New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

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IAC
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New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby IAC » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:34 am

NEW BUTTERFLY SPECIES FOR SCOTLAND

Its not everyday that something as special as this is found whilst out and about on a regular Butterfly recording foray. This White Letter Hairstreak is a new species for Scotland as of yesterday 9th August. Its a very ragged and worn individual which I found on the Scottish Border near Paxton, Berwickshire, feeding at Ragwort on a grass margin by a Bean field.

There are only two previous records of the White Letter Hairstreak having been present in Scotland, one in 1859 (Lennon) Dumfries, and in 1884 Sandbank, Dunoon (William Watson) in an article written for the Glasgow Natural History Society. ( George Thomson, The Butterflies of Scotland). Since then very little and nothing is known about the Butterfly and its status within Scotland. Even those now very old records provided little evidence of its status at the time.

Its very hard to say at this stage how long these Butterflies have been in residence along the Scottish Border, perhaps decades, or maybe just a recent surge north together with several other species expanding on a northern and eastern trajectory. Whatever the case, it will be very exciting gong forward now that we have a clue as to where we could begin looking for further evidence.

Iain.
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Pete Eeles
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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:17 am

Congratulations, Iain - and very well-deserved for all of the time that I know you put in! You're officially a butterflying legend now :)

Cheers,

- Pete

IAC
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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby IAC » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:01 pm

Hahaha, cheers Pete :D Seriously though what next I wonder up here. Naturally the White Letter Hairstreak may have been here for quite some time undetected, as the Purple Hairsteak which Im sure we will have in the Scottish Borders considering its success elsewhere in Scotland, or its a recent arrival, and we can start afresh . Im intouch with Liz Goodyear, so....safe hands. And our very own Barry Prater up here knows a thing r two about the species, so...onwards and upwards. The Scottish Borders is quite busy these days. :)

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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby Padfield » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:03 pm

Congratulations to you, Iain, and to the happy colony. May it prosper.

Guy
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bugboy
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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby bugboy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:31 pm

That's fantastic news, well spotted Iain. Get those binoculars trained on those Elms next July! :)
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David M
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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby David M » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:19 pm

Well done, Iain. Your part of the country is probably the best to be in right now with the spread of species up the eastern side of England and over the border. What is next for you, I wonder? Gatekeeper?

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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby IAC » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:16 pm

Thank you Guy, David and Bugboy. :)

Whats next, Gatekeeper you say David. We get sightings from time to time that turn out to be twin spotted Meadow Brown...Meadow Brown are struggling in the open countryside just now as farming becomes ever more efficient, and the loss of grazing animals has certainly had some effect. They can still be found in large numbers, but its the general local distribution which is now greatly reduced..so for that reason, I wonder how well Gatekeeper would do in this environment, in my view, not too well. Rough grassland, ungrazed however has been hugely beneficial for the spread of Skippers..so for that reason I am expecting Essex Skipper to appear one day soon. The Scottish Borders at least is bereft of Purple Hairstreak, and we should have those. We have had an increase in sites for the Small Pearl-bordered Frit these past few years, and I wonder, knowing that the Pearl bordered Frits are doing so well in the south west of Scotland whether our western Border forests might just pick a few up at some point. Holly Blue have been fleeting in the Scottish Borders, and we have yet to note established colonies in any one place.

Iain.

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Tony Moore
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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby Tony Moore » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:17 pm

Brilliant, Iain,

No need to wait for next July - find some south facing flowering Elm and look for eggs in Nov/Dec. I found eggs in Stafford over five years before I saw an adult...

Tony M.

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Re: New species for Scotland as the White Letter Hairstreak is finally revealed

Postby Kip » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:25 am

Great news!
As for gatekeeper, it is regularly spotted 10 miles south of where I live, but I have only ever seen one individual here at the top of North Yorkshire... no apparent reason why it hasn't moved those 10 miles in 20 or so years.... but it hasn't..... so I doubt it is about to reach Scotland yet, at least along the East side!! :roll:
More pics on http://ptkbutterflies.wixsite.com/photo-art - should you wish to look, I hope you like the site..


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