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First British record for rare butterfly

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The Meadow Fritillary a rare butterfly never before recorded in mainland Britain has been discovered by conservationists and volunteers from The Parks Trust on farmland near Tingewick, Buckinghamshire.

The Meadow Fritillary (Melitaea parthenoides) is a small butterfly with a wingspan of between 2.8-3.4cm. It is typically bright orange in colour with brown/black markings. The butterfly is normally found in south-western Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula, south-west France, the Italian Alps, southern Germany and a few regions of Switzerland. It inhabits flowery meadows and in places in the Alps may be found quite high.

This beautiful butterfly was discovered by Martin Kincaid a biodiversity officer for The Parks Trust who was leading a group of volunteers and wildlife enthusiasts monitoring water voles in the area. The identity of the European Meadow Fritillary has been confirmed by Butterfly Conservation.

Martin Kincaid, biodiversity officer for The Parks Trust, said: “This is an amazing discovery. In the field it was clearly a species that I hadn’t seen before so to discover that it has never previously been seen in mainland Britain is really exciting.”

The discovery was made on private farmland in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire, and is testament to the prolonged warm weather conditions this summer

Martin added: “Butterflies are good indicators of the health of our environment and to have spotted a rare butterfly is incredibly encouraging. We will as part of our planned conservation activity be running a wildlife recording event BioBlitz on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August 2014 at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes and are encouraging anyone interested in identifying and recording butterflies to join us at this event.”

For further details of the discovery and The Parks Trust’s biodiversity work visit www.theparkstrust.com

 

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