Clawford Nature Trail.

Butterflies.

There are 56 native species of butterfly currently resident in the United Kingdom.

About 40 of these species can be seen in woodland. But 16 rely on woodland in all or part of their range.

Four further species were previously resident but have become extinct in the UK since 1800. **

Three Species occur as regular migrants, breeding in the UK every year but do not survive the winter in significant numbers. ***

Listed below are thirty six Butterflies which frequent Clawford & the best times of the year to see them,

 

Brimstone.

Habitat. Most habitats.  Wingspan 60-74mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best seen in March to June and August.

Frequently the first butterfly to be seen in the year when it wakes up from it's hibernation in early spring.  Main food plants are Alder Buckthorn and Buckthorn.

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COMMON

   

 

     

Brown Hairstreak.

Habitat. Hedges, Scrub and Edges of woods where Blackthorn is abundant. Wingspan 36-41mm.

Can be seen occasionally at Clawford. Best seen in June and July.

Spends most of it's time high in the tree canopy or hidden in hedgerows.

Main food plants are Blackthorn and Bullace (Wild Plum).

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COMMON

       

 

 

 

     

Clouded Yellow.  ***

Habitat. Most Open habitats. Wingspan 52-58mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in June, July, August , September & October.

Summer Visitor. Migrant from the Continent. Breeds in England but cannot over winter.

Food plants are Clovers, Lucerne and Common Bird's-foot-trefoil. 

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RARE

       

 

Comma.

Habitat. Most habitats but primarily woodlands and woodland edges. Wingspan 50-64mm.

Can be seen often at Clawford. Seen mainly in July, August & September.

Adults over-winter.

Main food plants are Common Nettle, Currants and Willows.

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COMMON

   

   

     

Common Blue.

Habitat. Most habitats. Wide spread in the UK. Wingspan 29-36mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in numbers in August.

The main food plant is Common Bird's-foot-trefoil, Black Medick, Common Restharrow and white clover.

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COMMON

     

 

   

Dark Green Fritillary.

Habitat. A range of flower-rich grasslands and moor land.  Wingspan 58-68mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford but in numbers in July, August & September.

Main food plants are Common Dog-Violet, Hairy Violet and Marsh Violet.

This large, powerful butterfly is one of our most widespread fritillarys and can be seen flying quickly in open sunny places.

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COMMON

     

 

 

 

     

Dingy Skipper.

Habitat. Localised in England & Wales in Grassy, woodland clearings & bare earth habitats. Wingspan 27-34mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Frequent sightings in May, June & August.

Main food plants are Common Bird's-foot-trefoil and Horseshoe Vetch.

In sunny conditions, are very active, never fly more than a few inches from the ground.

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COMMON

     

 

 

     

Gatekeeper (or Hedge Brown).

Habitat. Grassland, Hedgerows and edges of woodland. Wingspan 34-38mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months are July and August.

Main food plants are Bents, Fescues, Meadow-grasses and Common Couch.

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COMMON

         

     

Grayling.

Habitat. Most habitats. Wingspan 51-56mm.

Can be seen occasionally at Clawford. Best months are July and August.

The main food plants are Bristle Bent, Early Hair Grass, Red Fescue & Tufted Hair-Grass.

Resident. Widespread on the coast and Southern Heaths. Some sites in Devon.

 

 

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COMMON

     

 

 

     

Green Hairstreak.

Habitat. The lower, south facing slopes of Warm, sheltered valley bottoms or scrubby hillsides.  Wingspan 27-34mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best sightings May & June.

Main food plants are Bilberry, Broom, Gorse, Bramble, Buckthorn and Dogwood.

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COMMON

     

 

 

     

Green Veined White.

Habitat. Most habitats. Prefers damp, sheltered areas. The dusky vein markings on the wing  undersides are variable in colour and makes it well camouflaged when roosting.  Wingspan 36-50mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Especially in May, July and August.

Often mistaken for the small white.

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VERY COMMON

       

   

Heath Fritillary.

Habitat. Likes sunny, warm & sheltered habitats in woodland clearings. Wingspan 39-44mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Especially in June and July. Can be seen behind Clawford Lake in the wetlands area.

The main food plants are Common Cow-wheat, Germander Speedwell & Foxglove.

Resident. One of the smaller fritillary's. Flies close to the ground where it flits & glides.

One of our rarest butterflies. Only found on a few sites in South west England.

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VERY RARE

     

 

 

 

 

     

High Brown Fritillary.

Habitat. Bracken dominated areas and grass/bracken mixed areas. Wingspan 55-69mm.

Can be seen occasionally at Clawford during July.

Main food plants are Common Dog-violet and Hairy Violet.

The distinctive underside wing markings of this butterfly is the only way to separate it decisively from the Dark Green Fritillary.

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RARE

     

 

 

 

     

Holly Blue.

A very small Butterfly with a few small black spots across it's wings with a black border. The undersides of the wings are pale blue. Wing Span 26-34mm.

Habitat. Woodlands, Hedge rows, particularly where there is Holly & Ivy. Wingspan 26-34mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford during April, May, July, August & September.

Main food plants are Holly, Ivy, Gorse and bramble.

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VERY COMMON

   

 

     

Large Skipper.

Habitat. grasslands, humid heath land & Damp clearings. Wingspan 29-34mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford Best months are June and July.

Main food plants are Cock's-foot, False Brome, Purple Moor Grass & Wood small-reed.

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VERY COMMON

     

 

 

     

Large White.

The largest white butterfly and a strong flyer. Habitat. Most habitats. Wingspan 58-63mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford best months are May to September.

Also known as the Cabbage white.

Main food plants are cultivated varieties of brassica such as Cabbage and Sprouts.

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VERY COMMON.

   

   

Marbled White.

A distinctive black & white butterfly. Habitat. Unimproved grassland with a range of grass species exists with tall sword that is cut or grazed infrequently. Wingspan 53-58mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in July & August..

Main food plants are Red Fescue, Sheep's Fescue, Tor Grass and Yorkshire-fog.

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COMMON.

       

 

       

Marsh Fritillary.

The Marsh Fritillary is one of our most beautiful and endangered butterflies.

Habitat. Ancient calcareous grasslands, humid heath land & Damp clearings. Wingspan 30-42mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in June.

Main food plants are Devil's-bit scabious, Field Scabious and Small Scabious.

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RARE

     

 

 

     

Meadow Brown.

Habitat. Grasslands, hedgerows & on the edges of Woodlands. Wingspan 40-55mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in numbers, best months are July & August.

Main food plants are Bents, Cock's-foot, Downy Oat-grass and Meadow-grasses.

 

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VERY COMMON

       

     

Orange-Tip.

 

Habitat. A wide range of damp grassy habitats, river, canal, banks of lakes & hedges. Wingspan 40-52mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months are April and May.

The main food plants are Cuckoo flower, garlic Mustard, hedge mustard and Turnip.

 

 

 

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COMMON.

   

 

         

 Painted Lady.  ***

Habitat. Most habitats prefers the Culm grass at Clawford. Wingspan 58-70mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months are June, August & September.

Regular Summer visitor from North Africa. Likes Thistles.

Has been spotted at Clawford in January.

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SUMMER VISITOR

 

 

 

 

Peacock.

Habitat. Can be seen almost anywhere, searching for nectar providing sites. Wingspan 63-68mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford feeding, best months April and July & August.

The Peacock is one of the few butterflies that hibernates in September and over winters as an Adult.

Has a distinctive gliding action.

Likes stinging nettles in woodland glades where it lays it's eggs.

Also like the buddleia and other plants that provide nectar.

Has been spotted at Clawford in January.

 

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VERY COMMON

   

 

   

Purple Hairstreak.

Habitat. In the canopies of Oak trees. Occasionally comes to the ground to feed on flowers. Wingspan 24-28mm.

Can be seen occasionally at Clawford. Best months June, July & August.

Over winters as an egg with caterpillars emerging in March.

This butterfly is illusive to see & is more common than is thought.

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UNCOMMON

     

 

 

 

     

Red Admiral.  ***

Habitat. Most habitats. Wingspan 64-72mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months July, August and September.

Common Summer visitor from continental Europe.

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SUMMER VISITOR

   

 

 

 

Ringlet.

The small circles under the wing gives the butterfly it's name.

Habitat. Damp areas of grassland. Wingspan 40-48mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best month is July.

Main food plant are Cock's-foot, Common Couch, Meadow-grasses & Tufted Hair-grass.

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VERY COMMON

     

 

 

 

     

Silver Washed Fritillary.

Habitat. Lower, south facing slopes of Warm, sheltered valley bottoms or scrubby hillsides. Can be seen on Brambles. Wingspan 69-76mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months July and August.

Sole food plant is Common Dog-Violet.

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COMMON

     

 

 

 

     

Small Copper.

Habitat. Lower, south facing slopes of Warm, sheltered valley bottoms or scrubby hillsides. Can be seen on Brambles. Wingspan 26-36mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford from May to October.

Sole food plant is Common Dog-Violet.

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COMMON

     

 

Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary.

Habitat. Woodland glades and clearings. damp grassland and moorland. Wingspan 35-41mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in June.

Main food plants are Common Dog-Violet and Marsh Violet.

Adults fly close to the ground stopping frequently to take nectar from flowers.

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SCARCE

     

 

     

Small Heath.

Habitat. Grassland where there are fine grasses and moorland. Wingspan 26-34mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months are May & June.

Main food plants are fine grasses, Bents, Fescues and meadow grasses.

Seldom seen with its wings open at rest.

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COMMON

     

   
Small Skipper.

A creature of high summer and are marvellous flyers. When found feeding or basking in the sun they hold their wings in a half open posture.

Habitat. Rough Grassland, woodland margins and field margins. Wingspan 26-40mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best month is July.

Main food plants are Yorkshire Fog, but others grasses such as Timothy, Creeping soft grass , False Broom & Cock's Foot have been used as food plants.

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VERY COMMON

     

 

 

     

Small Tortoiseshell.

Habitat. Very mobile can be seen in most habitats. Wingspan 45-55mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford. Best months, April through to September.

Main food plants are common nettle and small nettle.

The most widespread of our resident species.

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VERY COMMON

   

 

 

Small White.

The Small White is a highly mobile species & each year the resident population is boosted by individuals flying in from mainland Europe.

Habitat. Most habitats but are plentiful in Gardens and Fields. Wingspan 38-57mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford especially between May to September.

Main food plants are cultivated Brasica but large numbers converge on fields of Oil-seed Rape.

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VERY COMMON

   

   

Speckled Wood.

Habitat. Woodlands and Hedgerows. Wingspan 46-52mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford between April and October.

It can over winter either as a chrysalis or a caterpillar.

Main food plants are Cock's foot, Common Couch, False Brome and Yorkshire-fog.

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VERY COMMON

   

   

Wall Brown.

Habitat. Short open grassland where the turf is broken or stony. A coastal species. Wingspan 36-50mm.

Can be seen occasionally at Clawford in August.

Food plants are various grasses. Mainly Tor-grass, Cock's-foot, False Brome & Yorkshire-fog.

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COMMON

     

   

White Admiral.

White banded black wings & a distinctive delicate flight. Wingspan 56-64mm.

Habitat. Shady or mature woodlands with sunny glades & large areas of brambles.

Can be seen regularly all around Clawford throughout July & into August.

A spectacular woodland butterfly who's sole food plant is Honeysuckle usually in shady positions.

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COMMON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood White.

The Wood White is a delicate, slow flying butterfly at an almost constant height and is found usually in sheltered situations, such as woodland rides and scrub edges.

Habitat. Warm, sheltered, damp, old meadows adjoining woodlands. Wingspan 38-42mm.

Can be seen regularly at Clawford in Mid May & throughout June.

The main food plants are Meadow Vetch, Bitter-Vetch, Common Bird's-foot-Trefoil & Tufted Vetch.

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RARE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Butterflies of the United Kingdom.

Adonis Blue.

Resident. A species of chalk down-land where it can be found in warm sheltered spots. Wingspan 30-40mm.

The only food plant of the Adonis Blue is Horseshoe Vetch.

Despite it's restricted distribution can be seen in many hundreds on good sites.

 

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RARE

     

 

     

Black Hairstreak.

Resident. Range stable after a steady decline. Wingspan 34-39mm.

The main food plants are the Blackthorn and Wild Plum.

The black Hairstreak is one of our most illusive butterflies found only in thickets of Blackthorn in a small part of the East Midlands.

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COMMON LOCALLY

     

 

 

 

 

     

Black-Veined White.  **

This impressive butterfly became extinct in the UK in 1920's. Wingspan 69-76mm.

The Blackthorn and the Hawthorn were their main food plants.

This species particularly like orchards and are a significant orchard pest in some parts of it's range.

Brown Argus.

This small butterfly likes southern chalk & limestone grassland but it occurs in other open habitats as far North as Wales & Yorkshire.  Wingspan 24-28mm.

Resident. Range expanding.

The main food plants are the Common Rock Rose, Dove's-Foot & Common Stork's-bill.

The adults have a silvery appearance as they fly close to the ground and stop frequently to feed or perch on flowers.

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COMMON LOCALLY

     

 

     

Camberwell Beauty.

A rare immigrant. Wingspan 76-86mm.

Is normally only be seen on the East Coast counties of England.

2006 was a good year, as 80 reports of sightings have been recorded.

 

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RARE VISITOR

     

     

Chalkhill Blue.

The male chalk hill blue is paler and larger than the Large Blue, and larger than other blue butterflies seen in Britain.

Habitat. Chalk and Limestone grassland. Wingspan 33-40mm.

Resident. Range declining in some areas.

The Sole food plant is Horseshoe Vetch.

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CAUSE FOR CONCERN.

     

 

 

 

     

Duke of Burgundy.

Habitat. Scrubby Grasslands, Oak-lands/Hazel Woods. Wingspan 29-32mm.

The main food plants are Cowslip, Primrose and False Oxlip.

Small Butterfly. Females are illusive always resting or flying close to the ground.

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RARE

     

 

 

 

     

Glanville Fritillary.

Habitat. Localised to South Wales, Isle of Wight and Hampshire. Wingspan 38-46mm.

The sole food plant is Ribwort Plantain.

 

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RARE

     

 

 

 

     

Grizzled Skipper.

Habitat. southern chalk down lands & other sparsely vegetated habitats.  Wingspan 23-29mm.

The main food plants are Bird's-foot-trefoil & Bugle.

Resident. Occurs across southern England, commonly in small colonies. 

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COMMON

     

 

 

     

Large Chequered Skipper.

Habitat. Sheltered, damp grassland dominated by Purple Moor-grass. Wingspan 29-31mm.

The main food plants are Purple Moor-grass, Common Reed, False Brome and Purple small reed.

Extinct in mainland UK.One small colony on North Jersey. Bouncy flight pattern.

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VERY RARE

     

 

 

 

 

     

Large Copper.  **

Habitat. wetlands, fens. Wingspan 44-48mm.

The sole food plant is Water Dock.

Has been extinct for +150 years. Attempt have been made to re-introduce the Large Copper on the Norfolk broads but have failed.

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VERY RARE

     

 

 

 

     
Large Heath.

Habitat. Wet boggy area's in Northern Britain.  Wingspan 35-40mm.

The main food plant's are Hares Tail, Common Cotton-grass and  Jointed Rush.

This butterfly has declined seriously in England & Wales but is still widespread in parts of Island and Scotland.

 

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CAUSE FOR CONCERN

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Large Tortoiseshell. **

This large mobile butterfly is very rarely seen and is believed to be extinct in Britain. Recent sightings are thought to be of released or escaped individuals or migrants from continental Europe. Wingspan 68-72mm.

Adults are recorded, mainly in Spring, when they emerge from hibernation and feed on Willow flowers. the least disturbance, they will soar rapidly into the tree tops for cover.

Mazarine Blue.  **

Became extinct in the UK at the beginning of the twentieth Century. Wingspan 32-36mm.

The sole food plant is Red Clover.

 

Likes a range of flowery habitats, particularly meadows and un-improved pasture at a variety of altitudes.

 

 

Monarch.

Rare Migrant. Breeds in open flowery habitats including meadows, dry & damp pasture.  Wingspan 95-100mm.

The sole food plant is Milkweeds.

It occasionally crosses the Atlantic to reach Europe. In common with many other migrants, it has particular years of abundance in Britain and sightings appear to be increasing in frequency.

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RARE

     

 

 

 

 

Pale Clouded Yellow.

A rare visitor to Britain. It is rare & absent most years but sometimes arrives in numbers & breeds here although is is unlikely to survive our Winters. Wingspan 52-56mm.

Habitat. Fields with abundant food plants but can be seen in most habitats.

The main food plant's are Clovers and Lucerne.

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RARE VISITOR

     

 

 

   

Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Resident. Range declining in England and Wales. Wingspan 38-46mm.

One of the earliest Fritillaries to emerge. It flies close to the ground, stopping regularly to feed on Flowers such as Bugle.

Habitat. Woodland Clearings, rough hill sides and mosaics of grass.

The main food plant's are Common Dog-violet and Marsh Violet.

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RARE

     

 

 

     

Purple Emperor.

Probably, the most sought after by butterfly watchers and photographers.

Habitat. Large woodlands in Central & Southern England. Wingspan 70-92mm.

The main food plant's are Goat Willow, Crack-willow and Grey Willow.

Breeds on Grey Willow.

Colonies are generally small but individuals have a range which covers several hectares.

 

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GREAT RARITY

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Queen of Spain Fritillary.

An uncommon visitor to Britain despite having a migratory habit and the presence of permanent colonies across the English Channel. Wingspan 34-52m.

Habitat. A diverse range of habitats in continental Europe.

Main food plants are Violets and pansies.

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RARE MIGRANT

     

 

 

   

Silver Studded Blue.

Habitat. This small butterfly is found mainly in lowland heath land, calcareous grasslands and sand dunes in coastal Habitats. It sometimes occurs in bogs. Wingspan 26-32mm.

Main food plants are Bell Heather, Common Bird's-Foot-trefoil, Gorses, cross-leaved Heath and Horseshoe Vetch.

Has a restricted distribution but can occur in large numbers in suitable habitats.

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COMMON

     

 

 

 

 

     

Small Blue.

Our smallest resident butterfly. Because of it's size & dusky colouring is easily overlooked. The butterfly lives in small colonies & is declining in most areas.  Wingspan 18-27mm.

Habitat. Dry sheltered grassland where Kidney Vetch grows.

Sole food plant is Kidney Vetch. Range declining.

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CAUSE FOR CONCERN

     

 

 

 

     

Swallowtail.

One of our rarest & most spectacular butterflies.  Wingspan 76-83mm.

Habitat. Sedge, Reed and Grassland in Southern England.

Feeds solely on Milk-parsley.

The British species (britannicus) is a specialist of the wet fenlands, there are also records of migrants from the continent.

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GREAT RARITY