Study

Assessing the status of the marsh fritillary butterfly (Eurodryas aurinia): an example from Glamorgan, UK

  • Published source details Lewis O.T. & Hurford C. (1997) Assessing the status of the marsh fritillary butterfly (Eurodryas aurinia): an example from Glamorgan, UK. Journal of Insect Conservation, 1, 159-166.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change type of livestock grazing

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Maintain or restore traditional water meadows and bogs

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance in grasslands or other open habitats

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Change type of livestock grazing

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1993 in 34 fen meadows in Glamorgan, UK (Lewis & Hurford 1997) found that changing the type of livestock grazing did not affect marsh fritillary Eurodryas aurinia population size. There was no significant difference in the proportion of cattle-grazed (3/9), horse-grazed (2/6), sheep-grazed (0/2), unmanaged (4/8), burned (5/8 sites), and mown (0/1) sites that had >20 caterpillar webs recorded. However, the three largest populations (>200 caterpillar webs) were on sites burned in early spring. Caterpillar webs were present on 28/34 sites where adults had been recorded in May/June. In 1993, nine grasslands were cattle-grazed, six were horse-grazed, two were sheep-grazed, eight were unmanaged, eight were burned, and one was mown. Sites were separated by >1 km of unoccupied grassland, or >0.5 km of unsuitable habitat. From late August–mid-October 1993, caterpillar webs were surveyed on 34 fen grasslands. On sites <2 ha, all devil’s bit scabious Succisa pratensis were searched in 2-m-wide parallel strips until the whole area had been searched. On larger sites, 2-m-wide strips at 10-m intervals were searched, and areas around caterpillar webs were then searched comprehensively.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Maintain or restore traditional water meadows and bogs

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1993 in 34 fen meadows in Glamorgan, UK (Lewis & Hurford 1997) found that managing meadows by grazing or burning did not affect marsh fritillary Eurodryas aurinia population size compared to unmanaged meadows. There was no significant difference in the proportion of cattle-grazed (3/9), horse-grazed (2/6), sheep-grazed (0/2), burned (5/8 sites), mown (0/1) and unmanaged (4/8) sites that had >20 caterpillar webs recorded. However, the three largest populations (>200 caterpillar webs) were on sites burned in early spring. Caterpillar webs were present on 28/34 sites where adults had been recorded in May/June. In 1993, nine grasslands were cattle-grazed, six were horse-grazed, two were sheep-grazed, eight were burned, one was mown and eight were unmanaged. Sites were separated by >1 km of unoccupied grassland, or >0.5 km of unsuitable habitat. From late August–mid-October 1993, caterpillar webs were surveyed on 34 fen grasslands. On sites <2 ha, all devil’s bit scabious Succisa pratensis were searched in 2-m-wide parallel strips until the whole area had been searched. On larger sites, 2-m-wide strips at 10-m intervals were searched, and areas around caterpillar webs were then searched comprehensively.

    (Summarised by: Andew Bladon)

  3. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance in grasslands or other open habitats

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1993 in 34 fen meadows in Glamorgan, UK (Lewis & Hurford 1997) found that managing grassland by burning did not affect site use by marsh fritillary Eurodryas aurinia compared to grazed or unmanaged grassland. There was no significant difference in the proportion of burned (5/8 sites), cattle-grazed (3/9), horse-grazed (2/6), sheep-grazed (0/2), mown (0/1) and unmanaged (4/8) sites that had >20 caterpillar webs recorded. However, the three largest populations (>200 caterpillar webs) were on sites burned in early spring. Caterpillar webs were present on 28/34 sites where adults had been recorded in May/June. In 1993, eight grasslands were burned, nine were cattle-grazed, six were horse-grazed, two were sheep-grazed, one was mown and eight were unmanaged. Sites were separated by >1 km of unoccupied grassland, or >0.5 km of unsuitable habitat. From late August–mid-October 1993, caterpillar webs were surveyed on 34 fen grasslands. On sites <2 ha, all devil’s bit scabious Succisa pratensis were searched in 2-m-wide parallel strips until the whole area had been searched. On larger sites, 2-m-wide strips at 10-m intervals were searched, and areas around caterpillar webs were then searched comprehensively.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  4. Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1993 in 34 fen meadows in Glamorgan, UK (Lewis & Hurford 1997) found that abandoning grassland did not affect marsh fritillary Eurodryas aurinia population size compared to grazing grassland. There was no significant difference in the proportion of unmanaged (4/8), cattle-grazed (3/9), horse-grazed (2/6), sheep-grazed (0/2), burned (5/8 sites) and mown (0/1) sites that had >20 caterpillar webs recorded. However, the three largest populations (>200 caterpillar webs) were on sites burned in early spring. Caterpillar webs were present on 28/34 sites where adults had been recorded in May/June. In 1993, eight grasslands were unmanaged, nine were cattle-grazed, six were horse-grazed, two were sheep-grazed, eight were burned and one was mown. Sites were separated by >1 km of unoccupied grassland, or >0.5 km of unsuitable habitat. From late August–mid-October 1993, caterpillar webs were surveyed on 34 fen grasslands. On sites <2 ha, all devil’s bit scabious Succisa pratensis were searched in 2-m-wide parallel strips until the whole area had been searched. On larger sites, 2-m-wide strips at 10-m intervals were searched, and areas around caterpillar webs were then searched comprehensively.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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