Highlands & Islands

Scots, English and Irish speckled wood butterflies 'could meet'

Speckled wood butterfly
Image caption Speckled woods in Scotland, England and Ireland are expanding

A butterfly that may have sought warmer climates on Scotland's west and Moray coasts centuries ago has been expanding into new territories.

Scientists believe Scotland has its own subspecies of the speckled wood.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland has noted speckled woods moving south from the Moray Firth, while those in England expand north into Scotland.

The charity suspects the different colonies could eventually come together.

At some point in the distant past most of Scotland became too cold for the species, but some parts, such as the Moray coast, retained suitable climates.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland hopes the public will help track the movements of English, Northern Irish and Scottish speckled woods.

The butterflies have been recorded in the Borders, an area where they are not usually found.

Paul Kirkland, director of Butterfly Conservation Scotland, said: "Records sent in by the public help us to accurately track the expansion of the speckled wood.

"Records can be submitted online at www.butterfly-conservation.org/scottishspeckledwood."

The survey has support from Scottish Natural Heritage.

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