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Painted Lady, Tenerife

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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 16:15   #1
Barred Wobbler
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Painted Lady, Tenerife

I was walking along a track at Las Lajas picnic area in Tenerife a couple of weeks ago, when a small - and I mean small - butterfly caught my eye as it flew past me and settled on the path.

Before it flew off I managed a photo, but as I focused I was surprised to see a painted lady, but not the normal-sized painted lady I an familiar with. This one was tiny. Think almost common blue tiny.

Am I missing something?
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 17:35   #2
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Can't be anything else Wobbler, just a runt, the body does look stunted to me even in the pic?
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 17:37   #3
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Indeed a Painted Lady, no doubt about it.
The tiny size occurs occasionally on all butterfly species (potentially) and it has to do usually with the dissecation of the host plants before the larvae can attain full size. This results in dwarf individuals. I've seen this on many species, always very surprising when one sees this. I've seen this occurring (from the top of my head) on Green-veined Whites, Tree Graylings, Wstern Marbled Whites, among others. When this happens with some Lycaenidae species it can create serious ID issues.

Last edited by RafaelMatias : Monday 28th January 2019 at 20:08. Reason: typo
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 17:48   #4
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Originally Posted by RafaelMatias View Post
Indeed a Painted Lady, no doubt about it.
The tiny size occurs occasionally on all butterfly species (potentially) and it has to do usually with the dissecation of the host plants before the larvae can attain full size. This results in dwarf individuals. I've seen this on many species, always very surprising when one sees this. I's seen this occurring (from the top of my head) on Green-veined Whites, Tree Graylings, Wstern Marbled Whites, among others. When this happens with some Lycaenidae species it can create serious ID issues.
When it happens in any group, it can cause head scratching!

I had this, last year in Russia, it was decided in the end that it was a Silver-studded Blue, apart from the minute size, the spots are unusually bold.

I saw a Small Pearl-bordered fritillary last year too which was tiny though it was a second generation which probably contributed?
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 19:54   #5
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I saw a Small Pearl-bordered fritillary last year too which was tiny though it was a second generation which probably contributed?
I would think so, yes. But again connected with a scarcity or dissecation of food plants.
My comment about the Lycaenidae wasn't clear and was made with a specific case in mind: there's an Osiris Blue record from NE Portugal, which might have its origins in a dwarf Mazarine Blue (with underside pattern slightly off).
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 19:57   #6
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Thanks folks. I was thinking it could be a dwarf, and I googled that, but came up with nothing.
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Old Monday 28th January 2019, 21:28   #7
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My old line manager at the NHM used to call them starvlings. I get exactly the same with moths in the autumn in the Balearic Islands, after the long hot summer and before the autumn rains.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 09:27   #8
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My old line manager at the NHM used to call them starvlings. I get exactly the same with moths in the autumn in the Balearic Islands, after the long hot summer and before the autumn rains.
And we in Russia like others last year,, endured an extremely, dry summer so that seems to solidify the point.
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