itself. No small wonder that I would see them at NT Denbies Hillside, amidst the wonderful array of blue and copper butterflies that were on the wing. I can’t be 100% on my ID as these insects aren’t a specialist knowledge of mine, also there are well over 2000 species of ichneumonids in the UK! Watching this wasp actually fly right up to the common blue that I was photographing was fascinating, even though it gave me the creeps. I just kept photographing, hoping that I could capture a shot that told a story of the interrelationship between invertebrate species. This has to be my story and photograph of the week, even if there is an undercurrent of horror about it! Ecology is all about the interrelationships within specific ecosystems. Every time I get to watch something like this I learn more.
There were so many small copper and common blue butterflies still on the wing last week at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre, a part of Horsell Common. They’re not hard to find either, you just have to look around the clumps of this yellow flowering plant, called common fleabane. It’s been practically blooming butterflies throughout the season! Can’t resist putting this in for this week’s WexMondays challenge. Lovely to be out chasing so many butterflies in the middle of September!
The recent rains have brought green back to the slopes of Box Hill, along with a wealth of wildflowers! It was rather lovely to watch these male (left) and female (right) common blue butterflies courting each other upon the wild marjoram flower buds. Sadly their dance of love never reached it’s conclusion as the courting couple were rudely interrupted by a busy bee!