Butterflies of the world

As the Easter holidays arrive, the Natural History Museum invites visitors on an expedition across four continents with a new family exhibition featuring hundreds of butterflies from across the world.

Ant 'midwives' help the birth of the blues – silver-studded, that is

One of Britain's prettiest butterflies is helped into the world by ants who act as "midwives" – guarding the freshly emerged insect while it inflates and dries its wings, new research has shown.

Wet summers drive five British butterflies close to extinction

Three years of heavy rain and low temperatures made it hard for insects to fly

Michael McCarthy: How I journeyed far and wide to see these lovely insects

Just how fragmented and isolated are some of the populations of Britain's butterflies is brought home to you when you try to see them all in a single summer, as I did last year as part of The Independent's Great British Butterfly Hunt. I managed to see all the five declining species about which conservationists are now so concerned, but to do so meant travelling from end to end of the land. It wasn't that I wanted to. I had to. To find these creatures which once were familiar throughout the countryside, you have to go a long way nowadays.

Spring is back to normal – after 15 freak mild years

The severe winter means that we still have to wait a few weeks for the return of blossoms, buds and wildlife, writes Michael McCarthy

Hilly areas are better for butterflies

Research using satellite images has shown rugged, hilly areas with a mix of habitats such as woodland and grassland can help maintain more stable butterfly populations, scientists said today.

The cricket that pollinates plants

Insect is filmed transferring pollen between orchids for first time

Buzzing again: Why 2009 was a good year for wasps - and the rest of Britain's wildlife

It began with an Arctic blast, suffered the heaviest 24-hour period of rain on record, and ended with another icy bombardment sweeping down from the North. Yet 2009 was surprisingly kind to much of Britain's wildlife given that the two previous wet summers had decimated many species of birds and butterflies.

Dazzled and Deceived: mimicry and camouflage, By Peter Forbes

Soldiers used to be conspicuous, then they turned cryptic. Cockades and braid yielded first to greys and drab, then to subtle patterns that wrapped troops in forest or desert cloaks. In nature, the same alternatives are available. Typically, it is the males of a species that opt to be conspicuous and the females that prefer to be cryptic, the males standing to gain more, in reproductive terms, from showing off. They advertise their presence and boast of their fitness to potential mates, as Darwin recognised.

Michael McCarthy: Butterflies to make the heart beat faster

Environment Notebook: I'd have given anything to see them. I'd have been elated. I could taste the elation in advance

Six-year-old girl discovers Asian moth in UK

A shrub-eating moth has been discovered in the UK for the first time - thanks to the keen eye of a six-year-old girl.

Sunny September brings butterfly invasion

Britain's sunny September has brought about an autumn invasion of butterflies, with thousands of red admirals, clouded yellows and large whites migrating into southern England from across the channel.

Ready to Wear: A small yellow creature took off from the surface of an as-yet unworn scarf

This week I will mostly be eating humble pie. About two years ago now, British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman felt compelled to write a feature in her magazine about moths. How banal, I thought to myself. And this in one of the world's most aspirational and inspirational publications.

The Behaviour of Moths, By Poppy Adams

The self-consciously quirky title might be off-putting, but by the time you reach the end of this dark, atmospheric novel, one sees how apposite it is. Reclusive spinster Ginny Stone lives alone in her crumbling, furniture-less mansion. When her younger sister comes to stay, her life changes and secrets of the past bubble to the surface.

Victory declared in Great Butterfly Hunt

It has taken five months, but now The Independent has achieved its aim of spotting every one of Britain's 58 species in a single summer.
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
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Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
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
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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
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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