Thursday, 24 August 2017

Rare butterfly spotted in Scotland for the first time since 1884

Elusive and endangered white-letter hairstreak discovered in a field in the Scottish borders could become the 34th species to live and breed in the country

Thursday 17 August 2017 16.40 BSTLast modified on Thursday 17 August 2017 22.00 BST

Scotland has a new species of butterfly: the elusive and endangered white-letter hairstreak has been discovered in a field in Berwickshire, 100 metres from the English border.

It is the first time since 1884 that the butterfly has been sighted in Scotland, raising hopes that climate change has helped it become the 34th butterfly species to live and breed in the country.

“Climate change is a double-edged sword but it’s an exciting time to be in the Scottish borders,” said Paul Kirkland of Butterfly Conservation Scotland. “It’s not just butterflies but moths and dragonflies are moving north quite quickly.”

More than a quarter of Britain’s 59 butterfly species are spreading north, with insects such as the comma moving about six miles each year. In recent years, butterflies that were once only found in southern Britain have crossed the border in Scotland, including the comma and the small and Essex skippers. Within Scotland, species such as the ringlet, orange tip and peacock have moved rapidly north and into the Highlands.


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