[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
Rare blue butterfly returns home
Adonis Blue butterfly
The Adonis Blue is mostly found in southern England
One of Britain's rarest butterflies has returned to a spot where it has not been seen for more than 40 years.

The Adonis Blue, classified as a priority species, is usually only found at a few places in southern England.

But it has returned in numbers to a former site in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, after a National Trust campaign to restore its habitat.

The insect's numbers were decimated 50 years ago when a lot of its natural habitat, chalk grassland, was lost.

The Adonis Blue likes to live in habitats with short grass, and it is unusual for the butterflies to fly far from their home base.

It is one of our loveliest butterflies and we are delighted to have it back in the Cotswolds
Matthew Oates, National Trust

When the rabbit-killing disease Myxomatosis broke out in the 1950s, the lack of rabbits meant grass grew too long and the Adonis Blue's former habitats became unsuitable.

But now large numbers of the species have moved back to its former home around Rodborough and Minchinhampton Common, as trust officers have brought in cattle to keep the grass down.

Suitable weather

Matthew Oates, butterfly expert and adviser for the National Trust said: "Never underestimate a butterfly.

"We think that the Adonis Blue may be benefiting from milder winters and hotter summers and that it should produce a bumper brood this August and September.

"It is one of our loveliest butterflies and we are delighted to have it back in the Cotswolds."

Rare butterfly makes a comeback
29 Jun 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Charity to revive chalk grassland
17 Nov 05 |  Wiltshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific