December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A rare butterfly is enjoying record numbers on a north Norfolk heathland this summer.
The revival of the silver-studded blue at Kelling Heath is due to the hard work of local conservationists - and some “babysitting” from some helpful ants.
Norfolk County Council and the Kelling Heath Trustees, conservation bodies and local volunteers have spent more than 10 years’ managing the habitat. This year the annual count recorded 562 compared to only 162 last year.
The butterfly is also dependant on the right heather to feed on, and birdsfoot trefoil to lay eggs on.
It then relies on black ants which carry the larvae to chambers beneath rocks or stones. They tend the pupae until the adults emerge, protecting the caterpillar from predatory spiders and insects, in return for a sugary solution it secretes.
■To learn more or help with the management of butterfly habitats on Kelling or other heaths contact Ed Stocker at email@example.com