Monday, 2 October 2017

Red admiral thrives in butterfly count while whites show decline

A record 60,000 people took part in the Big Butterfly Count but each participant saw on average only 11 butterflies, the lowest since the count began in 2010

Monday 25 September 2017 06.01 BST

Summer’s washout failed to dampen the prospects for the red admiral, one of the UK’s most popular butterflies, whose numbers rose by 75% compared with last year, according to the annual Big Butterfly Count.

Other butterfly species were less fortunate, however, with declines seen across the three common species of white butterflies. The green-veined white and both the large white and small white were down more than a third on last year, reflecting difficult weather conditions.

The red admiral is one of the best recognised butterflies in Britain thanks to its distinctive black, orange and white markings. More than 73,000 were counted in this year’s census carried out by the Butterfly Conservation charity between 14 July and 6 August. The large showing came on the back of a bumper year last year, and a mild winter and spring that helped some of the species stay in the UK – a new development in recent years, possibly assisted by a warming climate, for what used to be a summer visitor from southern Europe.

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