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Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell (1 Viewer)

CornishExile

rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!
Reported on 3/4 July at Dungeness. Not a species I've any experience of, so am not sure if the pictures (captioned Large Tortoiseshell) on the Obs website are it.

Legs don't seem as buff as I'd expect. White on outer edge of forewing...

http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/faunaframe.html
(Go to Latest Insect Sightings)

I'd have twitched it had I still been in Kent! Far rarer in a UK context than any Sooty Tern nonsense. ;)

ce
 

Adey Baker

Member
I'd be interested to see how they decided it was Yellow-legged - perhaps the photos on their website are not the only ones taken

Not easy to twitch if the news only comes out a week late - although I think the 'Large Tortoiseshell' was reported at the time
 

harry eales

Ancient Entomologist
CornishExile said:
Reported on 3/4 July at Dungeness. Not a species I've any experience of, so am not sure if the pictures (captioned Large Tortoiseshell) on the Obs website are it.

Legs don't seem as buff as I'd expect. White on outer edge of forewing...

http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/faunaframe.html
(Go to Latest Insect Sightings)

I'd have twitched it had I still been in Kent! Far rarer in a UK context than any Sooty Tern nonsense. ;)

ce

Hello CE,

An interesting photograph, at a casual glance it does look more like a Small Tortoiseshell in wing ground colour. However, a study of the size, shape number and position of the black wing spot markings does show it is in fact a Large Tortoiseshell. There are other distinctive features present as well.

Lightening the photograph very slightly does show a more natural Large Tortoiseshell colouring. If you have a photo editing programme try it yourself.

I would be interested to know why it was determined as Yellow-legged L.T. (although I cannot find a reference on the site to it being determined as such as suggested by Adey) as there is one additional forewing wing spot present and the inner costal black spot isn't split by a narrow line of wing ground colour.

Harry
 
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CornishExile

rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!
Thanks Harry, you're confirming I'm not going mad. I'd fiddled around with it on Photoshop, and couldn't make it anything but a Large Tortoiseshell.

In case folk don't know the provenance of the claim, it was on Birdguides yesterday:

15:49 10/07/05 Insect News: Scarce Tortoiseshell ( Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell) Dungeness 3 and 4 July. Perhas (sic) only the 2nd British record of this east European species

Intrigued, I went to the Obs website, and found the details of the Large Tortoiseshell record on the same dates.

Hence my wondering if the illustrated Large Tortoiseshell could possibly be the insect claimed as Yellow-legged, and if so, hoping someone could tell me why it didn't seem as obvious as I'd hoped it would be!

Jon
 

harry eales

Ancient Entomologist
CornishExile said:
Thanks Harry, you're confirming I'm not going mad. I'd fiddled around with it on Photoshop, and couldn't make it anything but a Large Tortoiseshell.

In case folk don't know the provenance of the claim, it was on Birdguides yesterday:

15:49 10/07/05 Insect News: Scarce Tortoiseshell ( Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell) Dungeness 3 and 4 July. Perhas (sic) only the 2nd British record of this east European species

Intrigued, I went to the Obs website, and found the details of the Large Tortoiseshell record on the same dates.

Hence my wondering if the illustrated Large Tortoiseshell could possibly be the insect claimed as Yellow-legged, and if so, hoping someone could tell me why it didn't seem as obvious as I'd hoped it would be!

Jon

Hello John,
Could you please provide me with the URL for the Birdguides website, I'm not into birding, but I would like to see what they say. Cheers.

Harry.
 

robinm

Registered User
Harry, if you are not registered for BG you may not be able to follow a link. This is what the site said yesterday.


Insect News: Scarce Tortoiseshell (Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell) Dungeness 3rd and 4th July. Perhaps only the 2nd British record of this east European species
 

Adey Baker

Member
Adey Baker said:
Not easy to twitch if the news only comes out a week late - although I think the 'Large Tortoiseshell' was reported at the time

Actually, Birdguides reported it on the day after it left!
 

CornishExile

rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!
The plot thickens...

I hear (from an impeccable source 'on the ground') that certain members of an unnamed website have decided that this was Yellow-legged, giving no more reason for the reindentification than the white (not yellow) apical spot.

Which, as my source points out, is a feature that plenty of pictures of Large Tortoiseshell in books and websites also show as white rather than yellow. As he rather neatly puts it, "If, (a very big if, if you ask me) this proves to be a Yellow-legged than the species is likely to be less rare than previously thought."

The Yellow-legged theory is now being pushed hard by the re-identifiers, who are said to have "bombarded various other sites with their view". But it seems that the butterfly wasn't Yellow-legged at the time it was present, and has only subsequently been 'reidentified'.

jon
 

sbooder

an english birder in france
Yellow Legged My *ss! This obsesiion with aberrant forms is utter madness. IT IS A LARGE TORTOISESHELL...the end!

Simon.
 

harry eales

Ancient Entomologist
CornishExile said:
The plot thickens...

I hear (from an impeccable source 'on the ground') that certain members of an unnamed website have decided that this was Yellow-legged, giving no more reason for the reindentification than the white (not yellow) apical spot.

Which, as my source points out, is a feature that plenty of pictures of Large Tortoiseshell in books and websites also show as white rather than yellow. As he rather neatly puts it, "If, (a very big if, if you ask me) this proves to be a Yellow-legged than the species is likely to be less rare than previously thought."

The Yellow-legged theory is now being pushed hard by the re-identifiers, who are said to have "bombarded various other sites with their view". But it seems that the butterfly wasn't Yellow-legged at the time it was present, and has only subsequently been 'reidentified'.

jon

Hello Jon
Thanks for the info. and also a thanks to Robinm, If the specimen seen was the same one as shown in the Photograph, then there is no doubt in my mind that it is nothing more than a Large Tortoiseshell. No one can make it into a Yellow-legged LT. The wing markings are wrong for Y-l LT. The white patch on the costa, near the wing tip is a variable feature that may be white or yellowish brown.

I am old enough to remember Large Tortoiseshell being 'relatively' common in certain areas of southern England, where I was posted when doing my RAF service in the late 1950's. I have also seen several hundred specimens in Museum and private collections. So I do have actual practical experience of seeing a fairly large number of specimens, in the 'flesh' so to speak.

I think the ID of a Y-l LT is a case of wishful thinking.

Harry
 
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harry eales

Ancient Entomologist
mothman said:
This A xanthomelas report has even found its way on to www.migrantmoth.com/recorddate05.htm although it does seem to be accepted with certain reservations.

Colin.

It seems to me, a pity, that certain people are seeking their 'five minutes of fame.' by claiming this specimen to be N.xanthomelas. What is a bigger pity, is that this specimen wasn't netted, anaethsitised and examined more closely.

A better look look at the hindwing markings would have removed all doubt.
Looking at the smaller photograph which is somewhat blurred when enlarged, it is very obvious that the black slash mark which is found on the hindwing of N. xanthomelas inboard and slightly below the main black hindwing spot is totally missing.

The only point of identification that I can see from the photographs, that could possibly indicate N. xanthomelas is the size of the 'swallowtail' on the hindwing, and nothing else.

All the visible evidence with the exception of the 'swallowtail' points to N.polychlorus

As they say in 'Geordie Land'. "If I'm wrong, I'll show my arse in Fenwicks window". ;)

(My humble apologies to those lady members, who may be of a sensitive disposition).

Harry
 

CornishExile

rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!
I know this has been done to death, but there's a couple more pictures of this polychlorus on Surfbirds insect gallery. Use the Search option and enter "Tortoiseshell" in Species, and "Dungeness" in location to save wading through squillions of odonata!

Only one of the photographers seems adamant it's xanthomelas. The other is more open to suggestion.

jon
 
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