Wiltshire

'Rare' caterpillar spotted in Clouts Wood wildlife reserve

White-letter hairstreak caterpillar Image copyright ALex Moreley
Image caption The caterpillar was spotted by a visitor to Clouts Wood

A caterpillar from a threatened species of butterfly has been discovered at a wildlife reserve.

The white-letter hairstreak, Satyrium w-album, was spotted by a visitor at Clouts Wood, part of a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust site in Wroughton.

A trust spokeswoman said the caterpillars feed exclusively on flower buds and leaves of elm trees.

"The butterfly suffered heavy declines as a result of Dutch Elm disease in the 70s and 80s," she said.

Image copyright Trevor Simmonds
Image caption The white-letter hairstreak is in flight between mid-June and mid-August

"Unfortunately, this decline has continued, with a fall in the UK population of 55% in recent decades.

"Clouts Wood is fortunate to support a number of healthy mature wych elm trees, which provide fantastic habitat for the white-letter hairstreak."

The white-letter hairstreak is in flight between mid-June and mid-August.

It was given the name because of the W-shape etched in white on the underside of the hindwing.

The United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme said there have been "significant declines" in numbers at monitored sites since 1976.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites