Belfast Telegraph

Rare marsh fritillary butterfly rediscovered on bog after 20 years

A rare butterfly has been rediscovered on a bog 20 years after it was last seen.

The marsh fritillary, just over 1.5in wide in flight and endangered across Europe, was recorded in the last week on Turraun Bog in west Offaly.

Ecologists with Bord na Mona said the first sighting since 1995 came after after major work to reinstate land in the area.

Joe Lane, head of the energy company's ecology section, said: " The marsh fritillary butterfly is a rare and beautiful creature that we thought had disappeared but now we know to have returned.

"We believe it has returned because of the extensive bog rehabilitation work that has taken place in Turraun and at the nearby Lough Boora Discovery Park but we need way more data on this project."

Mr Lane said the company was appealing for people using bog lands to report more examples of the marsh fritillary and other butterflies.

The butterfly has a wingspan of 42mm-48mm or 1.65 inches and flies from May to late June or early July. It is brightly patterned with black, white and orange markings.

It is the only one of Ireland's butterflies protected under EU rules.

Experts in Britain have warned a mild winter and cold spring saw b utterflies suffer one of their worst years on record in 2016.

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