Kentish Glory Omelette

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 22 March 2011 18:06

Here is a pan-species lister conundrum. Can you tick a species just from seeing an egg? It's good enough for a biological record, it's alive (but can you prove that?). I'm not sure. Several years ago, whilst surveying breeding birds in Scotland, we went on a field trip to look for the adult Kentish Glory but the moth's flight season had come early that year and all we found were eggs. We were shown them by the event leaders and we soon found our own Kentish Glory eggs too. I know it's a silly and pedantic question and it might only happen rarely but the only living genetic material I have seen of a Kentish Glory is from its eggs. I guess you could argue that you cannot prove that the eggs are alive as such. I wouldn't hesitate to say I had seen one if I had seen the larvae. So, have I seen Kentish Glory or not? I would be interested to hear what other furious listers think.

5 Response to "Kentish Glory Omelette"

Steve Gale Says:

Interesting one Graeme. I wouldn't say that I've seen a bird if I'd only seen an egg. However, insects are possibly different. Would you allow yourself a leaf miner just by leaf mining activity being seen? Or a snail if you find an empty shell? One for Mr Telfer to adjudicate on I think...

Maurice Gordon Says:

I wasn't too keen on the idea of a moth omelette so on balance I'm quite pleased :)

Graeme Lyons Says:

Steve I do not tick snails from empty shells or insects from leaf mines akine. Obvioulsy they both constitute a record though. Is an immobile pupa any different to an egg?

It also conjures up another question. Does all this have to be witnessed by our primary sense organs, the eyes? For my year list I tick birds if I only hear them but I have not ticked Quail at all as even though I have heard them several times, I have never seen one!

sandbyte Says:

Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation have an ongoing project to plot the distribution of the Brown Hairstreak in Sussex (http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings.html) To achieve maximum hits they are plotting egg sightings since the adult is far more difficult to spot.

Mark Telfer Says:

I think a pan-species lister should take an interest in all life-stages of organisms. So eggs are tickable as long as you've got reasonable grounds for thinking they are alive. Which in the case of Kentish Glory, you have.
By the same toke, if you ever find any sea beans, nickar nuts or other exotic seeds on the strandline, if you can get them to germinate then you can add vagrant plants to your list!

Post a Comment

Nature Blog Network