Nymphalis polychloros

Range & Status

Probably extinct in Britain (Thomas, 1991), although other commentators regard it as extremely rare with disjunct fluctuating populations (Emmet & Heath, 1989). The situation is confused by a number of releases bred from local continental stock (M.S. Warren, pers. comm.). Widespread in central and southern Europe. There have been recent unpublished claims (2008) that it is present near Plymouth, but these records cannot be accepted without proof.

Regional Distribution

The only confirmed recent record is of a parasitised larva on Cubert Common in 1983. Although it has been recorded in southern Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly, there is no definite proof that it was ever resident here. Recent unconfirmed sightings may be escapes (or deliberate releases) from captive stock.

Habitat & Ecology

Females lay on Elms Ulmus spp., especially Wych Elm Ulmus glabra . Elms are common and widespread in Cornwall. Willows Salix spp. and other trees are also used.

Threats

Dutch elm disease is sometimes given as a cause of decline (Dennis, 1992), and certainly this disease has seriously affected Elms in Cornwall.

Conservation

None.