Comeback of the marsh fritillary🦋

Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)

In Cumbria, the Marsh Fritillary reintroduction in partnership with a Natural England Program is going from strength to strength, reports Steve Doyle of Butterfly Conservation’s Cumbria branch.

It became extinct in the county of Cumbria in 2004 but thanks to reintroduction schemes and efforts in 4 sites the population has rose from 149 larval webs in 2007 to 278 in 2009. It then rose year on year reaching 2,130 webs by 2014.

There were 4 more introductions in 2015. It took a total of 10 years for it to start self-colonising and expanding its range.

Today Marsh Fritillaries are flying at 21 sites in Cumbria and despite the web count decreasing in 2019 compared to the recorded web count numbers of 2016 (2,506 in 2019 & 3,252 in 2016) the population remains stable and sustainable.

A new challenge is to ensure habitat is managed in accordance with agri-environemt schemes which isn’t currently the case at some sites.

Agri-environment schemes include the utilisation of grass margins.

Check out the Butterfly conservation website for more details on this story.

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