The Chequered Skipper disappeared from England in 1976. This pretty brown and gold butterfly was once found from Oxfordshire to Lincolnshire, but died out when the practice of coppicing and ride management declined and its woodland habitat became overgrown.
At the end of this month some 50 Chequered Skipper butterflies are being released into Rockingham Forest in Northamptonshire. Your donation will fund a research project following the butterflies release that will determine which habitat the butterflies favour most and inform future reintroductions.
In order for this research project to be a success we need to monitor:
- How far the butterflies travel from where they are released
- Which areas of woodland the butterflies visit and settle in
- Which plants they nectar on and where they lay their eggs
- When their caterpillars hatch and where they feed and pupate
- How many successfully complete their life cycle – resulting in a new generation of butterflies in 2019.
If we can determine which habitat the butterflies favour most in Rockingham Forest, we will be able to replicate these conditions more effectively, helping support further reintroductions within the landscape and establishing more breeding populations, which then colonise other woods in the area.