Spatial dynamics of a patchily distributed butterfly species

  • Published source details Thomas C.D. & Harrison S. (1992) Spatial dynamics of a patchily distributed butterfly species. Journal of Animal Ecology, 61, 437-446.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate to re-establish populations in known or believed former range

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Translocate to re-establish populations in known or believed former range

    A replicated study in 1983–1990 in four heathlands and three limestone grasslands in North Wales, UK (Thomas & Harrison 1992) reported that three of seven translocated populations of silver-studded blue Plebejus argus successfully established new colonies. One population of silver-studded blue released onto heathland, and two released onto limestone grassland, survived for at least 8–49 years. By 41–48 years after release, the oldest population had spread 2.5 km along a valley, colonizing 17/20 patches of suitable habitat (0.04–2.2 ha in size). Seven years after release, the newest population had colonized one new patch, 100 m from the release site, but 14 patches 210–2,000 m away remaining unoccupied. Two populations released on heathland persisted for 2–7 years before disappearing. The other two populations did not survive the first year after release. The authors reported that this was because butterflies were released into a different habitat type from that in which they were captured. In 1942, ninety female silver-studded blues were released on a limestone grassland site. From 1978–1983, groups of 5–30 female silver-studded blues (in one instance including some males) were released on two further grasslands and four heathlands. In 1983 and 1990, all suitable habitat patches at each site were surveyed for >20 minutes/patch to record silver-studded blue presence.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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