|Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi). Photo by Christian Fischer|
The Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi) mysteriously became extinct in the UK back in 1925. It is a mystery because the food-plants of its caterpillar are plentiful. The caterpillars feed on Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), and various Prunus (Plum) and Pyrus (Pear) species.
The caterpillars overwinter and it is thought that mild winters in Britain may have led to their demise. Predation by birds and disease are also other suggestions as to why this species has vanished. Its last colony was in south-east England and it had also been established in Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Sussex.
The Black-Veined White, as its name suggests, has white wings veined in black. It lives in colonies and has a liking for orchards. Although it has become extinct in Britain it is still surviving in Portugal, where it has been reported from the south-eastern Algarve area, though it is not common there. This butterfly can be found in some other parts of Europe, in North America and in temperate Asia.
|Nymphalis polychloros Photo by Algirdas|
The Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros) looks very much like a larger version of the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), hence its name, but unlike the smaller species it is very rare in the UK and its caterpillars feed on very different food-plants. While Small Tortoiseshell larvae feed on Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica), those of the Large Tortoiseshell eat the leaves of various trees including Willow (Salix spp), Elm (Ulmus) and the White Poplar (Populus alba).
The Small Tortoiseshell was once a very common British butterfly but has been declining in numbers drastically in recent years, though it is still widely distributed, however, the Large Tortoiseshell has nearly vanished from the UK.
The Large Tortiseshell can still be found in the Cork Oak (Quercus suber) forests of the western Algarve and elsewhere in Portugal at times, though it is uncommon and regarded as a threatened species of butterfly.
|Illustration from John Curtis's British Entomology Volume 5 Bath White in Public Domain|
The Swallowtail Butterfly
|Swallowtail. Photo by Steve Andrews|
Its caterpillar feeds on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Rue (Ruta graveolens).
The Swallowtail is a very rare butterfly in the UK and only lives in the Norfolk Broads area where the caterpillars feed on the Milk Parsley (Peucidanum palustre).