The Duke Of Burgundy butterfly is endangered
The Duke of Burgundy is the Goldilocks of the butterfly world because, just like Goldilocks, the Duke has very specific requirements.
Changes in farming and forestry have severely reduced suitable habitat for the species, leading to a dramatic fall in the number of Duke of Burgundy butterflies in the UK.
Duke of Burgundy butterflies remain on just 16% of sites where they could be found in 1976.
Duke of Burgundy butterfly numbers have declined by 40% since 1979.
Things are looking up in some areas, with a 10% increase in numbers in the last 10 years following our targeted conservation work.
We know how to save this butterfly
Since 2003, Butterfly Conservation has led 22 projects targeted at saving the Duke of Burgundy. We are delighted to report that in Kent, Sussex and the North York Moors the Duke has returned to former sites and moved into newly restored habitat. But the species still has a long way to go to reach healthy population levels and it remains at risk in several parts of its range.
Can you help?
Your donation will support conservation work, creating new areas of habitat and connecting suitable sites, allowing the Duke to spread its wings in Gloucestershire, Cumbria, Wiltshire and beyond.
Duke of Burgundy egg
Eggs are laid in small batches underneath the leaves of Primrose (Primula vulgaris) and Cowslip (P. veris) plants. They take seven to 21 days to hatch depending on weather conditions.
Duke of Burgundy caterpillar
Duke caterpillars stay hidden during the day, emerging to feed on leaves at dusk. Even after six weeks of feeding they remain smaller than 2cm long. Conditions during this stage are critical to their survival, with summer droughts posing a huge threat.
Duke of Burgundy chrysalis
Caterpillars will leave the foodplant to pupate in grass tussocks. This species remains as a chrysalis until the following spring.
Duke of Burgundy butterfly
Adults can emerge from late April and are on the wing until mid-June. A Duke of Burgundy adult will only live for five to seven days. To find a mate and egg-laying sites in their lifetime, suitable habitat must be close by.