I’ll see your numbered pebble and raise you a numbered butterfly!

Matthew Chatfield
Latest posts by Matthew Chatfield (see all)

Ranger regular Dave Larkin noticed the article on the numbered pebble, and typically, manages to knock that into a cocked hat.

Parnassius apollo in Pieniny National Park, Poland © David larkin

Dave writes:

I took a photo of a fairly tatty butterfly while on holiday in Poland and was surprised to find out when I looked at the picture that I had taken that it had a number on its wing. When I got home I contacted the National park where I had been walking and got the following response: Dear David, Pieniny are the only place in Poland, where P. apollo has survived in natural conditions. For this reason staff of the Pieniny NP is carrying very accurate monitoring of this particular butterfly as well as breeding and resettling program. The butterflies reared in a lab are numbered, released and then observed in the wild. One of them you have seen and taken picture of it. Greetings, Bogdan Jaroszewicz

It turns out that the wild population of this spectacular butterfly, the Apollo, fell to around 30 individuals in Pieniny in the 1990s. A programme of captive breeding and re-release with mixed success has managed to bring the population back to some 1000 butterflies in 2007 – so Dave did well to see it. This was one of the captive-bred individuals, which was marked before being let out into the wild. Some Polish lepidopterist has a very steady hand. What a delicate job!

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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