Large Blue butterfly in the UK
Does managing our calcareous grasslands for the benefit of the re-introduced large blue butterfly have a knock on effect for other wildlife?
The large blue butterfly became extinct in the UK in 1979 but since then successful reintroductions have returned it to limestone grasslands in Dartmoor, Somerset and the Cotswolds.
The Large Blue butterfly spends most of the year living in a nest of red ants. As part of its unusual life cycle the larvae feed on ant grubs.
The presence of this rare British butterfly has meant a change in the way the land is managed so as to give it the best chance of survival. However, the impact these management changes may have had on the existing wildlife that inhabits the grassland has not been fully researched.
PTES intern Sarah Meredith, supervised by University of Oxford, is now doing just that. She will survey the grassland for butterflies, bee flies, moths, ants and specific rare plants such as cut-leaved selfheal. Her data will be compared to historic base-line data for the sites to monitor any changes.
Sarah’s findings will be published and shared among policy makers and land managers, benefiting the associated wildlife and furthering her career in conservation.
This project has been completed. Read the outcomes here.