It’s a yellow but mostly good news for the environment: the black-veined white butterfly, a species officially extinct in Britain almost a century ago, has been spotted again. Reporting on the event presented as mysterious and exciting is the BBC, pointing out that a small number of black-veined white specimens have been reported flying in fields and hedgerows in Southeast London.

Setting out on their trail was a passionate naturalist journalist, Frank Gardner. To the uninitiated, they could easily be mistaken for the common white cabbage butterflies seen in Britain every summer, whereas these are more unique than rare. First listed as a British species during the reign of King Charles II, they officially became extinct in Britain in 1925. Now, between May and June, they have mysteriously reappeared in their favorite habitat: hawthorn and blackthorn trees on the outskirts of London, where the BBC correspondent and other naturalists have observed them fluttering through the hedgerows.

As the name suggests – ‘black-veined white butterfly’ – they are a medium-sized white butterfly with distinctive black vein markings on their wings. The charity Butterfly Conservation, which monitors butterfly numbers in Britain, told the BBC that they are likely to have been released, but they do not know by whom or why. While the sight was unusual for those who were able to see them, their presence at the moment does not signify a spontaneous recovery of an extinct species. In August 2022, the same had partly happened with the previously extinct great blue butterfly, which experts say had its best summer in 150 years. The great blue butterfly is one of Europe’s most threatened insects, but last summer thousands were spotted in southwest England. In that case, though, it was the success of a long-term conservation project led by the Royal Entomological Society. It was a story that highlighted how endangered species can be saved.

One thought on “The black and white butterfly is back”

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *