Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Week 23: Large Blue Butterfly (‘Phengaris arion’)

The Large Blue Butterfly was @SpeciesofUK from 12th to 25th May, 2013.

The large blue is one of the UK’s 59 species of butterfly. It became extinct in the UK in 1979, but has since been successfully reintroduced.

Large Blue
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Lynkos Natura]

Our large blue is one of five species of large blue across Europe, all from the genus Phengaris in the Lycaenidae family, the second largest family of butterflies with about 40% of extant species.[1] The large blue is also one of 15-20,000 individual species of butterfly across the world![2]

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Week 22: Hogweed (‘Heracleum Sphondylium’)

Hogweed was @SpeciesofUK from 5th to 11th May, 2013.

Common hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, is found all across Europe (except Iceland) and into Asia and North Africa.[1]

Hogweed is commonly found in UK hedgerows, meadows and woods. Indeed, it's familiar even to many who don't know its name.[2]

Hogweed, a common British plant
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Rhisiart Hincks >>> IPERNITY]

The genus name Heracleum refers to the Greek mythic hero Heracles, on account of the plant’s size. The species name sphondylium means 'vertebrae' and refers to the shape of its segmented stem.[3]

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Week 21: Great Crested Newt (‘Triturus cristatus’)

The great crested newt was @SpeciesofUK from 28th April to 4th May, 2013.

The great crested newt is the UK's largest newt and its most threatened.[1] Sadly, the population has been in decline across the last 40 years.[2]

Great Crested Newt
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Mike Richardson and Sarah Winch]

They are mainly active at night, spending the day at the bottom of ponds or hidden in vegetation.[3]