Farmland butterflies have flourished thanks to last year’s hot summer, the charity Butterfly Conservation says.
The annual Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) recorded almost double the number of insects compared with the previous year.
Long, sunny periods provided perfect breeding conditions for some of the UK’s brightest species, it suggested.
But experts warned the mild winter could reverse the insects’ fortunes if they emerged too early for spring.
The survey has been run by Butterfly Conservation, the British Trust for Ornithology [BTO] and The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology since 2009….
Read the full, very interesting article from the BBC, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/26242496
Eddie’s comment: This is excellent news! For the past few years, there has been a dismaying scenario of butterfly numbers falling, throughout Britain. This has largely been attributed to inappropriately long periods of cold and/or wet weather, so it is nice to see that a warmer, drier summer brought numbers back up, perhaps to a larger extent than one might have dared hope.
As for the excellent photograph by Tim Melling, some experts say that the European Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) is actually the same species as North America’s “Milbert’s Tortoiseshell” (Aglais milberti).*
The other two North American tortoiseshells (‘California’ and ‘Compton’) are in a different genus — Nymphalis — the same as the Mourning Cloak.
* National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies
The above article can be put into perspective if one reads an article from The Guardian newspaper, from 2013 — Butterflies suffer devastating year after UK’s wet summer — at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/26/british-butterflies-devastating-wet-summer
As important, though, is that this article contains more of Tim Melling’s first-class butterfly photography.
See also Mark Avery’s blog, at: http://markavery.info/2013/07/30/read-2/