Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 255–264 | Cite as

Abundances and movement of the Scarce Copper butterfly (Lycaena virgaureae) on future building sites at a settlement fringe in southern Sweden



The Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae) is a species that has suffered serious decline in several European countries. In Scandinavia it is still comparatively abundant, but with ongoing losses of flower-rich grasslands near forests further decline is expected. A mark–release–recapture study was carried out in July 2013 at 14 sites on the outskirts of a village located near Malmö, Sweden. The study area comprised in total an 11.4 ha network of abandoned agricultural sites, road verges and forest edges. A private garden was also included. Butterflies were marked individually and the capture position was recorded by GPS. Sex, behaviour and flower visits were also recorded. During the study 852 butterflies were marked and 170 of these were recaptured at least once (recapture rate 20 %), resulting in 1,078 captures (including multiple recaptures). Movement between patches accounted for 41 % of all recaptures and mean distance between recaptures was 112 ± 146 m (n = 226). The number of captures was strongly positively correlated with patch size (ρ = 0.95, p < 0.05), while the emigrant and immigrant fractions were significantly negatively correlated with patch size. Overall, the Scarce Copper was surprisingly abundant in the area, but planned construction of residential areas will result in the loss of most habitat patches.


Dispersal Garden Housing development Mark–release–recapture Rumex thyrsiflorus Urbanisation 



This study was funded by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Alnarp. I am thankful to Mary McAfee, who corrected the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and ManagementSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden

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