Friday, 9 September 2011
Throw of the dice
Look, it's a Leeds moth! A Green Carpet. Last night I lit the trap for the first time since 19 August, thanks to holidays, a family wedding and - since we settled back - wind and rain. Here's another one; a Black Rustic. We're back to the good old dour and pastel English shades...
But I'm not done with France, and today features the solitary member I found in the Dordogne of that noble family, the Fritillaries. I have a personal history with these going back to 12, when I caught my rarest butterfly, the Charlotta version of the Dark Green Fritillary, at exactly the spot above Kynance Cove in Cornwall where Prof E B Ford chased and caught one of the few Monarch butterflies seen in the UK. You can read more, if so inclined, on an ancient blogpost; and here is the actual butterfly with its beautiful silver underwing lozenges, below a standard DGF.
This is by way of introduction to my French Fritillary, the Knapweed, which lived in my clover-field hunting ground. It's as lovely as all its kind, with plenty of the glowing (and dark) spots which led to its name, from the Latin Fritillus, for dice box. It shares this, for the same reason, with the plant family which includes the beautiful Snakeshead Fritillary, now gradually colonising our garden.
The Knapweed isn't found in the UK but is very like the Glanville Fritillary, a rarity named after Eleanor Glanville, whose knowledgable hunting for butterflies in the late 17th and early 18th century led her son to dispute her will on the grounds that she was mad. Unfortunately, he won. Sorry the pic of the Knapweed's topwings is a bit blurred; I was over-excited, I think. Here's the underwing, with slightly better focus.