British butterfly species facing extinction after wettest summer
The weather created disastrous conditions for species such as fritillaries
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Britain's butterflies suffered catastrophically in 2012, which saw the wettest summer on record for England. No fewer than 52 of the 56 resident British species suffered declines in the relentless rain and cold, some to such an extent that they now face extinction in parts of the country, according to the annual survey of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
The weather created disastrous conditions for species such as fritillaries as they struggled to find food, shelter and mating opportunities; butterflies fell to a record low, and 13 species suffered their worst year on record.
The critically endangered high brown fritillary fell by 46 per cent, the vulnerable marsh fritillary was down 71 per cent and the endangered heath fritillary saw its population plummet by 50 per cent.
The black hairstreak, one of the UK's rarest species, saw its population fall by 98 per cent.
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