3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today click here

Top tips for spotting butterflies in Hampshire

PUBLISHED: 10:26 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 08 August 2017

The Brimstone

The Brimstone

Archant

There’s nothing wrong with being a butterfly enthusiast, just don’t capture them and stick them into an album. Those days are gone and Tiffany Francis has some simple advice for lovers of these beautiful insects: look but don’t touch

Humans have always been mesmerised by the world of insects. Bumblebees have been discovered in ancient rock paintings dating back to the late palaeolithic era, a fascination which developed over the next 15,000 years into written records, intricate artwork and photography that helped document our expanding knowledge of the insect world. The Victorians were particularly keen entomologists and nurtured a special obsession with Lepidoptera, an order of insect which includes more than 180,000 species of moths and butterflies around the globe.

Their love for collecting butterflies in glittering display cabinets inspired amateurs to continue the hobby far into the twentieth century; the novelist Vladimir Nabokov claimed that ‘had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all.’ Even the popular video game series Pokémon was inspired by insect collecting, a childhood hobby enjoyed by its creator Satoshi Tajiri.

Fortunately for our dwindling insect population, butterfly collecting seems to have lost its charm and most amateur naturalists are more than happy to observe live specimens without feeling the urge to pin them up in macabre parades. We can’t blame our ancestors for their hobbies; without smartphones or portable cameras, how else could they capture the instant joy of a new species? We are also blessed with environmental awareness and appreciate how such hobbies could devastate local ecosystems forever. Nevertheless, butterflies are one of the most fascinating and delightful creatures to discover in the British countryside, particularly in Hampshire where several rare species are drawn to our unique landscape. While it’s no longer clever to collect physical specimens, photography is a fantastic way to ‘collect’ butterfly species without harming populations. All you need is a camera or smartphone, and a guidebook to help you identify your discoveries.

There are 46 species of butterfly in Hampshire, all of which play an important role in the local ecosystem. Their presence indicates a healthy environment rich in other invertebrates, and these collectively provide a wide range of benefits including pollination and natural pest control. The most common species to spot around the county include the Peacock, Orange-tip, Comma, Marbled White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Dingy Skipper, but look carefully and you may also find more elusive species like the Small Blue and Chalk Hill Blue, which can both be found around Magdalen Hill in Winchester. The spectacular Purple Emperor, another declining species, feeds on goat willow around Alice Holt, Bentley Wood and Whiteley Pastures, while the extremely rare Glanville Fritillary can be found nearby on the Isle of Wight.

bigbutterflycount.org

More from Out & About

Tue, 09:55

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Mon, 15:30

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

New Forest ponies are an iconic sight, yet modern-day pressures pose a constant threat to the traditional landscape. Viv Micklefield heads to Lyndhurst to take stock of what happens inside England’s oldest forest court

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Austen’s treasures to castles built by Henry VIII, Heritage Open Days (6-9 and 13-16 September 2018) allow you to step behind the doors of some of the county’s most iconic but hidden premises.

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

If there’s one thing we love to do here at Hampshire Life, it’s to celebrate local produce! So here are a selection of some of the best farm shops across the county where you’ll find just that

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

With a vibrant local community, this is a shining example of a true Hampshire village

Read more
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people, and many more are seeing the health benefits after waving goodbye to gluten. Here are just a few of the county’s cafes, pubs and producers who are embracing the gluten free way

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Looking for some peace and tranquility this summer? Lose yourself in one of these wonderful gardens

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The castles and forts around the county make for a fascinating ghost hunt by night, and a fun family trip by day

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

When Southsea’s South Parade Pier closed in 2012, derelict and a shadow of its former glory days, who’d have thought that six years on it would be Pier of the Year

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search