Giant butterfly thought extinct in Britain since 1960s has been found
17th July 2021

Giant butterfly thought to be extinct in Britain since 1960s has been found breeding in the country again

  • The Large Tortoiseshell, pictured, disappeared from woodlands in the 1960s
  • Two groups of larvae have been discovered by conservationists on elm trees 
  • Hoped they will produce two dozen butterflies – the UK’s first colony in 50 years 

A giant butterfly thought to be extinct in Britain has been found breeding in the country for the first time in half a century.

The Large Tortoiseshell disappeared from woodlands in the 1960s due to the effects of the Dutch elm disease, climate change and parasitic flies.

Now two groups of larvae have been discovered by conservationists on elm trees on the Isle of Portland in Dorset.

The Large Tortoiseshell, pictured, disappeared from woodlands in the 1960s due to the effects of the Dutch elm disease, climate change and parasitic flies

It is hoped they will produce about two dozen butterflies – the UK’s first colony in 50 years. 

When the 3in butterflies do emerge, they will be tawny brown and have blue markings around its wings with a dull underside.

Now two groups of larvae have been discovered by conservationists on elm trees on the Isle of Portland in Dorset

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