-> 2007 -> Marsh Fritillaries (Butterflies) on Islay

Wednesday, 31/Oct/2007

Marsh Fritillaries (Butterflies) on Islay

Picture of a Marsh Fritillary butterfly

If there is something I know even less about than birds it is probably butterflies. But as Islay is not only a heaven for birds but also for rare butterflies I thought I give it a try and write an entry about them. I don't know if he will read this, it's also a wee leaving present (and a reminder to return to Islay soon) for Michael Coplestone, who told me about the importance of Islay for butterflies. He also inspired me to pick up a brochure ‘Important moth and butterflies of the Argyll Islands’ by Butterfly Conservation Scotland during my recent visit to Islay.

With the help of the brochure I was able to identify the butterfly in the picture above (spotted during our Kilchoman Crags walk in June) as a Marsh Fritillary. Islay, as well as a few other places in Scotland, is very important for this butterfly as The Scotsman also writes in Butterflies are flitting here from the South:

The marsh fritillary, while declining in Europe, appears to be surviving well in coastal areas of Argyll and the islands of Islay, Mull, Jura and Lismore.

Picture of a caterpillar

But the brochure didn't help me to identify the caterpillar in the picture on the left, spotted during the Two Forts Walk in April. A search on the web wasn't entirely successful either. So I'm turning to my readers (in particular Mike, should you be reading this), what type of caterpillar is this? And more importantly, what butterfly will it have developed into, a marsh fritillary? Let me (and others) know in the comments?

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