Friday, April 30, 2021

Spring is coming and hope sprouts when the endangered butterfly caterpillars hatch

The clouded apollo butterfly butterfly is one of Sweden's most endangered butterflies and very few remain in our country today. To preserve the species, clouded apollo butterfly butterflies have been bred on Nordens Ark since 2016.

Every summer, the butterflies lay eggs that are taken care of. Last summer's eggs have hatched and 70 tiny larvae are eating away on corydalis before it's time to pupate a month later. In mid-May, fully developed butterflies hatch, butterflies that then mate for a couple of weeks and lay new eggs before they die.

Larvae of clouded apollo butterfly. Photo: Jimmy Helgesson

The butterfly larvae that have now been bred on Nordens Ark come from Uppland and Stockholm County. Hopefully their offspring will be released next summer on restored meadows and pastures in the counties where our butterflies came from.

- The situation feels very stable and the larvae are now devouring the corydalis buffet and enjoying the spring sun all day long, says Jimmy Helgesson who is responsible for the breeding at Nordens Ark.

In just over three weeks, the first pupae will hatch into butterflies. Their only task then is to mate for a couple of weeks and lay eggs to take the species further towards a brighter future.

Clouded apollo butterfly. Photo: Jimmy Helgesson