Search is on for Scotland's smallest butterfly

The feisty and charismatic Small Blue butterfly is the focus of a volunteer survey in Angus.

The UK's smallest butterfly once had colonies stretching along large sections of the Scottish coastline, and also many inland colonies on flower-rich grassland and river shingle.

The butterfly even successfully colonised many 'brownfield' sites, for example disused railway lines and quarries. Its presence is determined by the sole caterpillar foodplant, Kidney Vetch.

Sadly many colonies have been lost - including all of those on the south west coast - and most of the inland sites, as pastures have been 'improved' for agriculture, and brownfield sites have been redeveloped.

The Small Blue is now on the UK's Red List, and on the UK and Tayside Biodiversity Action Plans.

The butterfly lives in wild, uncultivated places, is often reluctant to stray far from its origin, can easily be overlooked, doesn't come into gardens (so people just don't see it much) and is threatened by changes to the countryside which may unwittingly destroy the habitats it needs.

Angus still has a scattering of colonies along the coast so the survey is aimed at getting a more accurate picture of the butterfly's current distribution, as well as that of its foodplant, Kidney Vetch.

The survey is being co-ordinated through the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership and Butterfly Conservation Scotland.

Catherine Lloyd, Tayside Biodiversity Co-ordinator said; "Future plans will include working with local landowners and other site managers to ensure the remaining colonies prosper, and hopefully there will be opportunities to encourage its spread to other suitable habitats".