Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Pearl-bordered fritillary

Nominated by: Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Conservation status:

– Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England

– Section 42 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in Wale

– Scottish Biodiversity List

– UK BAP: Priority Species

– Butterfly Conservation priority: High

– European status: Not threatened

– Protected under Schedule 5 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (for sale only)

Why do you love it? The pearl-bordered fritillary (or PBF as we lovingly refer to it) is a little orange butterfly, easily overlooked, but rewarding the careful observer with surprisingly confiding views of their subtle markings. Get yourself in the right place at the right time and you may be lucky enough to be surrounded by these flitting beauties – a very rare treat. Once bitten by the PBF bug it is hard not to want to do all you can to save this delicate little butterfly!

What are the threats to the pearl-bordered fritillary? Changes in land management leading to habitat loss and fragmentation has turned this once common butterfly into one of our most rapidly declining species.

Three main habitats are used by the species: woodland clearings, usually in recently coppiced or clear-felled woodland; well-drained habitats with mosaics of grass, dense bracken and light scrub and open deciduous wood pasture in Scotland. In all habitats it requires abundant foodplants (violets) growing in short, sparse vegetation, where there is abundant leaf litter. Overgrazing by sheep or the abandonment of grazing can cause the loss of suitable habitat. In woodlands, lack of woodland management, particularly coppicing is the main cause.

What are you doing to save it? From approximately 100 sites where it had been recorded post 1980 the pearl-bordered fritillary is now restricted to just 12 sites in Wales. The last remaining stronghold in Wales is Montgomeryshire where populations are thought to occur on nine sites. In this part of the world, the species seems to prefer south-facing, scrubby slopes with bracken – a habitat known as ‘ffridd’.

For nearly 20 years, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust has been working with local landowners and partners to safeguard this species in the area, through active habitat management work and appropriate grazing. The outcome of this work, which often involves rotational scrub clearance and bracken management, is carefully monitored through annual monitoring of both adult butterflies and their habitat.

Find out more about the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s work

Discover more brush-footed butterfly species on Arkive