A RARE butterfly has been discovered in Glencoe.
The Chequered Skipper has previously only been sighted within a short distance from Fort William, but a ranger team from the National Trust for Scotland made the latest discovery at the weekend.
Ecologist Dan Watson, who was accompanied by volunteers Joss Ratcliffe and Callum Gilhooley,
Ecologist Dan Watson, joined by volunteers Joss Ratcliffe and Callum Gilhooley, decided that the sunny conditions were perfect for a butterfly hunt. “We targeted suitable habitat in Glen Etive, starting at a fenced off area in Dalness. This looked perfect for Chequered Skippers, having a south-east facing slope covered with scattered trees, purple moor-grass - the larval food plant - and bluebells, which the adults prefer to nectar on,” said Mr Watson.
“After a few false alarms caused by similarly-sized Common Heath moths, Joss caught something different in his net which turned out to be our target species. Once we’d got a better search image we started seeing them everywhere, counting at least thirteen individuals, four of which were metres from the road, seen while we were eating lunch.
“We continued a bit further up the glen to a smaller fenced off area and found another seven within a few minutes of crossing the fence. The records made will go to Butterfly Conservation, who are carrying out a survey of this butterfly as there is a suspicion that it is severely under-recorded at present. Our findings would seem to support this theory, but it is great to know that our habitat management is benefitting one of Scotland’s rarest butterflies.”
The find comes during the Year of Natural Scotland which aims to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty throughout 2013.