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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Appeal to map 'rare' butterflies
Marsh Fritillary butterfly (picture: Mike Clark)
The Marsh Fritillary butterfly is under threat
Conservationists have asked for help in spotting a rare butterfly in Ceredigion which has disappeared from many parts of the UK.

People in the county are being urged to remember where they last saw the Marsh Fritillary.

The species has been in decline for decades and is under threat throughout Europe, but Wales remains a stronghold.

A survey form has now been produced by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales to map the population.

In Ceredigion, the butterfly has been found in damp grasslands known as rhos pastures, a feature of the county.

But the habitat is in decline and it means the numbers of butterflies are falling, said Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Ceredigion officer for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Rhos pasture (picture: Mike Clark)
The butterfly is thought to exist on pasture land

She added: "We are sure that this butterfly is still more common than records suggest.

"The damp grassland with Devil's Bit Scabious (a plant) where the butterfly lives is still quite common.

"Often the butterflies survive in very small populations, on tiny fragments of grassland, and we probably don't know about many of them."

Dr Wilberforce said the trust "would love" to hear from anyone who thinks they know where Marsh Fritillaries are living.

"It is an iconic species for the county, and we'd like to learn more about where it can still be found," she said.

People interested in taking part in the survey can contact Dr Wilberforce at l.wilberforce@welshwildlife.org




SEE ALSO
Rare butterfly worries halt work
09 Mar 06 |  Mid Wales
Preservation scheme for species
09 Feb 05 |  Somerset

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