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1129 Views 1 Reply Last post: Jul 31, 2012 9:24 PM by basquesteve RSS
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Jul 24, 2012 5:06 PM

How quickly is a field guide out-of-date?

Just had one of those great (but nightmare) days near Madrid when I found loads of butterflies I'd not previously photographed. I believe I identified 9 species new to me but what a struggle! My guide (Haatela, Saarinen, Ojalainen, Aarnio, dated 2011, purchased in the NHM bookshop) posed several difficulties. Here's one such.



I finally decided it had to be a male Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae) after a lot of head scratching. To start with I thought an out-of-range Large Copper because of the strong cell line on the Fw and slender line on the Hw. My guide says of the Scarce Copper "Fw cell black streak weak or missing" which hardly describes this specimen. The other 6 spots on the forewing did not help as these are not mentioned for either. I only finally decided on the species after finding other photos like mine on the Internet identified as Scarce Copper (unreliable, I know) and after deciding that some of my underwing shots that could have been Large Copper were in fact Purple Shot Copper. But I'm only 90% happy with this.


I know things change quickly. Last year I positively identified some Geranium Bronzes (which my wife assures me she had had to spray for in 2010 also) which based on my  guide were 400 km out of range.


So, how quickly do these guides become seriously out of date? Can anyone tell me?





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