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Rare yellow-legged tortoiseshell seen in Rutland

A yellow-legged tortoiseshell butterfly spotted in Belmesthorpe by Chris Gardiner of Natural England EMN-140723-102041001

A yellow-legged tortoiseshell butterfly spotted in Belmesthorpe by Chris Gardiner of Natural England EMN-140723-102041001

A rare butterfly has been spotted in Rutland.

Chris Gardiner, who works for Government conservation body Natural England, photographed the insect basking on a garden seat in Belmesthorpe on Saturday.

Chris consulted local butterfly recorder Andrew Harrop who confirmed the identity of the species as a Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell.

Until this year, there had only been one recorded sighting of the species in 1953 but in the past week about two dozen have been seen in various parts of Eastern England, mainly in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Chris said the appearance of the butterflies seems to be linked to easterly winds bringing them across the North Sea, possibly from Holland, where an influx was reported a few days earlier.

The insect is resident in Eastern Europe and two years ago colonised Sweden.

It is similar to our native large Tortoiseshell, which is itself exceedingly rare.

You can report sightings at rutlandbutterflies.wordpress.com

 

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