DEVON Wildlife Trust conducts regular surveys of rare butterflies on Dartmoor, and this year they found record numbers.

Steve Hussey, Devon Wildlife Trust, said: ‘We regularly count Marsh Fritillary butterflies on our nature reserves. We do this because these rare and beautiful butterflies give us a good indication of not only the health of the species locally, but also the effectiveness of our management.

Their latest count was on just one part of their Emsworthy Mire nature reserve, Dartmoor. Steve explained: ‘In autumn we search for the black larvae (caterpillars) of the butterfly. They are usually to be found in groups covered in a protective ‘net’ which looks a bit like a spider’s web.

This year the survey discovered 20 of these webs, which is a record for this part of the nature reserve.’

This is good news for the Marsh Fritillary and the surveyed area. It is a credit to the hard work their staff and volunteers put into the area and shows their efforts are successful. Steve said: ‘The hard work our staff and volunteers do to maintain the site for people and wildlife is having a positive impact,’ he said.