Monday 5 August 2019

Britons urged to help record influx of painted lady butterflies

High numbers have reached UK in past six weeks and many of their offspring will emerge during Big Butterfly Count
Fri 19 Jul 2019 07.00 BSTLast modified on Fri 19 Jul 2019 15.15 BST
Wildlife lovers are being urged to help record the greatest influx of painted lady butterflies for a decade as part of the world’s largest butterfly survey.
Unusually high numbers of the migratory butterfly have flown into Britain from continental Europe in the last six weeks and some of their offspring will emerge during the Big Butterfly Count, which starts on Friday.
This “painted lady summer” is the most significant since 2009, when 11marrived in Britain. The butterfly is continuously migratory, with offspring making the reverse journey to warmer climes at summer’s end, with successive generations even crossing the Sahara before making their way north again next spring.
Chris Packham, vice-president of Butterfly Conservation, urged people to join in the survey in which people can download a free app and spend 15 minutes counting butterflies in their local park, nature reserve or garden.
“The painted lady migration is one of the wonders of the natural world,” said Packham. “Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30mph these seemingly fragile creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year.
“This butterfly undertakes an extraordinary 7,500-mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle every year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the monarch butterfly in North America.

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