species of the week #17 (week 20/2020) – Camberwell beauty

Distribution status Extremely rare
Remaining deposits Larger stocks in Poland
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate  2010 Schaichtal, Schönbuch
Habitat Higher low mountain ranges, regionally also in deeper situations with rather continental climate.
Threat of climate change, commercial forests, parasites

More info:

The very dark butterflies with their yellowish, after hibernation white margin, which is visible on the upper side of the wings as well as on the underside, are unmistakable. The funeral cloak feeds on plant juices, nectar and fallen fruit, in late summer also likes alcoholic fermenting fruits. The caterpillars live mainly on different types of willow in cooler deciduous and mixed forests.

The Camberwell is an internal wanderer, i.e. a species that undertakes directed migratory flights within its range of distribution. In doing so, it penetrates into areas where it cannot become permanently native. Its habitat is in the cooler, continental area, with a focus on North Asia, Eastern Europe and Eastern Central Europe. In good years, whole swarms of butterflies form there and migrate to the west. In 1995 mourning cloaks reached the Netherlands, England and even Ireland in large numbers. However, stable populations do not form because the winter in the west is too warm. At higher temperatures the metabolism of the butterflies increases and the rigidity of winter ends prematurely. Only if they then find food immediately, they can survive even very mild winters. This problem is also aggravated by climate change in the actual distribution area of the species. In addition, the Camberwell suffers from the ecological impoverishment of forests and water areas: its economically worthless food plants are removed, willows along streams are removed. Afforestation is mostly done with conifers and forest areas are increasingly fragmented.

Politically necessary:

  • Effective climate protection
  • Near-natural forest management with diverse structures
  • Protection and promotion of natural waters

Figure: CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=670555

An overview of all species of the week can be found here.