Image Credit – theguardian

According to recent research by the Butterfly Conservation Wildlife Charity, it is time for a butterfly boom in the UK as more than 1.5 million day-flying moths and butterflies were found from time between 14 July to 6 August.

Among the different types, the Red Admiral is the most spotted one across the whole UK, and only small research by the charity found around 248,077. However, the long-term trends of these species show that there has been a significant decrease in the number than it was 13 years back.

One of the researchers, Dr. Zoe Randle said that the good number of butterflies is an indicator that it is a healthy environment and perhaps, it is a result of the mixed weather in 2023. Randle said, “This summer has been a bit of a washout.”

She further added, “The rain combined with the hot days has kept vegetation growing, to be lush and green for caterpillars to feed on. The red admiral had a really good summer this year – an increase of 338% of last year’s count. That particular butterfly is doing well from climate change in the UK at least – it usually lives on the Mediterranean coast or north Africa.”

The research utilized volunteers across the country to collect data. The scientists worked on the abundance and distribution levels of butterflies based on different species. Dr Zoe Randle also took a moment to appreciate this year’s public help in the matter and said that there has been a “really good engagement” this year. She said, “In all UK countries – Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England – participation was up and also the number of counts was up which was fantastic. It is really refreshing to see people participate. It is fabulous.”

Image Credit – belfasttelegraph

Conservationists believe that the wetter weather this year has benefited butterflies to lay more eggs. On average, there are 12 butterflies per count which is far more than nine in 2022. The previous year witnessed long periods of drought and heat.

According to the research of Big Butterfly Count, right behind the red admiral, there is the gatekeeper which is the second most-seen species this year with more than 222,896 sightings. It is a huge increase of 12% than last year. If seen from a long-term angle, there is a huge decrease in the species which is around 28% since 2010.

Next on the list, there are White butterflies with large whites at 216,666 sightings and small white butterflies at 190,506 times. Both cases show a significant increase of 11% and 15% respectively than last year. According to the research, many species have declined since last year such as common blue, ringlet, and speckled wood according to the data collected in the research.

Head of science at Butterfly Conservation, Dr Richard Fox said, “Butterflies need a place to live. If they can feed, breed, and shelter, they can thrive.”

Joseph Morgan

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