Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

Glasgow & SW Scotland Branch Website

November 24, 2010

Red alert for Britain’s butterflies

Filed under: Butterflies — Andrew Masterman @ 4:59 pm

A new Red List of British butterflies outlines 23 species which are already extinct here or whose numbers have dropped to such low levels that they are vulnerable to extinction.

 The High Brown Fritillary is one of two species rated as Critically Endangered. This species has been the fastest declining of all British butterflies seeing numbers drop by 85 per cent over a 10-year period.

The research confirms that butterflies are not only a highly threatened group in Britain but that they are faring worse than dragonflies, birds and plants. Twenty three species – 37 per cent of all our native butterflies – are considered to be regionally extinct or threatened. This compares to 21 per cent of dragonflies, 29 per cent of birds and 20 per cent of plants. A further 11 butterfly species are classified as ‘near threatened’ in the new Red List, leaving fewer than half (45 per cent) of Britain’s butterflies considered to be safe at present.

The figures are the result of a major re-assessment of the state of British butterfly populations using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List approach. It is based on data collected by thousands of volunteer recorders coordinated by the charity Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. The results are consistent with previous evidence of butterfly trends and confirm that butterflies are a highly threatened group in Britain.

“The new Red List shows that the number of butterflies in need of our help has increased dramatically in the past 10 years,” says Richard Fox from Butterfly Conservation, who is lead author of the study. “We have already seen conservationists bring the Large Blue butterfly back from extinction but there is so much more we need to do to secure the future for our fastest declining species. They are our heritage.”

The new Red List of British butterflies was produced by scientists working for Butterfly Conservation, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.



Threatened British butterflies defined by the new Red List (in order of threat category and then taxonomic order).



Overall assessment

Black-veined White

Aporia crataegi

Regionally Extinct

Large Copper

Lycaena dispar

Regionally Extinct

Mazarine Blue

Polyommatus semi-argus

Regionally Extinct

Large Tortoiseshell

Nymphalis polychloros

Regionally Extinct

Large Blue

Glaucopsyche arion

Critically Endangered

High Brown Fritillary

Argynnis adippe

Critically Endangered

Chequered Skipper

Carterocephalus palaemon


Wood White

Leptidea sinapis


White-letter Hairstreak

Satyrium w-album


Black Hairstreak

Satyrium pruni


Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina


Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Boloria euphrosyne


Glanville Fritillary

Melitaea cinxia


Heath Fritillary

Melitaea athalia


Dingy Skipper

Erynnis tages


Grizzled Skipper

Pyrgus malvae


Brown Hairstreak

Thecla betulae


Silver-studded Blue

Plebeius argus


Northern Brown Argus

Plebeius artaxerxes


White Admiral

Limenitis camilla


Marsh Fritillary

Euphydryas aurinia



Hipparchia semele


Large Heath

Coenonympha tullia



Butterfly Conservation. Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468).

Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP.

Charity registered in England & Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268)



November 2, 2010

Report on Members’ Day at Battleby 30 Oct 2010

Filed under: Events — Andrew Masterman @ 6:37 pm

120 members of the wildlife charity, Butterfly Conservation enjoyed a very successful Members’ Day at the Battleby Conference Centre on Saturday 30 October. A presentation was made to Mr Duncan Davidson as Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, and the audience warmly congratulated Mr Roy Leverton, who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many years devoted to the recording and study of moths and butterflies.

The event also celebrated the significant milestone of 1000 individual members in Scotland, with a presentation to Mr Tom Delaney of Lasswade, the 1000 th member.Mr Maurice Avent, Chairman of Butterfly Conservation presented the awards saying: “I am thrilled by the enormous enthusiasm shown for butterflies and moths in Scotland, reflected in some of our fastest membership growth in the UK”.

Participants came from all over Scotland, from Thurso to Peebles, and Lochalsh to Kirkcudbright, to compare notes on the butterfly and moth highlights of the year, and to learn how climate change is affecting their distribution. There was also a talk about the culmination of the hugely successful Moths Count project, which for the first time will produce maps of all the UK’s moths.

The day was even rounded off by a ghost story, a fascinating talk by Mr Nick Picozzi on the behaviour of the Ghost Moth, whose males form mating groups or ‘leks’ akin to capercaillie and black grouse, from which the females choose a mate.

Those attending were also able to go to workshops on digital photography, rearing caterpillars at home, and an introduction to the bizarre world of micro-moths.

The star attraction of the day however was probably the spooky Death’s Head Hawk-moth, which had been caught a few days earlier on a North Sea oil rig!

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