It’s a butterfly high! Half of Britain’s best-loved species see numbers increase as warmer summers boost caterpillar growth rates
- The warm spring and summer is believed to have helped caterpillars grow faster
- It was also wet enough to provide plenty of wildflower leaves to munch
- Latest figures collected by more than 2,500 volunteers across the country
Hopeful springtime news has arrived – butterfly numbers are rising.
Last year was their most prolific since 1997, with more than half of species seeing a population increase.
The number of red admirals tripled, figures from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme show.
There were almost 12 times more painted ladies and more than twice as many peacock butterflies.
Butterfly numbers are rising with more than half of species seeing a population increase last year thanks to a warm spring and summer
The warm spring and summer is believed to have helped caterpillars grow faster.
It was also wet enough to provide plenty of wildflower leaves to munch.
Even butterflies threatened by falling numbers have bounced back.
These include the duke of burgundy, a small orange and brown butterfly now found only in central southern England, in the southern Lake District and the Yorkshire moors.
It has recovered partly because of winter cattle grazing, which creates the right grass for wildflowers such as primulas – which the caterpillars eat – to flourish.
The number of red admirals (pictured) tripled, according to figures from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
The latest figures were collected by more than 2,500 volunteers who count numbers while walking the same routes across the country every year.
Red admirals arrive from southern Europe and painted ladies from Morocco, and their survival was boosted by warm weather in Europe.
The marbled white had its best year in almost half a century, with numbers up two thirds.
But some species, such as the heath fritillary, saw a fall, and butterflies as a whole have seen more species decline than increase since the 1970s.
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