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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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own