Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 475–486 | Cite as

Habitat preference and dispersal of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina) on an abandoned chalk quarry in Bedfordshire, UK

  • Edgar C. Turner
  • Hanna M. V. Granroth
  • Henry R. Johnson
  • Colin B. H. Lucas
  • Alex M. Thompson
  • Hannah Froy
  • Richard N. German
  • Ross Holdgate
Original Paper

Abstract

The Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina) has declined severely since the 1970s and is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority species. Its populations are mostly confined to scrubby calcareous grassland, where management for short-turf species can be detrimental to the butterfly. We briefly review the literature on the Duke of Burgundy and investigate their habitat preferences, survival and dispersal at a chalk grassland reserve in Bedfordshire, UK. We found that adults generally preferred more sheltered locations but that their habitat preferences were less restrictive than choice of food-plants. Females chose larger plants with longer leaves in denser patches on which to lay eggs. Adults showed reasonable dispersal ability with turnover recorded between areas isolated by scrub. Our results indicate that the species is able to use isolated areas of favourable habitat at a reserve scale and that conservation could therefore involve cyclic management to provide suitable habitat year-to-year.

Keywords

Butterfly Calcareous grassland Duke of Burgundy Habitat management Hamearis lucina Scrub encroachment 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edgar C. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hanna M. V. Granroth
    • 2
  • Henry R. Johnson
    • 2
  • Colin B. H. Lucas
    • 1
  • Alex M. Thompson
    • 2
  • Hannah Froy
    • 2
  • Richard N. German
    • 2
  • Ross Holdgate
    • 1
  1. 1.Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and PeterboroughBedfordUK
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity Museum of ZoologyCambridgeUK

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