Thursday, September 28, 2023

Red Admiral butterflies: Climate change sees migratory species stay in UK

CLIMATE change is seeing a species of migratory butterfly stay in the UK over the winter instead of returning to Europe and Africa, experts say reports the BBC.

A charity’s butterfly count in July recorded a four-fold increase in sightings of the majestic red admiral – continuing a long-term trend. 

Sightings rose by more than 175,000 compared to the same period last year. 

Butterfly Conservation said “there can be no doubt climate change is the driver” behind the increase.

The red admiral is a common sight in British and Irish gardens with its distinctive dark brown body, red stripes and white patches, but is actually a migrant species from continental Europe and North Africa. It migrates north to the UK each spring and summer, and the females lay eggs. 

The experts say it appears many more are staying in southern England over the winter months, leading to more sightings this year.

The Big Butterfly Count found between 14 July and 2 August this year there was a 400% increase in sightings of red admirals. 

The count continues until 6 August and scientists at Butterfly Conservation are looking to see how many more red admirals are recorded, and how they are dispersed around the UK.

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