Largest butterfly could help Swallowtail
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Swallowtail butterfly could benefit from Papua New Guinea project

A conservation project in Papua New Guinea to help the world's biggest butterfly could also benefit one of Britain's rarest species.

The "habitat enrichment" programme, introduced by members of the palm oil industry, is designed to protect the future of the threatened Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly. It has a 28cm (11in) wingspan.

Research methods into the Birdwing's food plant could also be applied to the British Swallowtail butterfly, experts say.

Only found in the Norfolk Broads, milk parsley is the butterfly larvae's only food source.

 "With a better understanding of milk parsley, similar to research efforts taking place in Papua New Guinea, it could potentially be introduced to restored fenland habitats in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk for further generations to enjoy the Swallowtail butterfly," Dr Mark Collins of the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust, said.

  • 07 Oct 2017
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