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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Butterflies on the brink?

According to data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme 2008 was the poorest summer for butterfly numbers for more than 25 years. This comes on top of the summer of 2007, the wettest on record apparently, where there was a relative absence of breeding.

Butterflies can't fly in rain and therefore they can't reach the nectar they feed on.

Anyway 2008 was the worst year on record for 12 species. Some of these species are well known, e.g Orange Tip and Small Tortoisehell. Some once common species that have have declined dramatically over the last few decades include the Small Heath, Small Copper and Wall. Species like High Brown Frillary are down to only 50 colonies mostly small.

It is not only the weather that is affecting butterfly numbers, loss of habitats such as flower rich grassland and the intensification of farming methods also has an impact as done the lack of management of woodland.

Let's hope for a warm dry (the odd shower at night?) summer and for a good year for our flutters.


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised, they were hard to come by here last year.

Liz said...

Very concerning Pete and I'm surprised last year was worse than the year before to be honest as I saw far more Butterflies last year than previous.

I hear on the grapevine it's set to be a long hot summer this year, remains to be seen, but I do hope they're correct. The last two years have been particularly poor.

Tricia said...

I do hope this summer will be different and give the flutters a chance to breed and increase in numbers again. It's bad enough with the bees on the decrease and now - flutters as well.