Sunday, 13 April 2014

Comma 2014

The Comma; (Polygonia c-album)

My wildlife photographs are rarely top draw, however I do seem to be very fortunate with Comma Butterflies;

Barnes Wood Comma
This most excellent of butterflies, and the only UK species with the ragged or deep cut wing can been seem at almost any time of the year if the conditions are favourable.

The Comma butterfly is a great icon for conservation hope (or species resilience in the face of adversity) as
this butterfly almost disappeared from the UK at the turn of the twentieth century. It would appear that this butterfly increased its larval food-plant range from Hop (Humulus lupulus) and Elm (Ulmus spp), to include Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) too.  So from a low population period in about 1910 it has made a spectacular comeback and it is now well distributed in East Sussex as well as the rest of the southern UK.

Comma  Distribution Map (Mapmate)
It can now be found almost everywhere from woodlands to gardens and its appearance punctuates the start and the finish of the butterfly season.

Sussex Comma Population; weekly record counts
2012 appears to be the best of the recent years for Comma sightings, with a week 31 peek (late July, early August) but for actual yearly overall totals, like a lot of species, 2011 was the best. Another nice feature of this butterfly is that it is able to exploit the autumnal  nectar sources that are found in gardens long after the woodland flowers are finished.

Reference: Phillip's Guide to Butterflies of Britain and Ireland. J.A.Thomas


Other News: Butterfly Conservation launches new Smartphone App:
Butterfly Recording gets Smart


Sussex Butterfly Report :- Figures and Errata for Dingy and Grizzled Skipper Species Champion Reports in the 2013 Sussex Butterfly Report.
Figures & Errata


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