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Planet Earth

Back from the Brink

Courtesy John Weinstein/The Field Museum | NULL


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The Moment A Large Blue butterfly —declared extinct in the United Kingdom in 1979—flutters anew in British fields after a successful re­introduction program spanning three decades. For years the butterfly’s population had declined, even after conservationists protected the grasslands where it lives. Researchers eventually realized that subtle changes in vegetation had reduced the habitat for red ants; the Large Blue butterfly spends part of its life cycle in ant nests. A program to improve conditions for the ants allowed the Large Blues to bounce back.

The Shot Photograph by ecologist David Simcox using an Olympus E-500, 50mm lens, f/11, 1/60 second.

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