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Exotic butterflies migrate to Dorset
THE Dorset countryside is becoming the epicentre of an invasion of butterflies and moths from Europe because of climate changes.
Increasing numbers of rare migrants are being caught and recorded as the county stands on the frontline of the continental invasion.
The East-Lulworth based Butterfly Conservation charity, hailed the arrivals - including the rare moths Clifden Nonpareil, Beautiful Marbled and Rosy Underwing.
It says some creatures may not survive the winter but others - including the Clifden Nonpareil and Rosy Underwing may have established permanent colonies.
Lulworth-based moth recorder Les Hill has spotted three Clifden Nonpareil moths in the past two weeks in the same part of south Dorset.
He said: “Clifden Nonpareil is one of the most charismatic of British moth fauna and is on every moth recorders' wish list.”
“As the name nonpareil states, it is peerless and has no equal.
“To record one in a lifetime is the fulfilment of an ambition; to record them every year in my garden is just remarkable.”
Mr Hill has recorded the moth over the past decade after sightings died out about 50 years ago as aspen trees went into decline although they are now making homes in poplar.
Mr Hill said that there was no evidence yet, such as larvae, to indicate a breeding colony but that they thought the moths had become established.
Mr Hill has also caught a Rosy Underwing in Lulworth - one of only 13 nationwide.
He has also just caught a Beautiful Marbled moth, with the only other example caught this year in Charmouth.
He added: “Dorset is probably the best place, we believe, for migrant moths although Kent is up there as well.”
The Portland Bird Observatory and Durlston Country Park have helped the county become a hotspot as they have been recording the creature although sightings from all people are welcomed by Butterfly Conservation.
Mr Hill said: “It is very much anecdotal but we think climate change is very much to do with them moving north.”
The invasion of continental butterflies, mostly from France, is not a risk to British species, according to the charity.
It releases the findings as the traditional autumn moth migration gets underway.
Richard Fox, of the Butterfly Conservation charity, said: “These sightings are very exciting news, not only for the people lucky enough to see these thrilling butterflies and moths in the wild but also for the future.”
PANEL The Clifden Nonpareil, first recorded in Clifden, Buckinghamshire, boasts a striking blue flash on its wings.
It is the largest of the underwing moths - a group famous for the vivid dashes of colour that are used to ward off predators - and is recognised by a striking blue flash.
The large Rosy Underwing has only been seen on 10 occasions in Britain prior to this summer.
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