Leptidea sinapis (Wood White butterfly) egg-laying habitat and adult dispersal studies in Herefordshire
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The Wood White butterfly Leptidea sinapis, a UK BAP Priority species, is present in a number of Forestry Commission woodlands in the West Midlands and these constitute an important part of the national resource of this butterfly. A joint SITA Trust funded project between the Forestry Commission and Butterfly Conservation (linking with the National Wood White Conservation Project) is researching the use of habitat by Leptidea sinapis within these sites with regard to targeting conservation management. Two aspects of this research are presented: the results of a mark-recapture study and an analysis of egg-laying habitat. Mark-recapture results show considerable movement between areas of concentrations of adults and between egg-laying areas, with males moving further and faster than females. Movements do occur across potential habitat barriers. Egg locations were found by following females and by searching for eggs. The habitat used for egg-laying is extremely variable even within a site. A number of foodplants species are used and habitat ranges from low height foodplants within bare ground to a foodplant height of over 1 m within thick vegetation and scrub. These results are being integrated into an ongoing project to restore Leptidea sinapis habitat within managed Forestry Commission woodlands.
KeywordsConservation management Mark-recapture Forestry Habitat associations
This work was commissioned by the Forestry Commission under the SITA Trust funded project “Herefordshire’s Wood White Butterflies” with advice from Butterfly Conservation. The Forestry Commission nominated officer was Kate Wollen and the nominated officer for Butterfly Conservation was Jenny Joy (West Midland Senior Regional Officer, Butterfly Conservation).
The authors would like to thank Robin Hemming for his help and advice on Haugh Wood and Stephen Jeffcoate for his most useful comments and discussions on our results. Many thanks are due to John Hemmings for help with the mark-recapture data analyses.
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