Con­ser­va­tion char­ity ap­peals for help track­ing the Or­ange-tip but­ter­fly through­out Ar­gyll

The Oban Times - - News -

A WILDLIFE char­ity is ask­ing for the pub­lic to help track one of Scot­land’s most dis­tinc­tive spring but­ter­flies – the Or­ange-tip.

This year is the 20th an­niver­sary of the first na­tion­wide sur­vey of this species and But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion Scot­land is mark­ing this by ask­ing any­body who sees one of these iconic but­ter­flies to let them know by vis­it­ing www.but­ter­fly- con­ser­va­tion.org/scot­tishor­angetip

The Or­ange-tip is one of the few but­ter­fly species that has been in­creas­ing in num­bers over re­cent years, buck­ing the trend found in the 2015 ‘State of UK But­ter­flies’ re­port, that al­most three quar­ters of UK species had de­clined in the past 40 years.

This in­crease is due in part to their re­cent spread into Scot­land, mov­ing to more ar­eas of the High­lands and other ru­ral lo­ca­tions.

The Or­ange-tips have been found to be de­clin­ing more rapidly in ru­ral ar­eas and so town and city sight­ings of the species would be par­tic­u­larly use­ful.

The male but­ter­fly has a very dis­tinc­tive ap­pear­ance, giv­ing the species its name, with its white wings with the or­ange tips.

Fe­males do not have these tips, but along with their male coun­ter­parts, they do have green mot­tled coloura­tion on the un­der­sides of the wings.

Ur­ban But­ter­fly Project of­fi­cer An­thony McCluskey said: ‘It’s a real joy to see Or­ange-tips fly­ing in so many places in the spring time. They’re only on the wing for about six weeks in May and June, so we are ask­ing the pub­lic to keep an eye out for them now and to let us know if they see any.’

In Scot­land, Or­ange-tips mostly lay their eggs on two flower species. In damper places they choose Cuckoo-flower, oth­er­wise known as Lady’s Smock, a com­mon sight along road­sides, but in drier ar­eas the cater­pil­lars will feed upon gar­lic mus­tard.

The Or­ange-tip sur­vey forms part of the Ur­ban But­ter­fly Project, a three-year project funded by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage.

Pho­to­graph: Iain H Leach

The Or­ange-tip but­ter­fly can now be more reg­u­larly seen on the West Coast.

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