Resources: hostplants and nectar

BRITISH BUTTERFLY HOSTPLANT AND NECTAR SOURCE DATA

To view the complete database, which is held on the website of Staffordshire University, please go to the following link.

Complete database

This is an attempt to bring together all the known data on British butterfly larval and adult nutrition sources, in a form so that it is readily available and can easily be added to as further information becomes available.

The hostplant data have been obtained by searching the available guide-books, national and regional, published since the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as the entomolgical journals, with the addition of personal observations by myself and others. They have then been classified into "main", "secondary" (both capable of sustaining development from ovum to pupa in natural conditions), observations of egg-laying or finding of larvae without knowledge of whether development was completed, plants not known to be used in the wild but which have proved suitable in captivity, non-native plants (which clearly are not the natural hosts but which have proved acceptable), records which although quoted in the literature (often in the older literature) appear in the light of recent findings to be unlikely, and records which, although accepted as true observations, were on a plant so improbable as to be almost certainly a mistake in oviposition by the butterfly. In cases where it is not clear whether the author of a book has observed the hostplant usage himself or has taken it from a previous publication, unless the author speficially states otherwise it has been treated as a separate record. It has also been difficult to tell whether some of the hostplant records quoted in the guides for rare migrant species were genuinely British.

As regards the "Nectar" section of the database,since 1996 I have been assembling data on adult nutrition sources for British butterflies, and making a point, every time I see a butterfly feeding, of noting the nutrition source - predominantly flower nectar but including other forms of nutrition such as mud and ground surfaces, tree sap, fruit and honeydew. In addition to my own observations I have included as much information as possible as could be gleaned from published works and numerous other unpublished observations; a full list of the works consulted is given in the references. The figures in the "No. [of] records" column are the number of observed or quoted instances of the butterfly species using that source.When no figure was given in the reference as to the number of individual butterflies using the source, I have had no alternative but to treat it as one record. .

Analyses of the data are currently being carried out in collaboration with Roger L.H. Dennis and Tim H. Sparks (Staffordshire University and NERC CEH).

For details of the hostplants and nectar sources listed under each butterfly species, see the following links:

[ Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon ]

[ Large Chequered Skipper Heteropterus morpheus ]

[ Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris ]

[ Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola ]

[ Lulworth Skipper Thymelicus acteon ]

[ Silver-spotted Skipper Hesperia comma ]

[ Large Skipper Ochlodes faunus ]

[ Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages ]

[ Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae ]

[ Swallowtail Papilio machaon ]

[ Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius ]

[ Wood White Leptidea sinapis ]

[ Pale Clouded Yellow Colias hyale ]

[ Berger's Clouded Yellow Colias alfacariensis ]

[ Clouded Yellow Colias croceus ]

[ Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni ]

[ Black-veined White Aporia crataegi ]

[ Large White Pieris brassicae ]

[ Small White Pieris rapae ]

[ Green-veined White Pieris napi ]

[ Bath White Pontia daplidice ]

[ Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines ]

[ Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi ]

[ Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae ]

[ Purple Hairstreak Neozephyrus quercus ]

[ White-letter Hairstreak Satyrium w-album ]

[ Black Hairstreak Satyrium pruni ]

[ Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas ]

[ Large Copper Lycaena dispar ]

[ Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus ]

[ Geranium Bronze Cacyreus marshalli ]

[ Small Blue Cupido minimus ]

[ Short-tailed Blue Cupido argiades ]

[ Silver-studded Blue Plebeius argus ]

[ Brown Argus Aricia agestis ]

[ Northern Brown Argus Aricia artaxerxes ]

[ Common Blue Polyommatus icarus ]

[ Chalkhill Blue Polyommatus coridon ]

[ Adonis Blue Polyommatus bellargus ]

[ Mazarine Blue Cyaniris semiargus ]

[ Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus ]

[ Large Blue Maculinea arion ]

[ Duke of Burgundy Fritillary Hamearis lucina ]

[ White Admiral Limenitis camilla ]

[ Purple Emperor Apatura iris ]

[ Lemon Pansy Junonia lemonias ]

[ Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta ]

[ Painted Lady Vanessa cardui ]

[ American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensis ]

[ Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae ]

[ Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros ]

[ Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa ]

[ Peacock Inachis io ]

[ Comma Polygonia c-album ]

[ Map Araschnia levana ]

[ Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene ]

[ Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria euphrosyne ]

[ Queen of Spain Fritillary Issoria lathonia ]

[ High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe ]

[ Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja ]

[ Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia ]

[ Mediterranean Fritillary Argynnis pandora ]

[ Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia ]

[ Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia ]

[ Heath Fritillary Melitaea athalia ]

[ Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria ]

[ Wall Lasiommata megera ]

[ Small Mountain Ringlet Erebia epiphron ]

[ Scotch Argus Erebia aethiops ]

[ Marbled White Melanargia galathea ]

[ Grayling Hipparchia semele ]

[ Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus ]

[ Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina ]

[ Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus ]

[ Large Heath Coenonympha tullia ]

[ Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus ]

[ Monarch Danaus plexippus ]

 

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