Ecology and conservation of the British Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon britannicus: old questions, new challenges and potential opportunities

Collins, N Mark, Barkham, Patrick J, Blencowe, Michael, Brazil, Andrew, Kelly, Andrea, Oldfield, Sara, Strudwick, Tim, Vane-Wright, Richard I and Stewart, Alan J A (2019) Ecology and conservation of the British Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon britannicus: old questions, new challenges and potential opportunities. Insect Conservation and Diversity. ISSN 1752-458X

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1. The British Swallowtail, Papilio machaon britannicus, is an iconic flagship for its unique but now restricted and fragmented fenland ecosystem in the UK’sNorfolk

2. Occurrence in 1 km2 recording squares fell by 56% over the period of 1974–2014 and by 13% in 2005–2014, but the breeding populations, mainly confined to reserves, have increased in size.

3. Climate change-induced sea-level rise and consequent seawater incursion into the Norfolk Broads represent a significant existential threat to the butterfly.

4. Translocation to more secure fenland sites is recommended; several are being restored or recreated through stakeholder partnerships in East Anglia and Somerset.

5. Well-researched introduction and management of the foodplant, Milk-parsley, is essential for such translocations to succeed.

6. A better understanding is needed of the genetic structuring of the British Swallowtail populations using modern sequencing technologies, in particular to elucidate the significance of gene flow in relation to the viability of introductions to small or isolated sites.

7. In a species in which hybridisation is commonplace across the Holarctic, the continued influx and future spread in Britain of the continental subspecies Papilio machaon gorganus may present a threat to the genetic integrity of subspecies britannicus, despite their differences in habitat and larval foodplants.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Fen, hybridisation, Milk-parsley, Norfolk Broads, Papilio machaon, Peucedanum palustre, reintroduction, sea-level rise, Swallowtail, translocation
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0540 Ecology > QH0541.15.A-Z Special aspects of the subject as a whole, A-Z > QH0541.15.B56 Biological diversity. Biodiversity
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0081 Wildlife conservation. Rare animals. Endangered species. Wildlife refuges. Wildlife habitat improvement
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0360 Invertebrates > QL0434 Arthropoda > QL0463 Insects
Depositing User: Alan Stewart
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2019 12:12
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2019 15:14

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