The comma butterfly. Picture: Paula Farrell
Lullymore West is a nature reserve located in County Kildare. It is managed by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council for the variety of butterflies that call this abandoned cutaway that has regenerated as wet grassland their home.
The reserve is managed for the most threatened butterfly in Europe, the Marsh Fritillary, and is actually one of the 6 Heritage finalists in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2021.
The final announcement on the winner of each category will be made this Saturday, May 29, and you can watch live by visiting www.lottery.ie.
Ireland has 32 resident species of butterfly, and three migratory (Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Red Admiral).
Until March 2021, 24 of the 35 species of butterfly species identified in Ireland had been recorded on the reserve.
In 2021 we are delighted to share that the Comma butterfly was first recorded on the reserve in April of this year.
Although this is not a new butterfly to the area, as previous records on the National Biodiversity Data Centre show that it was recorded first in 2018, it is a new record for the site.
The Comma butterfly has orange wings with black markings and borders that are ragged in nature, with the wings measuring 55-60mm in diameter.
The underside of the wings are brown and can be seen when the butterfly is at rest, as they close their wings together, camouflaging themselves to avoid predation.
This butterfly lays its green eggs on the caterpillar’s food plants, nettles and willow. The adults can be observed on the wing in woodlands and gardens that provide a nectar rich environment such as those that have heathers and buddliea present.
The Comma is not a butterfly that is of conservation concern and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council were delighted to observe it on the wing at Lullymore West this year, bringing the total count to 25 different species on the reserve.
If you would like help identifying local wildlife or indeed to share your images of local wildlife encountered to be used in a future Wildlife Watch, contact me on 045 860133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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