UK

Common blue butterfly makes comeback thanks to heatwave

A common blue butterfly Image copyright Getty Images

Common blue butterflies might be looking at another population boom thanks to the recent hot weather.

Common blue populations increased by 104% in 2018 - compared with 2017 - because of the warmer weather.

Now, the Butterfly Conservation charity says the insect could have its "best summer ever" thanks to the July heatwave and above-average temperatures predicted for August.

The species has struggled for 40 years due to habitat decline.

Last summer, overall butterfly numbers were up 110% from 2017 in England, and 94% in Wales, according to the charity.

The common blue butterfly is not typically found in gardens, preferring unimproved grassland such as woodland clearings, heathland and even sand dunes

The top of the male's wings are bright blue and unmarked, while females have orange crescents and dark spots near the edge of their wings - that vary from purple to dark brown - and a tinge of blue near their bodies.

Image copyright Getty Images

The underwings of both sexes have numerous black spots, with white halos and orange marks around the edges.

Butterfly Conservation is urging people to help monitor the common blue by taking part in the Big Butterfly Count population survey.

Dr Zoe Randle, senior surveys officer for the charity, said: "It would really help us if people could get outside and look for this butterfly, so we can see if its fortunes really have turned around or if the common blue still needs our help."

Participants are asked to spend 15 minutes in the sun counting every butterfly they see, before reporting their sightings online.

Corinne Pluchino, chief executive of the Campaign for National Parks, said: "This is a great opportunity to help chart the progress of this beautiful blue butterfly and we'd love to know where our top common blue colonies are."

The Big Butterfly Count runs until 11 August.

More on this story