British butterfly numbers bounce back following warm summer
Butterflies have bounced back this year after the worst summer on record in 2012. But gardeners may not be so delighted: the cabbage-munching large and small whites were the two most numerous insects in the world’s largest butterfly count.
These two white species saw numbers rise by 300% in the Big Butterfly Count, as a record-breaking 46,000 people recorded more than 830,000 butterflies and day-flying moths from the Scillies to the Shetland Islands. The six-week count in July and August, organised by Butterfly Conservation and supported by Marks & Spencer, recorded four times as many butterflies as in 2012, the worst year for species since records began nearly 40 years ago.
While the caterpillars of the large and small white have a fondness for cabbages and sprouts that exasperates many gardeners, numbers of old favourites also surged. Once-common garden species the peacock and the small tortoiseshell butterfly returned to buddleia and lavender across Britain. Small tortoiseshell numbers rose by 388% compared to 2012 with the peacock coming a surprise third in the count after its numbers surged by more than 3,500%.
Read the full story here.