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).

 

 Species

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

Endangered

Wood White

Leptidea sinapis

Endangered

White-letter Hairstreak

Satyrium w-album

Endangered

Black Hairstreak

Satyrium pruni

Endangered

Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina

Endangered

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Boloria euphrosyne

Endangered

Glanville Fritillary

Melitaea cinxia

Endangered

Heath Fritillary

Melitaea athalia

Endangered

Dingy Skipper

Erynnis tages

Vulnerable

Grizzled Skipper

Pyrgus malvae

Vulnerable

Brown Hairstreak

Thecla betulae

Vulnerable

Silver-studded Blue

Plebeius argus

Vulnerable

Northern Brown Argus

Plebeius artaxerxes

Vulnerable

White Admiral

Limenitis camilla

Vulnerable

Marsh Fritillary

Euphydryas aurinia

Vulnerable

Grayling

Hipparchia semele

Vulnerable

Large Heath

Coenonympha tullia

Vulnerable

 

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)

 

 

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