Huge recovery for butterfly once extinct in the UK

  • In Science
  • 2022-08-25 14:05:28Z
  • By BBC
A large blue butterfly laying eggs
A large blue butterfly laying eggs  

An endangered butterfly that was once extinct in the UK has had its best summer in 150 years.

The large blue butterfly is one of Europe's most endangered insects but thousands have been recorded this summer in south-west England.

It is the result of a long-term conservation project, led by the Royal Entomological Society.

Scientists said the success story shows how species at risk of extinction can be saved.

Many other rare species also benefitted from the conservation work across around 40 sites in Somerset and in the Cotswolds.

The large blue was declared extinct in the UK in 1979. Four years later caterpillars were brought from Sweden in an attempt to reintroduce the species in England.

Research ecologist David Simcox, one of the duo who reintroduced the butterfly in 1983, said it was "incredibly satisfying" to see them now thriving.

"I didn't have a grey hair on my head when I started. Now it's all grey," he told BBC News.

The large blue has been recorded at around 40 sites in England
The large blue has been recorded at around 40 sites in England  

Back in the 1980s Mr Simcox and his colleague, Oxford University professor Jeremy Thomas, did not expect this type of success.

"Obviously you have hope, but the first 10 years were difficult, the national population was under 10,000 eggs," Mr Simcox explained.

In contrast, this summer conservationists counted 750,000 large blue butterfly eggs.

From those, they estimated that around 20,000 butterflies flew, making the south-west of England the largest known colony in Europe.

The project saw conservationists focus on restoring a type of wild meadowland where the large blue likes to live.

"It's one of the strangest butterflies in the world," said Prof Thomas.

It leads a very unusual life, spending most of the year as a caterpillar inside red ant nests where it feeds on grubs. This lifecycle makes it more challenging to protect.

"This success shows that if we can understand the ecological requirements of very rare and difficult species, we can turn back the trend of decline," Mr Simcox explained.

But while the large blue butterflies are now doing well, they remain endangered and their long-term future uncertain, he warned.

Large blue butterfly
Large blue butterfly  

"Two bad years or poor land management could really go against the species."

Extreme weather and climate change also pose a danger, particularly because large blues rely on flowering plants and ant nests.

Other rare insects that benefitted from the restoration project were the rugged oil beetle, rock-rose pot beetle, shrill carder bumblebee, downland villa and spotted beeflies.

The sites are run or owned by six organisations, including the National Trust, Somerset and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trusts, J & F Clark Trust, Natural England, and Oxford University.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


  • online pharmacy without prescription
    (2022-09-01 20:24:40Z) cheap viagra uk
    tadalafil generic best prices canadian-pharcharmy best price on cialis 5mg

  • depeweife
    (2022-09-03 08:41:42Z)

    Catalina island casino games, online crypto gambling casinos games - what is an online casino bonus.

  • depeweife
    (2022-09-03 10:03:04Z)

    Liberty imports lucky sevens jumbo slot machine bank replica, make a million crypto gambling - tightening percentages slot machines.

  • viagra canadian pharmacy
    (2022-09-03 15:32:02Z)

    canadian pharmacies shipping to usa india pharmacy viagra
    viagra canadian northwestpharmacy .com generic viagra sale

  • cialis-canadian pharmacy
    (2022-09-04 00:17:03Z)

    no prescription pharmacy london pharmacy canada northwestpharmacy
    cheap canadian viagra cvs pharmacy cheap cialis from canada

  • bw07x6jek55
    (2022-09-04 19:37:55Z)

    rhihdb0z0ht cialis from usa pharmacy generic viagra from canada canada viagra online [url=]generic pharmacy india[/url] cialis cheap canada
    cialis or generic canada discount viagra cialis 5mg best price [url=]generic viagra in canada[/url] generic viagra rx
    generic viagra pills cheap cialis online canada pharmacy cialis brand [url=]medications without prescription[/url] best online canadian pharmacies

  • mexican pharmacy
    (2022-09-04 22:38:17Z)

    cialis without prescription canada [url=]online pharmacies without prescription[/url] viagra from india
    online pharmacies without prescription cheap cialis online canada pharmacy cialis pharmacy

  • fxtqu84lo0s
    (2022-09-06 01:12:07Z)

    kiremuuh70x price of cialis in canada buy viagra online uk cialis 5mg best price legitimate online pharmacies india
    order generic viagra canadian drugstore online prescription medication cheapest price for cialis
    how much does viagra cost buy cialis from us pharmacy rite aid pharmacies generic viagra from india viamedic .com

  • ffa2v4nmcb6
    (2022-09-07 23:43:02Z)

    iioap21ke8o buy cialis from canada order viagra from canada cialis from canadian pharmacies cheapest price for cialis
    canadian pharmacy com sildenafil canada cialis at canadian pharmacies viagra order online cialis pills
    supermarket near me viagra canada buy viagra no prescription viagra free trial over the counter viagra

  • bis1mj7jque
    (2022-09-09 01:52:09Z)

    dz40grens0n buying drugs from canada generic pharmacy low price cialis canada drug pharmacy
    how to order viagra from canada canadian pharmacies without prescriptions generic viagra online pharmacy viagra at canadian pharmacy viagra mexico viagra prescriptions viagra india buy cialis from canada viagra cialis

  • ad2oyluwc57
    (2022-09-09 08:12:45Z)

    dkvypinzd46 canadian pharmacy online cheap cialis online canada pharmacy prescription codes pills from canada buy real viagra
    prescription drugs from canada prices ephedrine sulfate lowest prescription prices canada prescriptions
    canadian pharmacy - viagra cialis canada pharmacy buy cialis cialis pharmacy rx one drug online

  • dpxzn45gpa6
    (2022-09-09 19:45:01Z)

    rzdqrm2nuci canadian pharmacy and viagra ephedrine sulfate generic cialis from canada viagra online pharmacy canada-cialis
    buy viagra from canada canadian levitra canada viagra online tadalafil in canada canadian drugs without prescription
    natural viagra drugs from canada does generic viagra work natural alternative viagra cialis usa pharmacy

  • rh14dbbyw1n
    (2022-09-10 12:04:49Z)

    xub1em8unkr canadian drugs viagra generic latisse for sale best prices for cialis viagra no prescription free sample viagra
    free trial of viagra canadian-drugstore buy cialis online canada pharmacy drug online low price cialis
    canadian pharmacies for viagra buy drugs online canadian pharmacy and viagra cheap cialis online canada pharmacy viagra canada

  • zqnht2fh9rd
    (2022-09-10 23:26:02Z)

    lltqspvemde drugs of canada new viagra generic cialis canada pharmacy online prescriptions from canada online viagra
    drug canada purchase viagra online online viagra buy propecia viagra order online
    no prescription viagra cost of cialis at walgreens how does viagra work canada online pharmacy viagra sales

  • floor protection
    (2022-09-22 08:26:17Z)

    Protect your floors from scratches, scuffs and dents that can be caused by heavy furniture or footwear. The boards use a non-slip silicone adhesive to stick firmly and cleanly to any hard floor surface.

  • 优化独立站速度
    (2022-09-22 08:27:40Z)


  • ypb2xhvchu8
    (2022-09-27 11:13:56Z)

    ekulgzkiimz buy cialis canada cialis from canadian prescription drugs from canada [url=]calais pills from canada[/url] cialis at canadian pharmacy
    northwestpharmacy .com universal drugstore viagra online shop [url=]online cheap viagra[/url] viagra from canada
    cheap generic drugs best online pharmacies viagra sale online [url=]free viagra[/url] kamagra gel

  • lw7eh9evw8y
    (2022-09-27 16:33:15Z)

    qrrlxulz8af rite aid pharmacies viagra for sale online cheap viagra for sale [url=]buy viagra online canada pharmacy[/url] viagra from canada
    canadian cheap viagra over the counter viagra viagra professional [url=]sildenafil canada[/url] cost of cialis at walmart
    buy viagra generic canadian drugstore online medications without prescription [url=]canadian[/url] viagra purchase online

  • nhohlrrojud
    (2022-09-27 21:22:05Z)

    tt4drrgn3c5 uk viagra sales canadian pharmacy without a prescription canadian cialis reviews [url=]buy viagra online uk[/url] cialis without prescription
    viagra erection side effects viagra buy brand cialis online canada [url=]viagra free samples[/url] cialis 5mg best price
    buy canadian drugs without prescription cialis over the counter canada canadian medications [url=]buying cialis from canada[/url] viagra without prescription

  • sijuo07h3vo
    (2022-09-28 05:22:20Z)

    xt8xm1cnwai buy viagra online at viagra canadian 5mg cialis [url=]cialis online from canada[/url] mail order viagra
    viagra information buy viagra in canada cilas [url=]viagra ingredients[/url] canada pharmacy viagra
    overseas pharmacy buy viagra online at buy viagra no prescription [url=]buying cialis canada[/url] canadian pharmacy store


Top News: Science