la roque gageac

Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • Amazing Mazarine!

    This is one of my favourite blue butterflies - the Mazarine Blue. It's a bit smaller than most Common Blues but rather more elegant and understated. You see a hint of the amazing purple-tinged blue of the males upperwings in the photo below. The undersides are pale beige with just a neat simple arrangement of black spots with white surrounds - nothing fussy - but with a turquoise fringe at the base of the wings. I was pleased to find it recently in our little valley, a species I never found at our previous house in Mauzac. There seems to be a nice little colony here.

    It was once found in England and was recorded in many counties in the 18th and 19th centuries but was always scarce. Sadly by 1904 it was extinct. No convincing explanation of the reasons for its demise have been advanced. Its caterpillar foodplant is Red Clover in Europe which remains a very common plant in UK. It seems likely that changes in farming practices in the late 19th century in England sounded the death knell for the Mazarine Blue in England, whilst collectors perhaps helping to finish off the final colonies. Populations of butterfly species in small isolated colonies like the Mazarine Blue are always fragile. In addition those on the edge of their range, like the Mazarine Blue, often have very exacting requirements and are thus at great risk from environmental changes which can cause rapid declines in populations, often to extinction - first locally and ultimately nationally.


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Welcome to my Dordogne Wildlife Diary

In it you will find regular wildlife sightings in the d├ępartement of Dordogne, notably of birds and butterflies in southern Dordogne where I live. In adddition there will be occasional references to neighbouring d├ępartements such as Lot et Garonne, Gironde, the Lot and places further afield. Check out the Faune-Aquitaine website for the latest wildlife sightings in Dordogne and Aquitaine.

Where possible I will add photographs to illustrate the entry. Many thanks to Margaret Mills (family photo) and Denis Cauchoix (birdwatcher photo).

I hope that you enjoy my diary and look forward to your comments.

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