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Butterfly Fightback Begins

by Butterfly Conservation
Date: 03/04/2014

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UK butterflies rallied last summer following their worst year on record but numbers were still below average, a study has revealed.

Some 46 out of the 56 species studied in 2013 recorded an annual increase compared to 2012 - the worst butterfly year on record since the study, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), began in 1976.

Several rare species revived following 2012 with the Lulworth Skipper up by 162% and the critically endangered High Brown Fritillary up 133% as both responded to conservation work.

The warm weather saw a huge influx of some migrants with numbers of Clouded Yellow butterflies from the Continent up by 4,373 compared to 2012.

Common species such as the Small, Large and Green-veined White, all of which had their worst year on record in 2012 bounced back to above average numbers in 2013 with all three increasing by more than 100%.

Garden favourite the Small Tortoiseshell also rallied after years of decline. The butterfly was up by more than 200% on 2012 as last year's warm summer saw it record its best year for a decade.

But despite the resurgence overall butterfly number were still below average, data gathered by the UKBMS, jointly led by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), revealed.

The very cold spring of 2013 saw some of our most threatened habitat specialists suffer. The endangered Pearl-bordered Fritillary was down 22% compared to 2012, whilst Grizzled Skipper numbers fell by 45% to a series low.

Washout 2012 took a toll on butterflies with populations of rare species such as Duke of Burgundy becoming locally extinct.

Many UK species need a warm spring and summer this year to give them the best chance of sustaining a recovery.

Dr Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said: "The recovery of butterflies in 2013 was highly welcome but there is still a long way to go before butterflies return to former glories.

"Our ongoing monitoring efforts will be vital in assessing whether we are on track to reverse butterfly declines and rebuild a healthy countryside."


UKBMS has run since 1976 and involves thousands of volunteers collecting data every week throughout the summer from more than 1,000 sites across the UK.

CEH butterfly ecologist Dr Marc Botham said: "Annual changes are largely associated with the weather. However, the data show that a number of species have been significantly declining over the last 38 years. This highlights the importance of maintaining long-term monitoring, reliant on the immense dedication of thousands of volunteers, to determine species and habitats of conservation priority."

The UKBMS is operated by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and funded by a multi-agency consortium including Defra, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Forestry Commission, BTO, Natural England, the Natural Environment Research Council, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage. The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.

CONTACTS
For interviews and images contact:
Butterfly Conservation Press Office
t: 01929 406005
e: news@butterfly-conservation.org


Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Press Office
Barnaby Smith
t: 07920 295384
e: bpgs@ceh.ac.uk


Butterfly Conservation is the UK charity dedicated to halting the rapid decline of butterflies and moths and protecting our environment. We run conservation programmes for more than 100 threatened species and manage over 30 nature reserves. www.butterfly-conservation.org

The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is the UK’s Centre of excellence for integrated research in the land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. CEH is part of the Natural Environment Research council (NERC), employs more than 450 people at four major sites in England, Scotland and Wales, hosts over 150 PhD students and has an overall budget of about £35m. CEH tackles complex environmental challenges to deliver practicable solutions so that future generations can benefit from a rich and healthy environment. www.ceh.ac.uk

You can follow the latest developments in CEH research via twitter www.twitter.com/CEHScienceNews and our rss news feed http://www.ceh.ac.uk/rss.xml.

If you have any questions or require more information about this press release, please contact Butterfly Conservation by email.

About Our Press Releases

Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire regularly issue press releases on issues in relation to butterfly and moth conservation in the Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull area alongside occasional press releases covering national stories from Butterfly Conservation's head office.

If you require further information about a specific press release, please contact the specific press release author.

Press Release Archive

22/03/2016 -  Small Copper slumps as butterflies strug

23/10/2014 -  Butterflies Find Solace With Shakespeare

06/06/2014 -  Early Start For Rare Spring Butterflies

05/06/2014 -  Early Start For Rare Spring Butterflies

03/04/2014 -  Butterfly Fightback Begins

18/02/2014 -  Farmland Butterflies Flourish

26/03/2013 -  2012: A Disaster Year For UK Butterflies

01/02/2013 -  UK Moths Suffer 40-Year Crash

17/01/2013 -  Grass Feeding Butterflies Defy Deluge

05/11/2012 -  Butterfly Survival Blueprint Unveiled

18/10/2012 -  Painted Lady Migration Secrets Unveiled

12/07/2012 -  Butterfly Warning as Deluge Takes Toll

21/06/2012 -  The Return of the Ranunculus - The Moth

01/06/2012 -  Small Tortoiseshell Slide Continues

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15/02/2012 -  Funding Boost for Warwickshire's Woodlan

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01/12/2009 -  Models get dirty to break world record a

12/11/2009 -  Butterfly migration mystery solved

23/07/2009 -  A billion butterflies - but crisis remai

26/06/2009 -  Butterflies come out to celebrate at lau

20/06/2009 -  Scientists ask for help as moths change

26/05/2009 -  Butterfly migration is biggest for years

20/04/2009 -  The Great British Butterfly Hunt

08/04/2009 -  UK butterfly numbers plunge to new low


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Notes For Editors
Butterfly Conservation is the largest conservation charity of its type in Europe with over 13,000 members in the UK. Its aim is the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats. It runs conservation programmes on over 60 threatened species of butterfly and moth, organises national butterfly recording and monitoring schemes, and manages over 30 nature reserves.

Further information at: www.butterfly-conservation.org