Elms and White-letter Hairstreaks – update from Nigel Spring

Brown butterfly with white line and orange spots and a small tail, on a thistle flower
White-letter Hairstreak. Photo: Brian Arnold

Can you help us consolidate the good progress made with the Elm tree records in Dorset following Nigel Spring’s recent appeal for help finding Elm trees?

(See Help us find Elm trees in Dorset )

Going back this week to check the Elms for White-letter Hairstreaks (WLH), we have found the butterflies in the majority of good-sized clumps of elms that we have visited. All the Elms with the butterflies in (so far) have been Smooth-leaved Elm-type, similar to the ones at Alners Gorse though that could be because they are the healthiest looking trees and we have targeted them. We also seem to have been more successful finding the WLH active in the mornings (8/9am).

Nigel would be very interested to hear of any clusters or rows of this type of elm elsewhere in Dorset (see below for Nigel’s contact email address). The more we learn about Elms, the more complicated the picture becomes.

Here is the Elms and WLH Map  Nigel has produced showing the sites where Elms have been recorded (as blue pins) and the sites where the butterflies have been recorded (red pins).

We have a limited window of time to find the butterflies on the wing, so if you have a chance in the next week or two to re-visit your elms or some of the other trees on the map (or to find new ones), please do – and let Nigel know what you find so that we can try to convert as many of the pins as possible on this map to red. Please contact Nigel by email at [email protected]

Please also send your butterfly records in to the Dorset branch recording site too at https://www.dorsetbutterflies.com/sightings/record_form.php

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