How to save a bug's life

Insects are Britain's most threatened – yet most overlooked – species of wildlife. But enthusiasts have devised innovative methods to ensure their survival, as Peter Marren reports

Perfect time for a flutter: Get to grips with Britain's butterflies

This week sees the start of the biggest ever survey of Britain's butterflies. But don't worry if you don't know your Peacocks from your Red Admirals - Stephen Moss gives his guide on how to wing it

Warm spring brings bumper year for Britain's butterflies

British butterflies are expected in spectacular abundance this year, with more than a quarter of all species native to the isles having made their earliest recorded appearances as a result of the warmest spring for 351 years.

Philip Hensher: The plague in our cashmere-filled closets

Sometimes, for no reason, waves of pure evil arise in the world, at the idle bidding of Satan. There is nothing to do but hunker down, and prepare to buy new sweaters

Leading article: The butterfly effect

It is good to hear that the Adonis blue and white admiral are doing so well this year. No, they are not failed Eurovision bands that have gone on to better things. They are scarce types of butterfly that have increased markedly in numbers recently, partly as a result of this year's warm, dry spring.

Butterfly effect: Why Britain is suddenly all of a flutter

Three sodden summers brought many butterflies to the brink of extinction. But now Britain's most endangered species are making a comeback thanks to 2010's Indian summer and conservation efforts.

Moth Smoke, By Mohsin Hamid

Salutary thriller on sex, crime,and air-con

Cecil battles butterflies but fluent Frankel flies in his final rehearsal

Facing a press conference later in the morning, Henry Cecil played down Frankel's work yesterday as "his final quiet piece" before the first Classic of the season on Saturday. Those who witnessed the young champion's latest detonation, however, would testify that "quiet" was just about the last word to describe the way Frankel once again scalded his lead horse, exploding several lengths clear. His trainer did admit that he has been delighted with Frankel's progress, since resurfacing at Newbury 11 days ago. "I'd be very surprised if he's not a better horse now than he was then," he said. "But we've still four days to go, haven't we?"

A spotter's guide to a wild orchid summer

In the tropics, they're outlandish: huge, exotic blooms ranging in colour from tangerine to puce, from snow-white to maroon, the world's most spectacular flowers.

Gardeners urged to save butterflies

Gardeners are being urged to plant butterfly-friendly flowers to "make nature come back to life", after five rare species have become extinct and half of the remaining 56 species are under threat of extinction.

Global warming: A British Noah's Ark

Britain's climate could provide a 'Noah's Ark' for species affected by global warming in their own habitats. Roger Dobson explains

The joys of spring: 20 reasons to be cheerful

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the days are getting brighter. Michael McCarthy celebrates a special time of year

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Mere science cannot account for beauty

It has been well said that science gives us knowledge but takes away meaning. It certainly obliterates parts of the imagination, and I cannot be the only one who thought something was lost to us when Neil Armstrong plonked his great fat boot down on the moon, even while being in awe of the daring and the technological triumph. Why? Because the mystery was no more.

Spring is here, say nature watchers

Spring has arrived - and much earlier than last year, according to sightings of nature recorded by the public.

Fiere, By Jackie Kay

A bilingual celebration of closeness
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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