Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Not a fritillary
When Becky and I were coming back from visiting the Narrow-leaved Helleborine site last week, what at first sight looked like a small fritillary butterfly got up in front of us. When it settled, we realised it was not a Marsh Fritillary, as it had the wrong pattern and was also a bit small. A very poor photograph (it kept settling the other side of grasses!) enabled me to identify it, once I got home, as a Common Heath Moth Ematurga atomaria. It is a regular daytime flier in grasslands and heaths and has been recorded a few times from Islay before, but, like so many species, is certainly under-recorded.
The one we saw was similar to the one in the accompanying photograph, but it is amazingly variable as can be seen at http://www.eol.org/pages/315665.