Skip to content

The butterfly that came back from the dead – thanks to the red ant

June 22, 2009
clipped from www.independent.co.uk

The butterfly that came back from the dead – thanks to the red ant
clipped from www.independent.co.uk

clipped from www.independent.co.uk
The return of the large blue, which went extinct in Britain in 1979, is one of the great conservation success stories
Jeremy Thomas, Britain’s leading butterfly expert, who discovered the way to bring back a creature which has the most astonishing life cycle of any British insect – it spends most of its life as a caterpillar inside an ants’ nest, and without the ants, it cannot turn into a butterfly
Professor Thomas, as he now is, discovered which species of red ant has this relationship with the large blue (and there is only one) and then worked out how to keep the ant colonies flourishing. It was a question of having the grassland where they lived grazed very short, so it would remain warmed by the sun. If the grass was only a few centimetres too long, the ants would disappear, and with it, the butterflies
clipped from www.independent.co.uk

clipped from www.independent.co.uk

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: