Conservationists Celebrate Chalkhill Blue’s Return

CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating the return of a specimen of butterfly to the Chilterns district after an absence of 70 years.

A male blue butterfly of the genus Lycaeides. According to new research, the ancestors of this species colonized the Americas through Asia some 2.4 million years ago.

The Upper Thames branch of Butterfly Conservation has planted Horseshoe Vetch, as food for the larvae of the Chalkhill Blue at Holtspur Bottom nature reserve.

The planting began in 2003 and Nick Bowles, conservation officer for Bucks, said the work had been designed to create a habitat to support a viable colony of the butterfly over a number of years. Observers had seen several of the breed, in both sexes,
and a female was observed laying eggs.

Mr Bowles added: “In the UK, we are about as far north as this butterfly goes and it is slowly coming back.”

Mr Bowles said he believes that the work carried out could lead to the Chalkhill Blue establishing itself at sites across the Chilterns, while the Horseshoe Vetch is also progressing well.

“However, the true measure of the reserve’s successful management will be if we can maintain a colony here into the future,” he added:

“We shall also survey the area to see if other colonies are hiding, undiscovered, nearby.”


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