Walking on the North Wilts downland recently, I came across two unusual Meadow Browns with white patches on the wings and which I believe are called aberrations. It has been suggested to me that these may be caused by water on the pupa and that the scales on these butterflies where the white occurs would look different under a microscope. Is this correct. Please tell me what you think and do these aberrations have a name, there is nothing like them on the Cockanye website of British butterfly aberrations. Thanks in advance. I hope you enjoy the images, these butterflies were spectacular especially when in flight.
Good observation, well recorded.
I think your specimens are very close, and perhaps within the spectrum of, Maniola jurtina insularis ab. wauteiri Lambillion, 1905
I know that particular specimen happens to be bilaterally symmetrical in its pale areas, but that may not be a critical characteristic; can't say without access to Lambillion's publication.
Thanks Mike for your information. What do you think of idea that water [ rain] on the pupa caused these abs. It had been dry up till the day when I found these. That hot day, I observed thousands of normal Meadow Browns but only these two with white patches. If water is responsible for them, surely there would be many of these in our wet climate and I have never seen these before.
To be honest, I don't know.
A bit hopeful perhaps, but it would be nice to be able to see what the pupa looked like as it matured. I'm thinking of how you can see the pattern of an adult's wings through the pupa's 'skin' as it approaches readiness to emerge. It might be possible to see when the aberration arises: it might be early in the pattern-strengthening phase, or maybe only just before it emerges.
But all I can do is muse on such potential observations.