Lepidoptera The Bath Or Green-chequered White Butterfly – P. Daplidice
There is no doubt that many butterflies migrate from one country to another across the seas; and as the Bath White is very common on the other side of the Channel, and has been taken very sparingly in England almost exclusively in the south-east, it is highly probable that the majority of those that have been captured here are specimens that have taken a voluntary trip across the water, or have been blown over during rough weather.
This butterfly is one of our greatest rarities, and the capture of a specimen in England is an event that must necessarily be recorded in our entomological literature. It seems that Daplidice has bred in England, for its caterpillars have been found at large on one or two occasions, so I will give a short description of the various stages of the insect, with a hope that some of my readers may be fortunate enough to meet with it.
The female butterfly is shown on Plate I, fig. 6. From this it will be observed that each of the fore wings is tipped with a rather large smoky-black blotch, in which are four white spots. A double spot of the same colour also occupies a place near the centre of the wing, and another smaller and round one lies near the anal angle. The hind wings are clouded with grey, and bordered along the hind margin with distinct smoky-black spots.
The male may be distinguished from the female by the absence of the spot near the anal angle of the fore wings, and of all the clouds and spots of the hind wings. Nevertheless the latter have a decidedly clouded appearance, but this is due to the markings of the under surface showing through them.
The under side of both sexes is most beautifully marked-the fore wings resembling the upper sides, but the hind pair chequered with a beautiful soft green on a pale yellow ground.
The eggs of this insect are deposited during April and May, and again in August or September-for it is, like the other ‘Whites,’ double-brooded-on two species of Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea and R. luteola).
The caterpillars, which are of a bluish colour, with two yellow stripes down the back, and two others along the sides, may be looked for in June and September. Those of the first brood only have been taken in this country, while the others on the Continent change to the chrysalis in the autumn, and hybernate in this state throughout the winter.
The chrysalis is of a brownish colour, and closely resembles that of the Small White in form.
Those in search of this rare British insect should wander along the south-east coast, and net all the doubtful slow-flying small Whites (Daplidice is rather slow and heavy on the wing), and their perseverance may be rewarded with a prize that will ever be a reminder of a glorious catch and an eventful day. If you fail in this, and most probably you will, rather than remain a stranger to this beautiful and interesting insect, fill up the blank in your cabinet with a foreign specimen, which can be obtained at any time for a few pence, but be careful to label it ‘not British,’ in order that your brother collectors may not be deceived, or be led to make any unnecessary inquiries.