Rare butterfly makes a comeback after 30 years

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black hairstreak butterflyImage source, Dave Wilton
Image caption,
Butterfly Conservation said the black hairstreak butterfly was last seen on the site in 1988

A rare butterfly species has returned to an Oxfordshire beauty spot after an absence of 30 years.

The black hairstreak was spotted on North Leigh Common where preservation work to retain blackthorn, where it lays its eggs, has been carried out.

Butterfly Conservation said it was last seen on the site near Witney in 1988.

Stuart Hodges, from the charity, said the sighting was "particularly significant" as it was only seen in June and early July.

The Butterfly Conservation, which lists the butterfly on its "high" priority conservation list, said the hot summer had increased numbers of the species.

The Black Hairstreak

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: High
  • Found only in thickets of Blackthorn in woodlands on heavy clay soils between Oxford and Peterborough
  • Adults fly in a short period from early June to mid July
  • They feed on honeydew secreted by aphids

Source: Butterfly Conservation

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