Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Eltham Copper Butterfly workshop and walk – 14 January 2023

Posted on 6 December, 2022 by Ivan

Did you know Central Victoria is home to the largest known population of the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly in the world? The Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida) is only found in Victoria, Australia, and is restricted to several sites around Castlemaine, Bendigo, Kiata (near Nhill) and Eltham.

It is one of the rare good news stories within the extinction crisis in Australia. The Eltham Copper Butterfly was considered extinct in the 1950s until rediscovered at Eltham in 1986. This butterfly has a fascinating ecological relationship with Sweet Bursaria plants and Notoncus ants, and lives in bushland at several locations around the township of Castlemaine.

Connecting Country is teaming up with local butterfly lover Elaine Bayes, from the Wetland Revival Trust, to deliver an Eltham Copper Butterfly event on Saturday 14 January 2023 at 9.30 am. Come along and learn about our very special local butterfly and what we can do to help this threatened species. Elaine will give a presentation about the unique life cycle and importance of this species and an update on her latest butterfly monitoring results, followed by a guided walk through some Eltham Copper Butterfly habitat. Adult Eltham Copper Butterflies are active during warm weather, so if we’re lucky we may see one.

You will:

•    Hear all about the incredible life cycle of Eltham Copper Butterfly from local ecologist Elaine Bayes.
•    Learn about how to identify this species from similar butterflies.
•    Find out about butterfly monitoring and how you can help.
•    Join a guided walk through butterfly habitat at the Botanical Gardens Bushland Reserve.

Bookings are essential – click here

This is a free event with morning tea provided. Numbers are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment!

When: Saturday 14 January 2023, 9.30 to 11.30 am
Where: Tea Rooms, Castlemaine Botanical Gardens: Downes Rd, Castlemaine VIC
Bring: Sturdy shoes, water, a hat, sunscreen and weather-appropriate clothing.

To book: click here

Bursaria for butterflies project

This workshop is part of Connecting Country’s Bursaria for Butterflies project, which aims to protect and enhance priority habitat for the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly around Castlemaine VIC. We will achieve this through practical on-ground actions to reduce threats and improve the quality, quantity and connectivity of available butterfly habitat. We will work with key landholders to protect and restore priority butterfly habitat on their land. We’re supporting local landholders to control threats (including weeds and rabbits) and revegetate their land, focusing on the butterfly’s host plant, Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).

Sweet Bursaria is a small prickly shrub that produces abundant small white flowers through summer. It’s a great habitat plant for wildlife and essential for Eltham Copper Butterflies. On warm spring nights their caterpillars climb Sweet Bursaria plants to feed, accompanied by their special attendant ants.

Historically, survey efforts and management actions have focused on public land, yet we know there is potential Eltham Copper Butterfly habitat on adjoining private land. This habitat is under threat, particularly from urbanisation, weeds, changed fire regimes and grazing.

This project is funded by the Australian Department of Industry, Science and Resources as part of the Environment Restoration Fund and Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan.

Enjoy these beautiful pictures of our Eltham Copper Butterfly taken by Elaine Bayes. To learn more about the Eltham Copper Butterfly – click here


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