Number of butterflies in UK falls to lowest since surveys began Environment

Despite a summer of glorious sunshine, fewer butterflies than ever were recorded in the world’s largest citizen science insect count. On average, fewer than nine butterflies per count were spotted in this summer’s Big Butterfly Count, the lowest in the 13 years of Butterfly Conservation’s popular July recording scheme. It is the third year in … Read more

Autumn brings rare butterflies and moths to UK shores Butterflies

Summer butterflies have just about disappeared in the autumn rains. But there’s always an autumnal surprise when rare butterflies – and moths – are blown on to our shores. Esme Barkham with a moth. Photograph: Handout My mother recently sent me a photo of a heavy moth resting on washing drying on her line. To … Read more

Scotland’s butterflies flourishing in hotter summers Butterflies

Sun-loving butterflies are flourishing in Scotland’s hotter summers with significant increases across a number of species including red admiral, orange-tip and ringlet, according to a report. However, the report’s authors say this trend is likely to be short-lived without measures to reduce the effects of the climate crisis. The Scottish Biodiversity Indicator, published by NatureScot … Read more

Big Butterfly Count in UK begins with eyes on declining numbers | Butterflies

The apparent alarming absence of butterflies feeding on buddleia flowers this summer will be tested by the launch of the world’s largest insect survey. People are being urged to take part in the Big Butterfly Count today to help discover if anecdotal reports of a lack of butterflies reflect a wider reality across Britain this … Read more

Britain’s largest butterfly at risk as fungal pathogens kill food source | Butterflies

Britain’s largest butterfly may be at risk from fungal pathogens that have caused a drastic die-back of the rare plant on which its caterpillars feed. The swallowtail is only found breeding at 16 sites in Britain, all on the Norfolk Broads, where milk parsley grows. But last summer more than 90% of the milk parsley … Read more

Country diary: For spring butterflies, survival is the name of the game | Butterflies

Mid-morning, on the warmest day of the year so far. The only clouds are of wispy, plumed seeds, released from dandelion clocks and ripe goat willow catkins, ethereal “witches’ gowns” rising on thermals into a clear blue sky. This south-facing slope, formerly the site of Brancepeth colliery, landscaped then ungrazed for half a century, is … Read more

The Guardian view on British butterflies: declining beauty | Editorial

The British are remarkably lucky, lepidopterally speaking: some of the most common butterflies to frequent the country are staggeringly beautiful. The peacock, with its four spectacular “eyes” set on wings of velvet burgundy, is a glorious sight as it suns itself, wings held open. The modest common blue, sometimes seen in urban gardens, has a … Read more

Half of UK’s butterfly species vulnerable to extinction as five join red list | Butterflies

Half of Britain’s butterfly species are now listed as threatened with extinction after five more joined the new “red list” of endangered butterflies. The increase in the number of species listed as “vulnerable” from nine in 2011 to 16 today is a warning that time is running out to save the 58 resident species, according … Read more

Monarch butterflies bounce back in Mexico wintering grounds | Butterflies

Mexican experts have said that 35% more monarch butterflies arrived this year to spend the winter in mountaintop forests, compared to the previous season. Experts say the rise may reflect the butterflies’ ability to adapt to more extreme bouts of heat or drought by varying the date when they leave Mexico. The government commission for … Read more

Britain’s butterflies bolstered by conservation efforts | Butterflies

Some of the UK’s most threatened butterflies weathered a poor year in 2021 thanks to conservation efforts, annual survey results have shown. The woodland-loving heath fritillary has doubled in abundance in the past decade, although it is 90% down on 1980 levels. The silver-studded blue also did well, recording its best year since 1996. The … Read more