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article imageGood news for British butterflies

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2015 in Environment
Warmer weather in 2014 has led to an increase the numbers of certain butterflies in the U.K. This includes the critically endangered High Brown Fritillary.
While some butterflies in the world are facing problems, such as the North American Monarch, other parts of the globe have seen a slight revival in numbers and incidences of certain species.
Of 56 key indicator species, some 32 increased across 2014 according to a new survey run by the U.K. Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Top of the list of butterflies doing well is the endangered High Brown Fritillary (with its distinctive black and orange wings); however others, such as the cabbage white, are still in decline.
Butterflies and moths are known scientifically as Lepidoptera (which means scaley wings because the wings are covered with thousands of tiny, overlapping scales.) There are about 170,000 known species of Lepidoptera in the world, and about one tenth of these are butterflies. In the UK there are 58 main types of butterfly.
Additional information from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology suggests that British butterflies have seen their highest numbers in 10 years. The key factor was the unusual weather pattern seen in 2014, where northern Europe experienced an atypical warm and wet spring.
A spokesperson for the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, Dr Tom Brereton, told BBC News: "A huge amount of work coordinated by Butterfly Conservation has been put into conserving this butterfly in recent years, especially through wildlife-friendly farming schemes, so the results will come as a welcome boost to all involved."
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