Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Butterfly brings January colour

The Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly in Troy Scott's home
Troy has been giving the butterfly sugar and pieces of fruit.

A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, not usually seen until March or April, has made a highly unusual appearance on the Isle of Lewis.

It was found by seven-year-old Troy Scott on Wednesday at his home in Brue in the north west of the island.

Experts suspect that a caterpillar got into the house, went into a cocoon and the central heating fooled it into thinking it was later in the year.

Troy has been feeding the butterfly on a combination of sugar and fruit.

He said: "It sits on the window ledge and looks outside - but it is very windy and there are no flowers for it.

"We have given it pieces of fruit and made up a sugar recipe we found on the internet. Although it made me happy to find such a beautiful insect he looks very sad and we don't think he will survive long."

Troy and his father contacted local Scottish Natural Heritage butterfly recorder Steve Duffield, who was surprised that the butterfly was wintering in the Outer Hebrides.

Mr Duffield said: "We'd be keen to hear of any other winter butterflies that people have found."

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