UK Butterflies Suffer Another Set-Back

With 2013 recording one of the coldest springs for 50 odd years, our British Butterflies have suffered a further set-back. Many have been late to emerge and our rarer species are now on the wing anything up to several weeks later than would be expected.

Butterfly Conservation have stated in an article I read recently, that the Pearl-bordered Fritillary did not emerge until April 27th (usually this species is on the wing by April 1st). The rare and endangered Wood White was first seen in early May (On the wing in 2012 by April 10th) and the Duke of Burgundy was only on the wing in late April, (up to three weeks later than 2012).


Grizzled Skipper


Pearl-bordered Fritillary


Duke of Burgundy


Wood White

2012 was a complete washout year and one of the worst years on record for our British Butterflies. Many species are in decline. How will they fare this year with such a cold spring? Lets hope  that the weather improves and they have a successful breeding season, in order for their ever dwindling numbers to show some signs of increase.


High Brown Fritillary

During 2012 the critically endangered High Brown Fritillary saw its population drop by 46% and the Marsh Fritillary by 71%. Populations of many butterflies and moths are depressing and species that were once common during the last decade or so are now showing dramatic reductions in their range & numbers. I can’t bear the thought of not seeing a Small Tortoiseshell grace our British Countryside.

For further reading see – Butterfly Conservation’s publication “The State of Britain’s Larger Moths 2013” and “The State of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland”.


Small Tortoiseshell

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