Two rare species of insect have excited nature experts after the first sightings at a Fife beauty spot.
Wall butterflies and banded demoiselle damselflies have been spotted at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve (NNR) over the summer months.
The sightings are some of the most northerly ever to be recorded for these striking insects.
A wall butterfly was first spotted by surveyors in May and June, and there have been several sightings since.
These are the most north-easterly sightings of the butterfly in the UK, with the species more commonly seen in southern Scotland and northern England.
Sometimes confused with small fritillary butterflies, the wall butterfly is named after its habit of basking on walls, rocks, and stony places.
With its light brown undersides, the wall butterfly is a master of camouflage and is often hard to spot.
Over the last decade, it has declined substantially in many inland areas of central England and Northern Ireland.
It is the second record for Fife, the most northerly sighting on the east coast of Scotland, and the second most northerly sighting in the UK.
Banded demoiselles are large damselflies with fluttering, butterfly-like wings.
The male has a metallic blue body with large dark blue-black spots across its wings.
In contrast, the female has a metallic green body with translucent pale green wings.
Marijke Leith, NatureScot’s Tentsmuir nature reserve manager, said the sightings are both exciting and significant.
He said: “Both of these sightings are quite significant for Fife and really exciting for us at Tentsmuir.
“We can’t say for certain why these magnificent butterflies and damselflies have been spotted on the nature reserve this year.
“It could be because of warmer temperatures, more people spending time outdoors and reporting species, or improved habitat on the reserve.
“It’s lovely to see them on the reserve and we’d encourage visitors to keep their eyes open for these beauties next year.”
Daniele Muir of the British Dragonfly Society added: “It’s very exciting news that banded demoiselles have been spotted at Morton Lochs.
“As a fantastic dragonfly hotspot, the conditions here are ideal for many species of dragonfly and the banded demoiselle brings the species count up to twelve on the reserve.
“The British Dragonfly Society released the State of Dragonflies 2021 recently, which outlines changes in species occupancy across Britain and Ireland over the past 50 years, including key species increases and decreases, and discusses potential causes of the observed trends.
“Many species, including the banded demoiselle are moving north with climate change, so we would expect to see even more species arrive in the future.
“We don’t yet know what impact they will have on the existing dragonflies.”