2018 May 15 evening
Jeremy Tatum writes: This afternoon I saw a “Ringlet” Coenonympha tullia in the grassy fields just inland from Island View Beach. Viewers of this site will know that I have hitherto preferred the British name, Large Heath, for this butterfly, on the bases that it is not closely related to the British species known as The Ringlet, and that it carries no “ringlet” markings on its wings.
However, I may have to withdraw my objections. I have discovered that when the butterfly was first recognized as a British species in 1795, it was given the name Manchester Ringlet, and a few years later it was renamed the Small Ringlet, to distinguish it from the much larger Ringlet. However, it was soon realized that it was much more closely related to another British Coenonympha, and the two Coenonymphas became the Small Heath and the Large Heath. Since the first English name the species had was the Manchester Ringlet, followed by the Small Ringlet, I can no longer insist that this butterfly is not a ringlet.
There are still some problems. Over its large Holarctic range, this butterfly has an enormous variation in its markings. While some populations have several strong ringlet marks, our own population on Vancouver Island has no sign at all of any ringlet mark, which does make it a bit difficult to call it a ringlet! And how many species are really involved? Is it just one widely-distributed species, with several named subspecies or forms? Or should it be split into several species? This seems to be largely a matter of taste! And what adjective should we place in front of our own population here? ’Fraid I don’t know the answer to that. In any case, it was nice to see one of them today.
This evening on the top of Christmas Hill there were several Painted Ladies , a Red Admiral, a Propertius Duskywing, and two Grey Hairstreaks. The latter were flying around a Garry Oak, often settling on it for minutes at a time, wings wide open, at about head height, enabling very close, prolonged views.
Jeff Gaskin writes: A Mourning Cloak flew by me on Wascana Street, the Gorge area, today May 15.
We still have a queue of bumblebees waiting, while we struggle to identify them. We’ll get them up eventually. And I believe we have a bunch of goodies from Nanoose Bay awaiting our attention. Will have to look at them tomorrow.