E-shaped banks built in Bedfordshire to help rare butterflies


E-shaped mounds are being built at two Bedfordshire nature reserves to protect rare butterflies.

The shape of the banks at Tottenhoe and Pegsdon will create both warm and cool environments. It is hoped it will help species such as Chalkhill Blue and Duke of Burgundy to survive as climate change continues.

Chalkhill Blue is one of the species set to benefit from the new banks (Nigel Kiteley).

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Conservationist Ryan Clark said "lots of butterflies are moving northwards" because of rising temperatures. The officer for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust said there were species that "can't move northwards".

"We need to be look as how we create habitats in our nature reserves and the wider landscape," he said. The project is a collaboration between the trust and the University of Cambridge zoology department.

Researchers from the university will take the temperature of butterflies to monitor how they are coping with climate change. Ecologist Dr Andrew Bladon, from the university, said: "What we are interested in here is whether these banks can help butterflies cope with these changes [in climate]."

He said the north-facing slopes of the bank would be cooler and the south facing slopes would be warmer. Dr Bladon said he would then look at whether "that helps butterflies that struggle with temperature control to adjust their body temperature in response to changes".