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FOR some years I have been collecting, in a fairly extensive meadow at Bentley, near Ipswich, large numbers of Meadow Brown butterflies for Dr. E. B. Ford, F.R.S., of Oxford University, in connection with his research work. Till this year, no difficulty had been experienced in making the collections, as the butterflies were very abundant in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Düring many visits paid to the locality in 1961, however, the numbers of the butterflies to be seen Aying were invariably very small, and those specimens collected were practically all that were observed. This contrasted greatly with conditions in the previous years when far more butterflies were seen on the wing than were captured. The following table gives the numbers collected : Year Males Females 1958 642 358 1959 617 333 1960 635 209 1961 117 43 There appeared to be no shortage in 1961 of other species that frequent the meadow during the summer—Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperanthus L.), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus, L.), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas, L.), and Common Blue (Polyommalus icarus, Rott.). It is possible that the Meadow Brown larvae had been heavily attacked by the small Braconid Apanteles tetricus. The population could thus have been drastically reduced, as often happens with the Large White (Pieris brassicae, L.), when attacked by the parasite A. glomeratus.

Scarcity of Meadow Browns