Worcestershire Record No. 25 November 2008 p. 11


Michael Southall

On Saturday the 11th of October 2008 Mike Wakeman discovered a male Long-tailed Blue butterfly in the kitchen of his Redditch home. This constitutes the second record of this species for Worcestershire. The first was discovered by Chris Thompson on the 7th of August 2000 also in his kitchen. This record was written up by Harry Green in issue 9 of the Worcestershire Record.

This rare migrant is seldom recorded in the UK, and then usually in the south. The last natural influx was in October of 2006 when several were recorded on the Scilly Isles and the south coast. The butterfly is found throughout Africa, southern Asia, Australia, Hawaii and southern Europe.

The origin of the Redditch specimen tends to lean towards it being imported with vegetables, as a shopping trip to Tescos had preceded its discovery. It may well have been imported with mange-tout peas from Kenya. The caterpillars’ food plant are members of the legume family, leading to the butterflies alternative name of Peablue. The butterfly was in very fresh condition, including its long tails, which suggests that it had not flown very far.On the other hand, the house patio doors were open and it could have flown in. This year has been quite poor for migrant Lepidoptera in Worcestershire, although two Dark Sword-grass a migrant moths had been trapped in Worcestershire over the relevant weekend. It is impossible to be a hundred percent sure of its origin.

The butterfly was held in captivity for several days, by Steve Whitehouse, enabling local enthusiasts to see and photograph the butterfly. While being photographed on one occasion the butterfly took off and flew strongly over two gardens landing on a conservatory roof. It was eventually released.

Pictures © Mike Southall


GREEN G.H. 2000. Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus in Pershore. Worcestershire Record No. 9, page 24
ASHER J et al 2001. The Millennium Atlas of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press
The Migrant Recorders Network

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