14 Jul 2014

14 July 14 - Badly Painted Lady

The previous afternoon, I had been having a lazy day after a few hectic days of Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies & photography, when I get a call from my mate Peter Moore. Peter had been out walking locally & found an odd Painted Lady. Having got some photos he wanted to talk the Painted Lady over with me. It sounded intriguing, but I decided that as it would be cooling down soon as it was late afternoon, I would leave a trip to the following morning. That evening after completing family duties, Peter forwarded some photos & I realised I should have been more enthusiastic, as it looked stunning. The following morning, I headed out not expecting to see it. However, within a few minutes of arriving, I was pleased to see it was still around & happily feeding on some brambles. First some photos & then some explanation about it.
Painted Lady: Aberration Rogeri
Painted Lady: Aberration Rogeri
Painted Lady: Aberration Rogeri
Painted Lady: Aberration Rogeri
Painted Lady: Aberration Rogeri
For comparison, this is a bog-standard Painted Lady.
Painted Lady: This is what every other Painted Lady that I ave seen has ever looked like 
Painted Lady: About my best underwing shot
From what Peter could find out. This is a rare aberration of Painted Lady in the wild. It occurs when the pupae experienced a period of cold weather. Butterfly enthusiasts have artificially bred them by deliberating cooling the pupae. However, this doesn't seem to be commonly seen in the wild. Sadly, as a consequence if its rarity, Peter was advised to be careful about revealing the location as it would be likely to be collected & killed by a Butterfly collector very quickly. The estimated price of a wild specimen to a collector, would more than cover my mortgage for a couple of months. It was seen the next day by one of my mates, but I've spent some time looked since & didn't see it. Either it had decided to move on after feeding up for a few days, had been eaten by a Bird, not that there were a lot of Birds nearby (but a Whitethroat had appeared on my second visit) or perhaps had ended up in a collectors net.

1 comment :

  1. If anybody thinks we were being overly paranoid about it being collected, then have a read of the comments added after Peter posted one of his photos on Birdguides (http://www.birdguides.com/iris/pictures.asp?comments=y&f=439647). This provoked a reaction that it had scientific value & consideration of killed & preserving it should me made.
    The comment made by a fairly anonymous Chris, ignored the fact that had it been collected, it would have been by a private collector who would be unlikely to have passed it onto a proper institution like the Natural History Museum, but would have kept it for his own personal collection. He also objected so strongly to my comment his initial view was Victorian, that he tried to censor that, so my comment was removed. Apparently, standard Birdguides policy is to automatically remove comments, but they reinstated it, once they had had time to read it & agree there wasn't grounds for its removal.

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