Butterflies are sensitive to change and loss of habitat and are considered to be good indicators of climate change. So apart from being an intrinsic and important part of our natural heritage, they are also good 'indicator' species.
There is concern that species such as the Large Heath is suffering decline because of the loss of their habitat (raised and blanket bog) and the Marsh Fritillary is an endangered European species.
Large Heath Marsh Fritillary
The first surveys of the butterflies of Ireland were compiled by the Biological Records Centre of An Foras Forbartha and final version published in 1980 (Ní Lamhna). A very major contributor to these Atlases was Paul Hillis who did extensive field work, and encouraged other recorders. Important contributors were Sean Fleming, Patrick O'Mahony, the Cork Naturalist Association, Ian Rippey, Robert Nash and Ken Preston..
During this period The Dublin Naturalists' Field Club (DNFC), in co-operation with Butterfly Conservation (UK), collected butterfly records from recorders all over Ireland, backdated to 1995.. The data collected during this time was used in the production of "The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland" which was published in March 2001 (see Noticeboard).
In the short space of two years, assisted by many butterfly enthusiasts, we collected a very substantial amount of information on the occurrence and distribution of the butterflies of Ireland. Our efforts received the support of the Heritage Council.
The results published in the Atlas were very encouraging, but still were very much a beginning, and showed that much more systematic work was needed in order to build up an accurate picture of the habitat, distribution and frequency of all our butterfly species.
So we extended our survey to include 2000-2004 and the results for this five year period was published as a Millennium Atlas update - State of Butterflies of Britain and Ireland - in May 2006
The DNFC has completed its survey and 2014 was the final year of the five year cycle of 2010 to 2014.
Ireland's Butterflies A Review (David Nash, Trevor Boyd & Deirdre Hardiman) was published in 2012 and covers information gathered from 1995-2009 for all Ireland.
Please visit The Dublin Naturalists' Field Club butterfly website: Butterfly Ireland
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