A RARE butterfly has been spotted in Blairlogie after being thought extinct across Stirlingshire.

The Northern Brown Argus was once found in abundance throughout the Ochils but was believed extinct due to habitat loss in Stirlingshire.

The few numbers that do remain cling on in colonies in Alva but one has now been found in a garden in Blairlogie.

A volunteer from the Butterfly Conservation found a Northern Brown Argus in her garden after she planted common rock-rose, the only plant eaten by Northern Brown Argus caterpillars.

This has sparked hope amongst nature lovers, prompting the Butterfly Conservation and The Future Forest Company to conduct a series of searches on Dumyat, discovering a few small butterfly colonies.

David Hill, conservation manager at Butterfly Conservation, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, the re-emergence of a previously locally-extinct species in its former habitat is incredibly special and rare.

“We’re committed to protecting the Northern Brown Argus and helping it to thrive, with hopes that it will spread across its former home and stretch right across the Ochil Hills once again.”

Following discovery of colonies on Dumyat, which is owned by The Future Forest Company, it has now been confirmed that the Northern Brown Argus is breeding on the site, sparking hope for the return of this species across Stirlingshire.

Lindsay Mackinlay, head of biodiversity at The Future Forest Company, said: “We are delighted that this rare butterfly can once again be spotted on the hills below Dumyat.

“We hope to work in partnership with Butterfly Conservation to monitor its numbers in the coming years.

“With the help of volunteers, The Future Forest Company is starting to clear the invasive scrub that is threatening the common rock-rose plants which this beautiful butterfly depends on.

“However, more conservation work is required to ensure the long-term survival of this species at Dumyat.

“We are inviting any company that wants to help ensure a future for wildlife at Dumyat to get in touch and help transform our landscapes into wildlife havens for local people.”