Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment

Butterfly Conservation Sussex 2018 Christmas Quiz

Explanation of answers by Martin Kalaher

Within Sussex BC membership there is a wide range of experience and knowledge, and so compiling a quiz for everyone has its difficulties. This year I have graded the questions so that most of the first 15 should be relatively straightforward but to balance this, most of the last 15 are intended to be challenging (and you’ve guessed it, most of the rest are somewhere in between). I have provided an explanation for each question which I hope you will find useful. You can read them or skip them for no one will know! For those who wish to learn more, my references are "The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland" (Jeremy Thomas & Richard Lewington) and "The Butterflies of Sussex" (by our very own Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme).

I have chosen the photographs and compiled the questions, and so if there are any mistakes, they are mine and mine alone. Ed Jnr has done all the clever stuff with the computer. Thanks Jonathan.

Question 1
A. Identify this pair of mating butterflies (perched on White Honesty).:



B. Where are you most likely to find this species?


Answer: Green-veined Whites can be seen in damp pastures and woodland rides
Explanation:  These are Green-veined Whites and they are most likely to be seen in damp pastures and woodland rides. This butterfly species has a rather weak, fluttering flight and generally avoids very open spaces, seeking out flower-rich areas that are both sunny and sheltered. 
Question 2
A. Identify this brown butterfly, which is nectaring in a wildflower meadow.:



B. What larval food plants are typically used by this species?


Answer: Meadow Brown and a variety of medium and fine-leaved grass species are the larval food plants
Explanation: This Meadow Brown is nectaring on Greater Knapweed. A variety of medium and fine-leaved grass species are eaten by the caterpillars, including meadow-grasses, bents and rye-grasses. The eggs are both fixed to blades of grass but also just squirted out, sometimes in flight. 
Question 3
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Name this South American plant, which is highly recommended by BC


Answer: Small Tortoiseshell and Verbena Bonariensis is the South American plant
Explanation: I think this one must be a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on Verbena Bonariensis. This common UK garden plant is native to tropical South America where it grows throughout most of the warm regions, from Colombia and Brazil to Argentina and Chile. It comes into flower in late summer and continues well into the autumn, providing much needed nectar when so many of our native wildflowers have long since "gone to seed". It is in the "top ten" butterfly plants recommended by BC. 
Question 4
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In springtime, where are you most likely to see one?


Answer: In springtime a Comma is most likely to be found in a sunny woodland-ride
Explanation: This is a late-summer Comma nectaring on Verbena Bonariensis. Although Commas are often seen in gardens in late summer (nectaring on Buddleia and other garden plants), it is essentially a woodland species and in springtime it is most readily found in a sunny woodland-ride . 
Question 5
A. Identify this butterfly.:



B. Where would one expect to find this species in greatest abundance?


Answer: Female Common Blues are most likely to be found in wildflower meadows
Explanation: This is one of those "mostly-blue" female Common Blues and one would hope to find plenty more-of-the-same in a wildflower meadow. The upper-surface of both female Adonis Blue and female Chalkhill blue are predominantly brown (not blue). Before examining the complexities of pattern and colour one should look at the outer white fringe and if it isn't clearly chequered (bold black marks right across the outer fringe) we may remove both Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue from the reckoning. 
Question 6
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, how many months of the year might it be possible to see this species?


Answer: Brimstone may be seen in all 12 calendar months
Explanation: Both Clouded Yellow and Brimstone are very adept at finding a background of pale-green/yellow within which they can merge and find refuge. On shape, alone, one can readily identify this butterfly as a Brimstone. Even in the depth of winter, a bright sunny day may entice this species to temporarily abandon its hibernation, and therefore Brimstones may be seen in any month of the year and so 12 months is the correct answer. 
Question 7
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In recent years, and on the very best sites in Sussex, what numbers have been recorded per square kilometre of chalk grassland?


Answer: Marbled White have been recorded at 3-4,000 per square kilometre
Explanation: I think this must be a Marbled White and as outrageous as it may seem, 3-4,000 were recorded on 19/07/2016, at Chantry Hill (and this fabulous chalkland site is approximately one square kilometre). My principal aim was to count the colony of Dark Green Fritillaries (of which there were 212) but since I was on site I did a general count, which included 3-4,000 Small Skippers and 3-4,000 Marbled White. 
Question 8
A. This is a meadow skipper but which one?:



B. What is its sex?


Answer: Female Large Skipper
Explanation:  The upper-surface of the forewing of both Small Skipper and Essex Skipper are fairly-similar with a uniform background colour of orange/brown (depending on species and sex), and with straight, regular, fine dark veins. The background colour of a Large Skipper is much darker, mostly brown with a lot less orange, and it has a "broken" pattern, lacking the uniformity of the other two species. Large Skippers also have a very broad, irregular band of dark brown on the rear edge of the forewings. The antennae of Large Skippers are very distinctive, with a fine hook at the tip. As this butterfly has no sex brands it must be a female, Large Skipper. 
Question 9
A. This Small Copper is laying an egg. What is the larval food plant?:



B. In Sussex, how many broods are there, annually?


Answer: Common Sorrel is the Small Copper larval food plant and they have three broods
Explanation: This Small Copper is laying an egg on Common Sorrel. This species also uses Sheep's Sorrel as an alternative larval food plant. In Sussex we are accustomed to having three broods, annually, and interestingly it is sometimes the third brood that is the most numerous. It isn't unusual to record this butterfly well into November. 
Question 10
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In a by-gone era, anyone who "tilled the soil" would probably recognise many of the annuals in their cereal fields. Name this one.


Answer: Small Skipper and Corn Cockle is the annual plant
Explanation: The antennae tips of these three meadow skippers are very distinctive and if they show well in a photograph they may provide us with an identification, more-or-less straightaway. This butterfly has "club-shaped antennae" and the tip of the right antenna is orange, therefore It must be a Small Skipper. The tips of Essex Skippers are also club-shaped but are jet black. Large Skippers have very dark antennae tips with a fine hook at the end. Otherwise: the outer half of the hindwing is a non-patterned grey, lacking the irregular “cobblestone” pattern of Large Skippers. Looking at the under-surface of the forewing, there is a clear demarcation of orange-to-grey as the apex of the wing is approached (with Essex Skipper this interface is more diffuse).

It may seem a bit mean to include wildflowers in a butterfly quiz but as insects and plants are so inter-dependent it is probably not unreasonable to throw into the mix the occasional British-native wildflower. The flower heads of all three plant-species mentioned could be regarded as superficially similar but for those who are familiar with our wildflowers Corn Cockle does have a very distinctive flower head. Other than visual recognition there is a clue in the question as Corn Cockle is the only annual of the three plants listed (Pink Field Bindweed and Bloody Cranesbill are both perennials).  
Question 11
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In the absence of a tempting patch of cabbages, what common hedgerow plant might tempt this species to lay its eggs?


Answer: Small White may lay its eggs on Garlic Mustard
Explanation: The outside of the hindwing is flushed with green (probably exaggerated by the computer software) but there are no green veins, so I think we can forget Green-veined White. Large Whites have very black tips to the forewings, whilst this individual has more of a faded-dark-grey wingtip and so I think it must be a Small White. This species does like cultivated cabbages but is happy enough with members of the "wild cabbage family" and therefore Garlic Mustard is the correct answer. I am not aware of any butterflies laying eggs on Herb Bennet, but Common Sorrel is the preferred larval food plant for Small Copper. 
Question 12
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. At what stage of development does this species over-winter?


Answer: Large White over-winters as a Chrysalis
Explanation: Of the three named white butterflies it is only Large White that has extensive black to the wing-tip of the forewing. The other two species have a small amount of grey to the forewing tips. Large Whites over-winter as a chrysalis.  
Question 13
A. Identify this common spring butterfly:



B. What is its sex?


Answer: Male Orange-tip
Explanation: Not too many Bath Whites are seen in Sussex and Green-veined Whites do have green veins, and so I think this must be an Orange-tip perched on Common Sorrel. At rest the forewings are usually fully concealed by the camouflaged hindwings, which are heavily mossed with green. This individual has a tiny piece of wing missing on the top edge towards the apex, and therefore a small area of the tip of the forewing can be seen. As this small revealed area of the forewing is coloured orange this butterfly must be a male (as only the males have orange tips). 
Question 14
A. Identify this Meadow Skipper:



B. Emergence dates vary considerably from one-year-to-the-next but for similar butterfly species there is often a well-recognised order of emergence. For the three species listed, when you would expect this butterfly to emerge?


Answer: Essex Skipper is the last to emerge
Explanation: These are club-shaped antennae tips that look as they have been dipped in black ink, so I think we can safely identify this as an Essex Skipper. The very similar Small Skipper always has some orange in the tip and Large Skippers have dark tips with a fine hook at the end. For many butterfly species the emergence dates for any given year are largely dictated by spring weather and consequently can vary by as much as 4-5 weeks from one-year-to the-next. However, the order of emergence for many butterfly species will usually remain the same, and so with the meadow skippers it is Large Skipper that emerges first, followed by Small Skipper and then Essex Skipper and so the correct answer is the last to emerge. 
Question 15
A. Identify this butterfly.:



B. Which of the following might be considered a typical larval food plant?


Answer: Green Hairstreak and Common Rock-rose
Explanation: This is a very green butterfly, so I think it must be a Green Hairstreak. The hairstreak for this species is usually a series of white dashes in a line across the hindwing, but there is considerable variation and this individual has just a single dot. This butterfly is perched high up on a white-flowered Rhododendron bush, which is not where you would usually go looking for Green Hairstreak! This is not a common species in Sussex but there are some decent-size colonies on downland, where Common Rock-rose is its usual larval food plant. Several of our native butterfly species do lay their eggs on Common Nettle and many butterflies seek out Common Fleabane, but only for its nectar. 
Question 16
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. What is its larval food plant?


Answer: The Small Blue's larval food plant is Kidney Vetch
Explanation: Silvery-grey undersides with a scattering of delicate black spots recalls Small Blue and Holly Blue. As the wings are slightly separated we can see the upper surface, which is a uniform charcoal-blue – so this must be a Small Blue. The superficially-similar but much larger Holly Blue is a uniform cobalt-blue on the upper surface with varying amounts of black edging, according to its sex. The sole larval food plant for Small Blues is Kidney Vetch. 
Question 17
A. Identify this butterfly (there are several dozen colonies of this medium-large fritillary, in Sussex).:



B. Which well-known Sussex butterfly site contains a large colony, which in a good year may have a daily count exceeding 200?


Answer: Dark Green Fritillary can be found on Chantry Hill in large numbers
Explanation: The hindwing is suffused with olive-green and there is a scattering of large, off-white spots. In just a few locations in the UK, the High Brown Fritillary may need to be considered but in Sussex this can only be a Dark Green Fritillary. In recent years Chantry Hill has emerged as one of the best locations in Sussex to see this Fritillary with a daily count of 212 recorded in the summer of 2016. 
Question 18
A. Identify this mating pair of butterflies.:



B. Where are you most likely to see this butterfly species?


Answer: Gatekeepers are usually found on hedgerows
Explanation: With just a single photograph to view, these three orange-brown butterflies can look very similar. Scrutinising the forewing, there are three main features: a dark-brown band around the edge of the wing, a central core of dark orange and a very large eye-spot. Small Heath has a background of pale orange and a small eye-spot and so can be removed from the reckoning. The "spots" on the hindwing readily differentiates between the remaining two species as Meadow Brown has a very variable number of black spots, whereas Gatekeeper always has a distinctive row of white spots. This species may be found on any sun-exposed hedgerow in Sussex and in my younger day was referred to as Hedge Brown. 
Question 19
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Why does this butterfly species struggle to breed in this county?


Answer: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and the change of woodland practices in the past 50 years or so has led to its decline
Explanation: In Sussex these three uncommon/rare butterflies are associated with very different habitats and therefore "in the field" there is unlikely to be too much confusion with ID. However, in this artificial situation and with just a single photograph to assess there is plenty of scope for confusion, as all three butterflies, with wings folded, can look superficially similar. The seven silver "pearls" along the rear edge of the hindwing holds the key. Both Pearl-bordered and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary have these seven silver "pearls" but the former has just two bright patches of silver on either side of a central pentagonal cell that houses a black dot, whilst the latter has a larger black spot in this cell, which is surrounded by seven or eight patches of silver. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries lay their eggs on lush clumps of violets which may be found 3-4 years after an area of woodland has been cleared. Woodland management has changed dramatically since the Second World War resulting in very little woodland that is regularly coppiced, and consequently many woodland species have gone into serious decline. The correct answer is therefore "change of woodland practices in the past 50 years or so". 
Question 20
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. At what stage of development does this species over-winter?


Answer: Purple Hairstreak over-winters as an egg
Explanation: If one is lucky enough to have a close view of a Purple Hairstreak it is easy to identify, as it is the only British hairstreak to have an eye-spot on the underside, next to the short tail. This eye-spot is found in both sexes. All three hairstreaks, listed above, over-winter in the egg stage of development: Purple Hairstreak lays its eggs on Oak, White-letter Hairstreak on Elm and Brown Hairstreak on Blackthorn (and occasionally Bullace). 
Question 21
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, what is its principal larval food plant?


Answer: Common Blue and Common Birdsfoot Trefoil is its principal larval food plant
Explanation: As there is no chequered fringe, we can rule out Adonis Blue. The white outer fringe and bold orange lunules would do nicely for both male Common Blue and male Brown Argus. Looking at the head and thorax, the intensity of the pale blue would probably lean us towards male Common Blue, but the clincher comes when we examine the dots, for there is no “figure of eight” on the hindwing and there is a dot on the inner half of the forewing, and so this is a male Common Blue. In Sussex, the principal larval food plant is Common Birdsfoot Trefoil. Horseshoe Vetch and Common Rock-rose are used by Adonis Blue and Brown Argus, respectively. For those interested in our native flora the flowerhead shown in this image is Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil (usually associated with damp locations but seems at home in my dry, sandy garden). 
Question 22
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Which of the following well-known Sussex butterfly sites are you most likely to see one?


Answer: White Admiral may be abundant in Southwater Woods
Explanation: With a bit of wishful thinking one might confuse White Admiral in flight with the much larger Purple Emperor, but when perched the solid white band across the dark brown/black wings is unmistakable. It is a very elegant species of large, mature woodlands where it may be found in glades and sun-exposed woodland rides. It is an uncommon butterfly and even in favoured locations we might be lucky to see just two or three individuals, but there are exceptional years when it is so plentiful that with every ten steps or so, another one appears. When making this statement Southwater Woods comes to mind. The White Admiral in the photograph is nectaring on Bramble and when looking for this species it is isn't a bad idea to seek out patches of Bramble in a sunny woodland-ride and stay there for a few minutes to see what comes along. 
Question 23
A. Identify this mating pair of butterflies:



B. Which of the following well-known Sussex butterfly sites has a large colony?


Answer: A large colony of Duke of Burgundy may be found at Heyshott Down
Explanation: With wings folded all three species are superficially similar, with large blocks of white on an orange background. Both Pearl-bordered and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary have seven silver "pearls" along the rear edge of the lower underwing. The butterflies in the photograph have numerous blocks of white but not along the rear edge of the hindwing, therefore both "pearls" may be removed from the reckoning. These are a mating pair of Duke of Burgundy and Heyshott Down is arguably the best site in Sussex to see this species. Pearl-bordered Fritillary is strongly associated with Rewell Wood and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary with Park Corner Heath/Rowland Wood. 
Question 24
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Which of the following may be used as a larval food plant?


Answer: Brown Argus larvae may feed on Dove's-foot Crane's-bill
Explanation: The body hairs of this individual are a mixture of white, grey and blue and therefore we are looking at a "blue" butterfly, but which one? Beginning with the white outer fringe there are bold dark lines, some of which traverse the whole of the fringe, but are they fine lines or broad chequered markings? I would say "fine lines" and so this leans towards Brown Argus, whereas if "broad chequered" then we would be considering the other two options. Then moving in from the outer fringe there is a row of bold orange lunules, but this is a feature of all the species listed. The clincher must be the figure-of-eight which can be seen mid-way on the leading edge of the forewing and therefore we are looking at a Brown Argus. On downland sites its larval food plant is Common Rock-rose but away from "the chalk" a variety of wild Geraniums are used, including Dove's-foot Crane's-bill. 
Question 25
A. Identify this butterfly which was photographed on 13th August at Chantry Hill.:



B. Name its sole larval food plant.


Answer: Chalkhill Blue and the larval food plant is Horseshoe Vetch
Explanation: Common Blue does not have a chequered fringe and so may be removed from the reckoning. Female brown Argus does have black lines that traverse the white outer fringe, but these are generally much finer. When considering Brown Argus there should be an obvious "figure-of eight" mid-way on the leading edge of the hindwing. This butterfly does not have a "figure-of-eight" and so it cannot be a Brown Argus. This butterfly does have a "broad chequered" white outer fringe and is a Chalkhill Blue and as the background colour is a rather uniform dark brown, I think it must be a female. This individual is perched (and presumably roosting) on Marjoram. The sole larval food plant for Chalkhill Blue is Horseshoe Vetch. 
Question 26
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. At what stage of development does this species over-winter.


Answer: Speckled Wood over-winters sometimes as a caterpillar and sometimes as a chrysalis
Explanation: The chocolate and cream markings of Speckled Wood are so distinctive it would be difficult to confuse with any other Sussex species, but with folded wings and in "camouflage mode" it becomes a little bit trickier. Uniquely amongst British butterflies Speckled Wood may over-winter as a caterpillar or a chrysalis, which results in two early peaks of emergence in mid-May and early June. A few early adults may be seen in March and then the combination of overlapping generations and three broods means that this butterfly has a very long flight period. It is most abundant in late August/early September but can still be seen on the wing much later in the year, sometimes even into December. 
Question 27
A. Identify this mating pair of butterflies.:



B. Where are you most likely to see this this species in some abundance?


Answer: Large numbers of Wall Brown may be found at High and Over
Explanation: Both Wall Brown and Ringlet have underwing "rings" or "eyespots" but Grayling does not and therefore may be removed from the reckoning. Ringlet has a rather uniform medium brown background colour whilst Wall Brown has dull coloured hindwings with a "complex broken pattern" which provides it with perfect camouflage, when at rest on the ground. Paraphrasing Bob Eade from "Sussex species" on the BC website "the strongest colonies can be found along the tops of the South Downs, particularly Windover Hill, Bo Peep, High and Over, Woodingdean, Mill Hill, Steyning Rifle Range and Lancing. Numbers drop off considerably well before Arundel". Therefore, of the three sites listed it is High and Over where this species may be quite numerous. There is a very small colony at Chantry Hill, with only the occasional Wall Brown seen at Heyshott Down. 
Question 28
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, what is its principal larval food plant?


Answer: Large Skipper's larval food plant is Cock's-foot
Explanation:  In this image we have a full view of the underside of the hindwing and a partial view of the forewing. The background colour is mostly brown (with just a little orange) and there is a "cobblestone" pattern, which means that this is a Large Skipper. The underside of the hindwing of both Small and Essex Skipper is mostly a non-patterned grey (not brown), with also some orange as background colour. These three meadow skippers have distinctive antennae tips and given a reasonable view may be readily differentiated. In this photograph the right antenna is too "blurred" to be of help, but the left antenna is in reasonable focus. There is a substantial amount of orange in the tip of this left antenna and it ends in a very fine tip. Essex Skipper have black tips (with no orange) and Small Skippers have club-shaped antennae tips (with no fine hook at the end). Further corroboration that this is a Large Skipper. On most soils egg-laying is restricted to Cock's-foot, large clumps growing in open ground being preferred. The eggs are laid on the under surface of the blades of grass. On wet, acid soils, Purple Moor-grass is usually the main food plant. Occasional alternatives are False Brome, Tor-grass and Wood Small-reed. 
Question 29
A. This photograph was taken on August 16th. Identify this butterfly.:



B. What is its larval food plant?


Answer: Silver-spotted Skipper's larval food plant is Sheep's Fescue
Explanation: With all those lovely bold spots I think this must be a Silver-spotted Skipper, perched (and presumably nectaring) on Marjoram. When this species first emerges in late July/early August there is some room for confusion with a very fresh, very bright Large Skipper, with its "cobblestone pattern" of the under-wing. However, the single-brooded Grizzled Skipper has long since disappeared and if you manage to find a second-generation Dingy Skipper on August 16th you should award yourself a gold star! Dingy Skippers do not have large, bold spots on the underwing and when nectaring on flowerheads they have partially-open or fully-open wings (and one cannot usually see the under-wings). The sole larval food plant for Silver-spotted Skipper is Sheep's Fescue. For those unfamiliar with this grass species look for it at the upper edge of a chalk scree, where grazing animals or rabbits have caused the chalk turf to collapse. It is a diminutive species with very fine stems and struggles to compete with other grass species. However, it does flourish "on the margins" and is quite remarkable in its ability to cope with unremitting heat and drought. 
Question 30
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. What is its sex?


Answer: A male Purple Emperor
Explanation: I think this must be a male Purple Emperor feeding on something rather dubious! Although both sexes feed on aphid honeydew and tree sap, it is only the males that descend to the ground to feed on dung and rotting flesh. In warm weather females may also leave the canopy and come to ground, but for their part it is only to quench their thirst. 
Question 31
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, what is its principal larval food plant?


Answer: Silver-washed Fritillary's larval food plant is Common Dog Violet
Explanation: High Brown and Dark Green Fritillaries can be puzzling but since the nearest colony of High Brown Fritillaries is 100s of miles away we can reasonably remove it from a Sussex quiz. The underwing of the fritillary shown, is a "watercolour wash of delicate greens and silver streaks" and identifies it as a Silver-washed Fritillary. Although this is a woodland species, it does regularly venture forth and may be seen in parks and gardens. The underwing of Dark Green Fritillaries is quite different, with large clear-cut silver patches on a background suffusion of green. In Sussex, the principal larval food plant for Silver-washed Fritillary is Common Dog Violet. 
Question 32
A. Identify this butterfly (the photograph was taken on August 25th):



B. This species has a long flight period, but how many broods may be recorded annually?


Answer: Small Heath can have three broods
Explanation: These three "browns" should not cause too much confusion "in the field" but a single photograph can be tricky. This is the diminutive Small Heath, perched on the seed head of Musk Mallow, a beautiful native plant of mid-summer (with a few still flowering in late August). The date is helpful for whilst there may be fresh specimens of Meadow Brown in late August, any Gatekeepers that are still around are likely to be very worn. The undersurface of the forewing of a Small Heath is largely orange with a grey surround at the apex and rear edge. It has a small eye-spot compared to the larger eye-spots for both Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. At rest all these three "browns" rely on camouflage to keep them safe from predation and unsurprisingly have rather similar markings of the hindwing. With Small Heath there is more of a contrast of the very dark brown of the inner hindwing compared to a mixture of greys, off-white and browns of the outer half of the hindwing. There are six brown rings with a white dot in the centre of each dot, but not every photograph will show this clearly. Small Heaths have a complicated growth pattern with overlapping broods. Early adults typically emerge mid-to-late April with a first peak in late May/early June. There is a second peak in the second half of August and in warm years a third brood in the autumn. In total, it has a very long flight period. 
Question 33
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. With which native tree species is it strongly associated?


Answer: White-letter Hairstreaks are associated with Elms
Explanation: These three Hairstreaks spend most of their time high up in the canopy of trees, where they are distant and difficult to see clearly. We need them to come down closer to get a better view, which does happen occasionally when they seek out nectar-rich plants such as thistles. White-letter Hairstreaks have a single very white "hairstreak" (in the shape of a "W") that traverses the hind-wing, with a wide block of orange (with black markings) that extends across the rear edge. In Sussex, this species is strongly associate with British Elm (on which they lay their eggs) but elsewhere Wych Elm is often preferred. 
Question 34
A. Identify this butterfly (the photograph was taken on August 21st):



B. Which "Master Tree" is typically used by the males?


Answer: The Master Tree for Brown Hairstreak is usually Ash
Explanation: This is a Brown Hairstreak and the "Master Tree" typically used by this species is Ash (although Oak, Hedge Maple and other native species are sometimes used). Both White-letter Hairstreaks and Purple Hairstreaks have a single hairstreak on the underside of the hindwing, whereas Brown Hairstreaks have two hairstreaks, which are more-or-less parallel to each other. The date also provides a good clue, for August 21st is a good time to see Brown Hairstreaks in pristine condition whilst the season (in this county) for the other two hairstreaks is long since over (and should a late straggler be recorded, it is likely to be in a very tatty condition). 
Question 35
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, what is its usual larval food plant?


Answer: Grizzled Skipper's larval food is Wild Strawberry
Explanation: We don't usually view Grizzled Skippers from this angle but whether viewed from above or below this butterfly has a bold black-and-white fringe with well-defined scattered blocks of white on a charcoal background. The background colours of Dingy Skipper are a complex mix of greys and brown, with very little white. As for Silver-spotted Skipper, the background colours are a mix of medium and dark browns and it does not have a "bold, black-and-white fringe". In Sussex, the usual larval food plant is Wild Strawberry. 
Question 36
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Which of the following well-known Sussex butterfly sites has a strong population of this species?


Answer: Mill Hill is a stronghold for Adonis Blue
Explanation: The white outer fringe has a bold chequered pattern and therefore of the three choices on offer it must be a female Adonis Blue. Common Blues do not have a chequered fringe and although female Brown Argus do have black lines traversing the outer fringe they are much finer lines when compared to the broad markings of both Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue. When considering Brown Argus, we should be able to see a "colon" or "figure of eight" mid-way on the leading edge of the hindwing. The absence of this "colon" means that we confidently rule out Brown Argus. Over a period of several years I have managed to see one male Adonis Blue at Kithurst Meadow and one female Adonis Blue at Chantry Hill (although I note that quite a few second-brood Adonis Blue were recorded at Kithurst Meadow in 2018). Mill Hill is one of the best Sussex sites for Adonis Blue and in a good year we may hundreds of these brilliant-blue butterflies. 
Question 37
A. Identify this egg-laying butterfly.:



B. Name the plant.


Answer: Holly Blue and Dogwood is the plant
Explanation: Head-on views provide us with very limited visual clues but in this image the wings are slightly separated and so we can see both the body (which is pale blue with white hairs), and the under-wings (which are white/pale blue with a scattering of black dots near the apices). With Common Blue we are looking for a distinctive row of orange lunules adjacent to the outer fringe of the under-wings and since there are no orange lunules visible we may remove this species from the reckoning. The under-wing of Holly Blue and Small Blue are superficially similar, but the latter has a much darker blue-grey as a background colour and darker body hairs (more blue than white). Other than these rather limited visual clues there is some additional help provided by the two questions. The three British-native plants named are all hedgerow shrubs and of the three butterfly species listed only Holly Blue usually lays its eggs on hedgerow plants such as Holly, Dogwood and Spindle. The female Holly Blue in the photograph is laying an egg on Dogwood (and there is a Dogwood leaf clearly shown in the centre foreground). The hedgerow plants Elderberry and Honeysuckle have been chosen randomly and are not known to be larval food plants for Holly Blue (although I wouldn't be surprised if Elderberry is used occasionally?). Common Blue and Small Blue lay their eggs close to the ground, on Birdsfoot Trefoil and Kidney Vetch, respectively. 
Question 38
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. This butterfly is perched on a sprig of young Hawthorn. If you were to unfurl these young Hawthorn leaves what would you most likely find?


Answer: Speckled Wood and you might find Black ants on the leaves
Explanation: What these three species have in common is a complex, cryptic pattern of the outer surface of the hindwings. This butterfly has a row of prominent rings/dots towards the outer edge of the hindwing. A line of rings/dots is a characteristic of many of the brown butterflies but is absent in Grayling and so this species may be removed from the reckoning. In this photograph the forewing is partially exposed and shows blocks of alternating dark brown and yellow and so this is a Speckled Wood. With a side-profile of Wall Brown the principal background colour of the forewing is orange, with a few irregular brown lines to break it up. The key to answering the second part of the question is noting the extended proboscis, which tells us that this butterfly is nectaring. As there is no flower head the presumption must be that it is feeding on honeydew. Several green aphids were found within the leaves and they were attended by Black ants. This answer is a bit convoluted but once it is apparent that (in the absence of a flower head) this butterfly is nectaring on honeydew, then aphids and attendant ants should hopefully come to mind. 
Question 39
A. There was only one record of a Continental Swallowtail in Sussex, in 2018. Where was it found?:



B. In the UK, what would be considered a typical larval food plant for Continental Swallowtails?


Answer: Continental Swallowtail was seen on a hill-top and the larval food plant is a range of Umbellifers
Explanation: In the past decade, the Sussex records for this magnificent butterfly have been fairly-evenly spread between the South Downs and the coastal plain and usually no more than 10 km inland. The only record for 2018 was for the downland site of Mount Caburn, and so the correct answer is a hilltop. When it comes to egg-laying, the "natural" choices for the Continental Swallowtail are Wild Carrot and Wild Fennel and so a range of Umbellifers is the correct answer. However, Swallowtail caterpillars may also be found in gardens and allotments, munching on carrot-tops, parsnip and rue. Otherwise: Milk Parsley is the sole larval food plant for the British sub-species of Swallowtail (which is only found in the Norfolk Broads) and continental Swallowtails will happily nectar on a whole variety of flowering plants including Field Scabious. 
Question 40
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. What is its favoured larval food plant?


Answer: Essex Skipper and Cock's-foot is the larval food plant
Explanation: With Meadow skippers it is always a good idea to look at the antennae tips first, as they are very distinctive and may reveal a butterfly's ID more-or-less at a glance. The left antenna of this butterfly shows well and is club-shaped and all black. Small Skippers have a varying amount of orange in the tip and depending on the angle of the photograph either appear club-shaped or the shape of a spatula. Large Skippers have dark antennae tips, but they have a fine hook at the end. This is an Essex Skipper, nectaring on Field Scabious. For egg-laying it favours Cock's-foot or Creeping Soft-grass, but Timothy, Tor-grass and False brome are occasionally used. Large Skipper also lays its eggs on Cock's-foot and Small Skipper is restricted to Yorkshire-fog. Sheep's Fescue is not associated with any of the three skipper species mentioned but is used by Silver-spotted Skipper (as its sole larval food plant). 
Question 41
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In northern Europe, on what larval food plant does the female usually lay its eggs?


Answer: Pearl-bordered Fritillary lays eggs on small, young violets
Explanation: Answer: With seven silver "pearls" along the border of the lower underwing and two patches of silver either side of a central pentagonal cell that houses a black dot, this is a Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is similar but has seven or eight patches of white/silver surrounding this central pentagonal cell. The Queen of Spain Fritillary does not possess this central pentagonal cell and the underside of the hindwing is dominated by very large silver patches. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries lay their eggs on small, young violets which may be found in woodland that has been recently coppiced. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries prefer lush clumps of violets and in northern Europe, Queen of Spain Fritillaries lay their eggs on both Field Pansy and Wild Pansy. 
Question 42
A. Identify this roosting butterfly:



B. Within our county borders, which larval food plant is most likely to be used?


Answer: Dingy Skipper and Horseshoe Vetch is the larval food plant
Explanation: With a little experience and a lot of patience many butterfly species can be located at dusk but trying to find a roosting Dingy Skipper raises the level of difficulty many times over, such is the perfection of its camouflage. It wraps itself around a dead seed head and as it body temperature cools it assumes the curious posture as shown in this photograph. When seen during the daytime and with its wings held-wide it is not usually a difficult ID, although with ageing it can become more-and-more “moth-like” and this may cause confusion. One diagnostic feature which can be seen, regardless of fading, is the row of off-white dots next to the outer fringe (I liken it to a string of small beads). They are present on all four wings and stand out very well, whether viewing from above or below. In most parts of the UK the principal larval food plant is Birdsfoot Trefoil, but as the largest of the Sussex populations are found on chalk it seems likely that within our county borders Horseshoe Vetch is most likely to be used. Since that involves a bit of guesswork (on my part) I decided to avoid controversy and omit any reference to Birdsfoot Trefoil, naming Creeping Cinquefoil and Salad Burnet, instead. 
Question 43
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Name the wildflower, on which this butterfly is nectaring


Answer: Male Brown Argus nectaring on Marjoram
Explanation: With wings firmly-closed, the males of these three species may look rather similar. All have a white outer fringe, a row of orange lunules across both the hindwing and forewing, a scattering of black dots fringed with white, and body hairs that are white, grey or blue, or a mixture of all three colours. Male Silver-studded Blues have dark blue body hairs (not the pale grey as seen in this image) and dark blue scales that dominate the inner third of the hindwing, and so this species may be removed from the reckoning. Looking at the distribution of the black dots, there are no obvious dots on the inner half of the forewing and there is a figure-of-eight, situated mid-way on the upper edge of the hindwing. This is a male Brown Argus nectaring on Marjoram (which grows on dry grassland, especially chalk). 
Question 44
A. Identify this butterfly (the photograph was taken on June 30th):



B. At what stage of development does it over-winter?


Answer: Female Dark Green Fritillary over-winters as a caterpillar
Explanation: I suspect that most members (myself included) are not especially familiar with Queen of Spain Fritillary and so the "date clue" has been provided to steer us away from considering this species (which is usually recorded in September/October). Otherwise, all three are medium-large/large fritillary species and if they were seen flying together could provide us with an ID dilemma. This individual is a female Dark Green Fritillary, which usually emerge in the second half of June with numbers peaking in July. In Sussex, we associate this species with favoured downland sites but there are a few woodland colonies in the county and so this species does sometimes fly with Silver-washed Fritillary. At rest Dark Green Fritillaries appear a lot more compact compared the Silver-washed Fritillaries and have much more rounded wings. The female is more heavily marked and generally duller compared to the male and has a pale edge to the rear of both the hindwing and the forewing. On Sussex downland sites Hairy Violet is generally the preferred larval food plant. The female squirts its eggs onto the violet leaves and surrounding vegetation. The eggs hatch after a couple of weeks but the tiny caterpillars do not feed, remaining deep in the vegetation all winter. Therefore, the correct answer to the second part is "over-wintering as a caterpillar". In the unlikely event of a female Dark Green Fritillary and a Valezina-type female Silver-washed Fritillary appearing side-by-side, then that might challenge us for a while! 
Question 45
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. At what stage of development does this species over-winter?


Answer: A slightly-faded female Silver-studded Blue over-winters as an egg
Explanation: Slightly worn specimens can be a be a bit tricky and very worn individuals occasionally almost impossible to ID with certainty! This individual has faded orange lunules on the outer edge of the hindwing and orange smudging on the outer forewings. Since Small Blues do not have orange lunules on the upper surface of their wings, this species may be removed from the reckoning. There are several reasons why one should move away from Brown Argus, but the two outstanding ones are the absence of the black dot in the middle of the forewings and the length and shape of the abdomen. In this individual the body is relatively narrow, and the tip reaches the rear edge of the off-white outer fringe. The abdomen of a female Brown Argus is more noticeably fat with a very pointed tip falling well-short of the outer fringe. If one looks at the photo in its entirety this butterfly is surrounded by a monoculture of wildflowers with a few grass blades criss-crossing the frame. The wildflowers are in bloom and they are Bell Heather, the larval food plant at Iping/Stedham Commons for Silver-studded Blues. This species over-winters as an egg. 
Question 46
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In this county, where might you look for this species?


Answer: Long-tailed Blue usually seen by the seaside
Explanation: It would be rather nice to have regular sightings of Short-tailed Blues in Sussex, but this is a very rare continental immigrant which in the past has been mostly recorded in Dorset and the South West. Purple Hairstreak does have a short tail but is otherwise on the list just to make up the numbers. The background colour of the upper wings of many female blue butterflies is often more brown than blue, as is the case for this female Long-tailed Blue. Although Long-tailed Blues may be found anywhere in Sussex they are most likely to be recorded in coastal towns such as Seaford or in one of our major river valleys, therefore the correct answer is by the seaside. This species lays its eggs on many types of legume but in this county, it is very-closely associated with Everlasting Pea. 
Question 47
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. What is its sex?


Answer: Female Silver-washed Fritillary of the Valezina type
Explanation: This is a female Silver-washed Fritillary of the Valezina type. It is a genetic variation, which is rather uncommon in Sussex but may be seen with some regularity in the New Forest, North Dorset and elsewhere. Queen of Spain Fritillary is a medium-size butterfly and a "typical fritillary", in that it has an orange background with a scattering of black blocks. There are a few sites in Susses where Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary share the same woodland glades and where they do I suspect there could be some room for confusion between a slightly-faded female Dark Green Fritillary and this Valezina variant. 
Question 48
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. In Sussex, where are you most likely to find this species?


Answer: Large colonies of Small Heath may be found on chalk grassland
Explanation: All three of these "brown butterflies" have varying amounts of orange as their background colour. Female Meadow Browns have a substantial orange central panel in the forewing and a small amount of dull orange in the hind-wing. Female Gatekeepers often appear very orange, but the orange panels are always in the centre of both sets of wings, with a broad band of brown around the edges. In this photograph the wings are slightly separated, allowing a teasing glimpse of the upper-wings. All the background colour is pale-orange (no brown or any other colour, to confuse) and therefore of the three options available we can be confident that this a Small Heath. When perched, Small Heath is a closed-winged species but very briefly, the wings do open, very slightly, as for example shortly after landing or when disturbed by another insect. This species is known to wander freely and may be seen in wildflower meadows, along hedgerows or even in our gardens, but in Sussex you are most likely to find a Small Heath on chalk grassland, where on the best sites they may number in the hundreds (and sometimes in the thousands). 
Question 49
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Within our county borders, what is the usual larval food plant?


Answer: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and the larval food plant is Common Dog-violet
Explanation: Most of us do not spend much time looking at butterflies from below, partly because it leaves us with a crick in the neck but mostly because we want to observe and photograph the butterfly in its full glory. With images taken from below the warmth of the colours is significantly reduced and some of the natural beauty also seems to be lost. However, this is question 49 and it is intended to be challenging! If we look at the right hindwing, there is a row of "pearls" along the rear edge and the clincher is the central pentagonal cell, which houses a large black dot. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have just two patches of silver either side of this pentagonal cell, whilst Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have seven or eight and so the correct answer is Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The females seek out lush clumps of violets and in the dryer parts of the UK (including Sussex) Common Dog-violet is the usual larval food plant and in the wetter parts of the UK where Marsh Violet may be the dominant violet species, this becomes the natural choice. 
Question 50
A. Identify this butterfly:



B. Within our county borders, which of the following tree canopies are you most likely to find the males?


Answer: At Ditchling Common it is the Oak which serves as the Master Tree for Black Hairstreak
Explanation: Concentrating on the hindwing this butterfly has three stand-out ID features; a single white wavy hairstreak, a wide orange band which extends along the whole of the rear of the hindwing and a row of black dots lining the inner edge of this orange band. These three features identify this butterfly as a Black Hairstreak. This species may be readily confused with White-letter Hairstreak as the latter also has a wide orange band, but at the inner edge of the orange is a continuous black line and not a row of black dots. The larger Brown Hairstreak does not have "a band of orange with black edging" and always has two hairstreaks on the hindwing (well, one-and-a-half!). Male Black Hairstreaks spend most of their time high up in the canopy of trees, feeding on sweet, sticky, aphid honeydew. Nationally, the tree species that are usually favoured are Field Maple and Ash but at the recently-discovered colony at Ditchling Common it is the Oak which serves as the "Master Tree". 

I hope you have enjoyed the quiz. It has been a lot of fun for Ed Jnr and me, and if you have enjoyed the quiz then please contact one of us and let us know if was pitched about right. If you have ideas of how it might be improved, then air your views.

Martin Kalaher martinkalaher@hotmail.com

Picture credits
Mark Cadey(7,20,31), Katrina Watson (17 ,29,25), Colin Knight (14,36,45), Patrick Moore (16,18,26), Richard Roebuck (22,23,34), Neil Hulme (19,41,44,46,47) Bob Eade (27), Jamie Burston (33), Gary Norman (35), Nigel Symington (30), Keith Wilson (39), John Williams (42), Trevor Rapley (49), David Cook (50). All other pictures by Martin Kalaher.

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