The Scottish public are being asked to keep their eyes out for the UK’s smallest butterfly species – the Small Blue Butterfly - this summer. The Tayside Biodiversity Partnership and wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation are trying to measure the number of this important species in Scotland this year after bad weather affected the flight season in 2019.
Small Blues are declining in Scotland, and are now mostly found on coastal sites in Moray, Caithness, Angus and Berwickshire where the particular foodplants for Small Blue caterpillars grows. In Scotland the caterpillars only feed upon Kidney Vetch, which can be recognised by its bright yellow flowers that are covered in soft hairs. The butterflies prefer warm sites sheltered from the wind, and are most often found in sand dunes and coastal grassland between late-May and late-June. Knowing exactly where Small Blues are found helps to target on-the-ground conservation work. See the bottom of this page for information on how to send in your sightings.
Unlike the more widespread Common Blue butterfly, the Small Blue’s upper wings are dark grey with a very light dusting of blue scales and, the undersides are pale grey with black spots.
There is a particular interest in this butterfly in Angus, where the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership has been working with Butterfly Conservation and volunteers for several years to monitor the Small Blue populations and create more habitat for this minute butterfly. Some of the plans for 2020 have been put on hold because of Covid-19, but people can still get involved if they take precautions.
Catherine Lloyd from the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership said: “If the coast paths are already part of a daily exercise route, we would ask you to look out for this little elusive butterfly, and try to get a photo and send in details of sightings.''
Posted on: 27 May 2020