We have had seven reports of a Large Tortoiseshell in Tout Quarry on Portland. To date we are sure there are two individual butterflies.The Large Tortoiseshell is considered extinct in this country: webs of its caterpillars have not been recorded for over 60 year.
Our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves, thinks their origin is uncertain. They could be adults which bred here last year and managed to hibernate overwinter as adults, they might be unauthorised releases, or they might be migrants, though the species is not thought to migrate. Our best years for sighting: 2007-2009, boasted sightings as early as 1 January, and they bred to produce more sightings in July of those years.
As well as being larger than the Small Tortoiseshell, the Large Tortoiseshell is it is generally duller, does not have the white marks on the leading edge of the forewings and almost never has blue spots along the edge of the forewings.
Some Painted Ladies are also being seen. If you encounter either (or any other butterfly) please record them via our online recording form.