Leptidea sinapis

Range & Status

Rare and has a local distribution in England and Wales. Its population has declined by 64% since 1977 although it has increased by 10% over the ten years to 2004 (Fox et al. , 2006). Widespread in Europe and to Siberia with some decline (Asher et al. , 2001).

Regional Distribution

Most records are from two distinct areas: Millook to Marsland in the north of Cornwall and to the north and east of St. Austell. May be extinct in Cornwall as only one record has been received since 1991 at Pontsmill in 2004.

Habitat & Ecology

A butterfly of ' edge' habitats, at Millook, Frohawk (1924) found it commonly flying in lanes along hedges. Egg laying takes place in lightly shaded, sheltered areas, individually on the underside of food plant leaves which protrude above the surrounding vegetation. The larva feed individually usually at the top of the plant on the younger growth. Disperses away from the foodpland to pupate in shaded areas 20-40 cm above the ground (Asher et al. , 2001). Overwinters as a pupa.

Threats

Lack of grazing leading to excessive shade of foodplants.

Conservation

None known. Grazing regimes in north Cornwall coastal valleys for the re-introduction of the Large Blue may be beneficial. A UK BAP priority species.