Feeds

UK butterfly numbers hit hard

Wet summers, climate change, loss of habitat...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Scientists are warning that another wet summer following two years of wash-outs could drive some UK butterfly species to extinction, the Telegraph reports.

A survey by the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, which began recording populations in 1976, showed that 12 species last year "suffered the worst summer on record".

Overall, butterflies endured the "second-worst summer" since 1981, and if 2009 offers similar weather, it could be the end for the rare high brown fritillary, pearl-bordered fritillary and wood white. Also, the relatively common orange-tip and small tortoiseshell might become an "increasingly rare sight".

Dr Tom Brereton, head of monitoring for Butterfly Conservation, explained: "If we have a nice sunny year with only bouts of rain some species will bounce back, but some species got to such a low ebb on some sites we're not sure if it has tipped them over the edge of extinction. A lot of sites are quite isolated, and when they go, it's not easy for them to get recolonised."

The survey's gloomy findings also showed that "formerly common species" including the small copper and small heath have "declined in the past few decades".

Butterfly populations are not just threatened by Britain's run of atrocious summers; habitats face destruction by development and intensive agriculture while climate change could prove tricky for some species.

Dr Brereton said: "Climate change will be a huge factor in the future. Pretty much most butterflies' distribution will change. That's fine for the more mobile, commoner species but a lot of our threatened species won't be able to move to other parts of the country that might become suitable for them."

The government, meanwhile, has promised action. Wildlife minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: "Climate change is having a detrimental effect on a number of our butterfly species and in parts of England we're in danger of losing some species altogether. Butterflies need good habitats to thrive and the Government will continue to support schemes to promote the recovery of butterfly numbers." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.