Butterflies suffer due to wet weather and face extinction

BRITAIN'S butterflies suffered catastrophically in 2012, which saw the wettest summer on record for England.

No fewer than 52 of the 56 resident British species suffered declines in the relentless rain and cold, some to such an extent that they now face extinction in parts of the country, according to the annual survey of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

The weather created disastrous conditions for species such as fritillaries as they struggled to find food, shelter and mating opportunities; butterfly abundance fell to a record low, and 13 species suffered their worst year on record.

The critically-endangered high brown fritillary fell by 46 per cent, the vulnerable marsh fritillary was down 71 per cent and the endangered heath fritillary saw its population plummet by 50 per cent.

The black hairstreak, one of the UK's rarest species, saw its population fall by 98 per cent, the green hairstreak was down 68 per cent, the white-letter hairstreak fell by 72 per cent and the brown hairstreak slipped by 34 per cent.

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Topics:  butterfly extinction weather

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