Saturday, 19 July 2014

Public butterfly count aims to check countryside health

18 July 2014 Last updated at 08:34

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

The charity Butterfly Conservation is calling on the public to help survey the state of Britain's countryside by counting our most colourful insects.

For two weeks from 19 July, the charity is asking people to spend 15 minutes "in a sunny spot" and note how many of 21 common species they spot.

Butterfly Conservation said that the insects were the most visible indicator of whether the countryside was healthy.

The online survey is now in its fifth year.

"Butterfly numbers go up and down with the weather, so it's important to keep this survey running in the long term," said Butterfly Conservation's surveys manager Richard Fox.

"[But] we also want people to engage with the natural world. Everyone should know the names of a small tortoiseshell, a comma and a red admiral.

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