Heat wave a boon for rarest butterflies of Britain, rise in record numbers

April 11, 2019 9:37 AM |

Heat wave and butterflies

In a recent study, it has come to notice that British’s rarest butterflies enjoyed a boom in numbers courtesy 2018 heat wave conditions. As per the annual UK butterfly monitoring scheme, more than two thirds of British butterfly species have grown large in numbers than in 2017.

Climate change is among the biggest challenges of this century, not because the Earth has not gone through drastic climate changes before, but because the changes happening now are compounding other severe problems faced by the environment. There are more species in danger of extinction than ever before, and climate change only adds to that number.

The large blue butterfly which earlier extinct in the 1970s has now returned in greater abundance than at any time since records began in 1976.

Large blues returned to the countryside of South-West England following intensive conservation efforts. It has been found that the number has increased by 58% in 2017. Around 5,700 large blues at Collard Hill, near Glastonbury were found from June and July last year.

Large blues are one of the most successful examples of conservation in a way. Another rare butterfly, the black hairstreak too enjoyed a record year in 2018. The number rose by more than 900% in comparison to 2017.

It has been noticed that the weather was sunny and dry when these butterflies completed their development in the immature stages. Such weather conditions continued when the butterflies were emerging. The good weather in the critical May and June seemed to really benefit these butterflies.

While, the ‘classic garden butterflies’ enjoyed more of a mixed year, some were even forced to contend with drought-like conditions brought about by the heat. It has been also found in the study that small tortoiseshells and peacock butterflies were down by 38% and 25%, respectively.

The experts said that despite the upturn on the previous few years, 2018 was still only an average year for UK butterflies, and almost two thirds of species remain in a state of decline over the long term.

Image Credit: Good Free Photos

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