Silver-spotted Skipper no. 238

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 2 August 2010 16:55

I've been at Malling Down again today finishing of the quadrats but I was distracted continuously by  Silver-spotted Skippers, several even entered my quadrats! There are so many there this year. I saw  this cluster of five butterflies apparently in a mating frenzy! I got a few shots but they are very active little buggers. so I couldn't get too close today. Crispin Holloway is helping a PhD student there to 'mark and recapture' specimens of these butterflies. This can be used to assess the size of the population but also to find out how far these insects are moving. The insects are numbered using a binary like system of different coloured dots in specific locations, the insect shown here had just been marked by Crispin and was number 238. They have marked around 300 specimens so far and recaptured around 10. This does not harm the butterflies and provides important information that can then be fed back into the management process.
Also today I noticed lots of Stripe-winged Grasshoppers, I only ever see/hear these in very dry, short-grassland. It has a very distinct cyclical song, a little like a tiny strimmer! zZzzweezZzweezZzwee.....listen out for them! They have a white mark and large open cells in the wing which are just visible in this photo.
Now, back to the reams of botanical data to be entered...

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