Habitat requirements of Lycaena dispar batavus and implications for re-establishment in England

  • Published source details Pullin A.S. (1997) Habitat requirements of Lycaena dispar batavus and implications for re-establishment in England. Journal of Insect Conservation, 1, 177-185.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage wetlands or ponds by grazing or cutting to prevent succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Manage wetlands or ponds by grazing or cutting to prevent succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1994–1996 in a fenland in Overijssel, the Netherlands (Pullin 1997) found that three recently cut fen habitats had fewer large copper Lycaena dispar batavus eggs and lower caterpillar survival than two uncut fen habitats. There were fewer large copper eggs on plants in cut fen meadows (0.2–0.3 eggs/plant) than on plants in cut (0.3–0.8 eggs/plant) or uncut (1.8–1.9 eggs/plant) watersides, and the most eggs were found in uncut fen edges (4.2–5.7 eggs/plant). No eggs were found in cut reed fields. In addition, no caterpillars were found in cut fen meadows (from 70 eggs), and caterpillar survival was only marginally higher in cut watersides (11–13 caterpillars from 102 eggs) than in uncut watersides (11–23 caterpillars from 280 eggs) or uncut fen edges (13–31 caterpillars from 425 eggs). Five fenland habitats with different management were surveyed. Fen meadows were cut in patches in August–September; watersides were split into cut (in the preceding year) or uncut areas; fen edges along old ditches were uncut; and reed fields were cut commercially in winter. In August 1994 and 1995, the number of eggs were counted on every water dock Rumex hydrolapathum encountered 1 m either side of 2–5 transects/year (40–200 m long) through each habitat type. In late May 1995 and early June 1996, the number of surviving caterpillars were counted on the same plants.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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