Sunday, 13 July 2014

Rare butterflies have 'stronghold' at Marsland, Devon

12 July 2014 Last updated at 10:01

A nature reserve has become a stronghold for two rare butterflies, a wildlife trust has said.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary 2010
small pearl-bordered fritillary
In the 1980s a "handful" of small pearl-bordered fritillary and pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies were found at Marsland in Devon.
However, in the past 20 years numbers have increased, "bucking the national trend", said Devon Wildlife Trust.

Butterfly Conservation said across the UK both species had declined by more than 50% since the 1970s.

Adult pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies feed primarily on the nectar of blue bugle plants
Pearl-bordered-Fritillary- 5D37078 Wyre Forest May 2012
pearl-bordered fritillary

More than 200 individuals of each species have been recorded this summer, with a similar number counted in 2013 and more than 600 in 2012.
Stephen Hussey, from the trust, said land management had helped increase numbers but he was unsure what had caused the population explosion in 2012.

He said that "one of the UK's greatest concentrations of both species" were present at the site.

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