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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Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
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He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
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Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
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Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
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9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
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A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
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Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
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The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
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'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing