The results of this year’s Big Butterfly Count are now available online and are discussed here : http://butterfly-conservation.org/48-13538/mystery-of-butterfly-disaster-summer.html.
Sadly it is clear that a number of butterfly populations have fallen as compared to last year. Indeed the numbers are the worst recorded since the start of the BBC (Big Butterfly Count). Numbers were lower than those recorded in 2012 when there was a cold and wet summer – which is never conducive to any aspect of the life cycle of butterflies (egg / caterpillar/ chrysalis / imago).
Results of the 2016 Big Butterfly Count
|Name of butterfly||Abundance / Number counted||Percentage change||Ranking|
|Silver Y moth||1244||-12||20|
Data from Big Butterfly Count 2016.
The results were a surprise to the butterfly conservation people and there is no readily available or clear explanation for the falls in the various populations. Possible causes have been suggested – which include
- The mild winter
- The cold Spring
- The ongoing effects of intensive farming
- Ongoing loss of habitat and
- The use of pesticides
Or perhaps all of the above !
On a more positive note, the red admirals and the green veined whites have fared well. And, the large white was the most frequently seen butterfly and its numbers were up by 2%.
(The Big Butterfly Count is sponsored by Waitrose and John Lewis).