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Wilderness Reserve, butterfly paradise

Butterflies not seen in Suffolk for over 50 years are beginning to reappear at Wilderness Reserve. Resident ecologist Steve Piotrowski explains why

 

“It’s been an amazing year,” says Steve Piotrowski, estate ecologist and self-confessed lepidopterist (butterfly lover). He’s speaking about the increase in numbers of butterflies in the woodland and meadows of Wilderness Reserve.

New guests include the silver-washed fritillary, one of Britain’s most striking species. Its vivid orange upper side is broken by a pattern of black spots; the underside of its hind wings are attractively marbled with silver and green.

The eye-catching marbled white butterfly, typically associated with the chalk downs of southern Britain, was lost to Suffolk for over 100 years, but last summer was seen in abundance at Wilderness Reserve.

Steve is also pleased about the return of the white-letter hairstreak, a butterfly that relies on the presence of elm trees for its caterpillars to feed. It draws its name from the characteristic white line – in the form of a “W” – found on the underside of the hind wings.


Silver Washed Fritillary butterfly

Our new guests include the large woodland speciality, the Silver Washed Fritillary, one of Britain’s most striking butterflies. Its vivid orange upper-side is broken by a pattern of black spots and the underside of its hind wings attractively marbled with silver and green.

Also, the Marbled White normally associated with the open chalk downs of southern Britain, its eye-catching chequering confirming its identification. It was lost to Suffolk for over 100 years, but last summer it was seen in abundance in Wilderness open woodlands. Finally, the White-letter Hairstreak, a butterfly that relies on the presence of elm trees on which their caterpillars feed. It gets its name from the characteristic white line in the form of a “W” on the underside of the hind wings.


Marbled White butterfly

 

Whilst our butterflies will enlighten your lazy summer days, please be assured that the Wilderness prides itself on its nurture of nature all year round and, whenever you choose to visit, there’s always wildlife waiting to share your relaxing stay.