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large tortoiseshell

Pictured: large tortoiseshell, Nymphalis polychloros

Notes from Jenyns: Taken on wing between Ely & Littleport, in July 1827: ~ And in 1828~ specimens occurred also at Swaffham Prior, Bottisham, & Cambridge.


200-year trend in Cambridgeshire: Decline.


Modern records

Today this species is still widespread across Cambridgeshire and the rest of the UK. However, numbers may have dipped a little since Jenyns’ day, with the species now being slightly less common throughout gardens in the county. A parasitic fly has appeared in recent years, which probably spread from the continent along with a suite of other colonising species helped by climate change and accidental human importation. This caused a noticeable drop in numbers, but some resurgence has subsequently occurred thanks perhaps to natural selection for resistance.


National records map

Small tortoiseshell national records map: