• Endangered Duke
  • 4th May 2014

  • I took a trip down to Hampshire this weekend in search of one of the most endangered british butterflies. The lovely Duke of Burgundy is in danger of becoming extinct in the UK with it's number having halved in the last ten years due to habitat loss.

    Noar Hill Nature Reserve in Hampshire is one of the few places where it still survives and the local Wildlife Trust have been doing a lot of work to try and make sure the habitat is perfect. This involves cutting back scrub like hazel and hawthorn each winter so cowslips, the caterpillar foodplant, can flourish.

    Cowslip flower (Primula officinalis) on Hoar Hill Nature Reserve, Hampshire, England
    Cowslip (Primula officinalis)

    Their work seems to be having some effect because there was a carpet of bright yellow cowslip flowers and I was lucky enough to see this male Duke of Burgundy basking in the early morning sunshine.

    Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina) on Hoar Hill Nature Reserve, Hampshire, England
    Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)