Search mounted for missing butterflies

A nationwide search has been launched to find Scotland’s missing butterflies.

Red Admiral - Jim Black - 020

Photograph by: Jim BlackRed Admiral

Some of the nation’s most colourful garden insects have so far failed to appear in any great numbers this year, prompting conservationists to call on the public to help find out what’s happened.

Mid-August is typically peak season for widespread butterflies such as the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma, but this year wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation Scotland have received very few sightings.

The soggy summer has been blamed for holding back the appearance of the summer generation that hibernate over winter as adults.

The Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock are some of Scotland’s most familiar species, as they are very often seen in gardens and parks. They lay their eggs upon nettles and thistles, and adults drink nectar from a wide range of garden plants such as Buddleia and Sedum.

Small Tortoiseshell

Photograph by: Ian A KirkSmall Tortoiseshell

“We have received very few records of these species despite the fact that urban areas are real havens for them,” said Anthony McCluskey, Project Officer with Butterfly Conservation.

“We are hoping that the wet weather has simply delayed their appearance, which are normally seen in much greater numbers in July and August”

Members of the public are being asked to send in their sightings of butterflies in urban areas to help researchers at Butterfly Conservation understand how the environmentally sensitive insects are faring in towns and cities throughout the country.

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