Marsh Fritillary butterfly success story

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After what has felt a very long pandemic year its been great to be out and about once more with the camera.

Wildlife really does lift the spirits, particularly when visiting a conservation success story.

The Marsh Fritillary butterfly featured nectaring on a buttercup flower was one of many recorded during a visit to Trelusback Farm in Cornwall.

Recently laid yellow eggs of Marsh Fritillary butterfly
Recently laid yellow eggs of Marsh Fritillary butterfly
Developing brown eggs of Marsh Fritillary butterfly
Developing brown eggs of Marsh Fritillary butterfly

These Marsh Fritillary butterfly eggs were two of several batches photographed at this site where until recently only one or two larval webs were recorded annually.

The eggs of one batch had already turned from yellow to brown indicating they had been laid several days earlier and were developing rapidly.

As to be expected most batches were on the underside of the leaves of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the larval foodplant. Although, unusually there was a sprinkling of eggs laid on the upper surface of one leaf.

This year it’s anticipated that in excess of 20 larval webs will be recorded at this site.

Trelusback Marsh Fritillary butterfly site
Trelusback Marsh Fritillary butterfly site

Such a success can be attributed to the supportive landowner as well as the expertise and hard work of Robin Curtis and students from the Kernow Conservation group of Exeter University who have carried out a considerable amount of work to enlarge the site. Work is continuing in the Autumn to remove willow and to plant scabious in the newly cleared areas.
Cornwall Butterfly and Moth Society has also supported the project by removing the encroaching scrub trees and levelling the ground afterwards.

An update on the breeding success of the Marsh Fritillaries at this site will be featured later in the year.

Please note this is a private site to which access is only permitted by prior arrangement with the landowner.

Caterpillar and life cycle information are featured on the Marsh Fritillary species page.