A HISTORY OF SURREY thoroughly worked by collectors of the Lepidoptera than Surrey, and it is unlikely that many rare or local species have been overlooked. Whatever number of species may have occurred therein in the beginning or middle of the last century, there can be no doubt that the Rhopalocera (Butter- flies) throughout the greater portion of the county are, and have been for many years past, poorly represented both as to species and the quantity of specimens. The number of species occurring in Surrey does not equal the number recorded for either Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, Gloucestershire or Northamptonshire. All the counties named contain local species of considerable interest ; but no butterfly is found in Surrey which does not occur in most of the southern, eastern, western and midland counties. The greater part of the north-eastern portion of the county is absorbed by south London, while the suburbs extend to Croydon and Reigate on the south, and to Surbiton, Epsom, Leatherhead, Molesey, Esher, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge and Woking on the west and south-west. In this more or less suburban district the butter- flies with the exception of the commonest and most widely distributed species, or species which occur sporadically, like Colias edusa, C. hyale and Vanessa cardui are conspicuous by their absence or extreme rarity. This may to some extent be accounted for by drainage and building operations, by London smoke, or by the extermination of local species by over-collecting. No one accustomed to the woods of Hampshire, Sussex, Northamp- tonshire, Gloucestershire and many of the other English counties can fail to be struck by the rarity, and in some cases the entire absence, of sylvan species such as the Fritillaries in localities like Coombe Wood near Kingston, the Prince's Covers near Claygate, Ashtead Woods between Surbiton and Leatherhead, or Bookham Common between Stoke d'Abernon and Bookham. Even further from London, in the woods between Effingham and Ockham, or in the wild moor and woodland country extending from Ranmore Common on the east to near Guildford on the west and from Horsley on the north to Shiere on the south, the scarcity, or entire absence, of more or less local butterflies is astonishing. On the other hand the list of the Heterocera (moths) found in Surrey is a fairly good one, though it is not equal to the lists for Hampshire or Sussex. RHOPALOCERA Butterflies^- The Wood White (Leucopbasia sinapis, L.) is recorded by Mr. Barrett as formerly common at Haslemere, but the writer has never met with it in the county, or received any notes of its occurrence from any of his other numerous correspondents. If it ever occurred in any of the Surrey woods in addition to the Haslemere locality, it has probably been extinct for some years as it has been in many of its former localities in adjoining counties. 1 The caterpillars of the Swallow-tail (Papilio machaon, L.) are recorded by the late G. Austin as having been taken fifty years ago in the osier beds in the Battersea fields. H. G. no
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/152
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