15 July 2017

Butterfly

On Thursday I enjoyed a ramble in the lee of Millstone Edge to the south of Hathersage. This is not far from Over Owler Tor or Surprise View. It doesn't take long to drive there from our house.

Millstone Edge is fascinating because of the quarrying activity that happened there in the past and the way in which Mother Nature has since reclaimed it, softening and disguising the evidence of stone industries. The very name Millstone Edge speaks of the countless millstones that were hewn and shaped there. Later huge blocks of stone were cut from the edge and transported on a little railway to the head of The Derwent Valley where they were used in the construction of two great dams.

Of course, I snapped several pictures on this ramble under the edge but in this post I am sharing just one of them. It's a photo of a comma butterfly seeking sustenance on a clump of yellow ragwort. The scientific name for this once rare butterfly is polognia c- album. It is easily distinguished by the scalloped appearance of  its wings and on its underside you will find two white marks shaped rather like commas.





































This is what the British Butterfly Conservation Group have to say about the comma:-

"The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear close resemblance to bird droppings.

The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback. It is now widespread in southern Britain and its range is expanding northwards."

Underside of the comma:-

28 comments:

  1. That is a wonderful picture! I wonder what has changed to make these butterflies increase their population and range. It's fascinating

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    1. Possibly changes in agricultural processes - pesticides etc.. Also possibly connected with subtle climate changes - less severe winters and increase in preferred plants such as nettles.

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  2. I so often see butterflies on my walks but never manage to take good pictures of them, so I have given up even trying. Yours are great! I didn't know a comma butterfly exists. Are there also semicolon and fullstop butterflies?

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    1. Ha-ha! And they say that German people are not renown for their sense of humour! Who needs Henning Wehn?

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  3. It was worth the drive out there.

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    1. Thank you Terry. If any of my photos get a thumbs up from you I know it must be okay.

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  4. I love commas but how drab they are underneath.

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    1. They might say the same about us... you should see the soles of my feet Mrs Weaver!

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  5. Lovely photo, the colors are brilliant. We have commas and question marks here.

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  6. That's a beautiful butterfly!

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  7. The caterpillar of Comma also feed on hop and elm leaves and Dutch Elm disease severely reduced the number of elm tress in the countryside. Hop fields have also greatly reduced over the last fifty years and so perhaps those two issues caused the initial decline of the Comma.

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    1. Thanks for that reflection Derek. Sometimes decline in insect numbers can be down to several factors combining together, not just one factor.

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  8. Every time I read about "Over Owler Tor" in your posts, it makes me smile. I just like the name.

    Beautiful butterfly, and helpful information about it. We don't get very many butterflies in town, it seems, but this summer I've seen three different kinds, at three different points in the season. We try to plant things that will attract them.

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    1. Well I am glad that the name Over Owler Tor makes you smile Jenny! Thanks for calling by once more. I wonder if you have been able to identify the Canadian butterflies.

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    2. Not identified except by colour - one yellow, one white, one orange. Each time I happened to be in the middle of something I couldn't drop. And their visits were the "fly past" kind :)

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  9. So if the butterflies are coming back there must be some improvement in the landscape.

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    1. I have done some googling but it is unclear exactly why the comma butterfly has been making a comeback. Could be a combination of several reasons.

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  10. Thanks for this post.........loved it.

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    1. You are welcome even though you are "Unknown".

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  11. I remember seeing a comma butterfly and marking it in my I-Spy Butterflies book. That was a long time ago.

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    1. I spy with my little eye... Yes I remember those little books Shammickite. Good for long car journeys.

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  12. A beautiful butterfly...and a beautiful photo worthy of an award, in my most humble opinion.

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  13. You are lucky to see such a lovely butterfly on your walk. Maybe the drab underside is a protection device, used when it folds its wings?
    Alphie

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    1. I am sure you are right about that Alphie and the white comma may mimic a bird dropping.

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  14. I've seen commas in our garden in West Hampstead this year, for the first time since we moved there. I wonder if they're having an especially good year? In any case, I'm glad they've made a comeback!

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