Author Topic: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?  (Read 405 times)

animaltoyforum

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Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« on: July 02, 2018, 10:06:32 PM »
A 'reality check' piece by the BBC about butterfly populations in the UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44399804

Sightings of some species have declined by as much as 93% since the 70s. Quite worrying. Others, however, have gone up as much as 1000% since the 1980s. So, a complicated picture, but overall it is pretty bad.

I've also noticed the lavender bushes outside my flat in Nottingham seem to have far fewer bees than in previous years. I hope they come later in the summer... :-\





Isidro

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 10:26:51 PM »
Quite imprecise. It's not that UK butterflies getting rarer, but that worlwide, and overall European, insects are dramatically disminishing. The insect biomass in natural zones in Germany was drastically reduced and the ecosystems are in the process of collapsing. In my country (Spain) I also noticed very much since many years ago the gradual trend of many species disappearing that were previously common. Just thermophilous and adaptable species are what thrive. You know we're causing the Sixth Great Extinction in the history of life on Earth, so that's just one more face of this extinction.

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 10:40:49 PM »
Yeah, the situation in the UK is just a small part of a global picture.

Isidro

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2018, 12:16:41 PM »
As well as butterflies are just a small part of global biodiversity. What a sad trend... Conservation concienciation is higher and higher everytime, but it will be enough or too late for avoid a bigger catastrophe...? It's not possible to deal with 7000 million humans and try that all of them will be respectful to nature...

Beetle guy

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 08:43:22 AM »
Same here in the Netherlands. increase in some specific species but decrease in diversity and more small fragmented populations. And I live in a area where there are many projects going to boost biodiversity. The efforts show good results, sure. But probably to little to late. The farmlands surounding our house are becoming very poor green deserts :-\
To beetle or not to beetle.

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 08:34:11 PM »
Update with a minor positive: the lavender bushes outside my flat are suddenly populated by bees (bumblebees and honeybees). ^-^

Badger

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 09:16:44 PM »
In the stretch of the UK I live in, I have noticed that this is definitely a bad year for most of the 'popular' butterfly species (with the probable exception of red admirals). On the other hand, large whites and common blues seem to be a bit more common this year, proportional to other butterfly species. I do, though, live near an area of 'rare habitat', so this latter part is unlikely to be a good reflection on nationwide trends (especially for the latter of those two species).

I have also noticed that there seem to be much less honeybees than previous years. Most years, my area has a ratio of about 70 bumblebees: 30 honeybees. This year, it feels like that ratio is 99 bumblebees: 1 honeybee. To further back this up, I recently went to a NT property about 2 hours east of where I live and saw a chive bush that had loads of bumblebees of all types (red tailed, yellow striped/white tailed and even combinations of the two), yet I saw virtually no honeybees.

Now on a positive note, I have seen more dragonflies/damselflies and parasitoid wasps than I did last year. Not long ago, these two things happened:

  • Just before school, I saw a massive parasitoid wasp on the window. Its ovipositor was about half its length
  • I caught a glimpse of a large blue dragonfly at my local nature reserve. I've been told that it was most likely an Emperor Dragonfly, which is quite a rare species in my part of the country


EDIT: I've also noticed that there are much less ants coming out in general than last year. Right now, the ants in my area (probably Lasius niger) are starting their nuptial flight, and that's when I begun to really notice it.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 07:24:44 PM by Badger »

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2018, 05:37:29 PM »
I'm extremely lucky to work in a large park where there is a wide diversity of invertebrates (and vertebrates for that matter). Many species of moth and butterfly occupy the park, and there I also saw a huge dragonfly this week, but it moved too fast for me to get a good look at it. Maybe it was also an emperor dragonfly...

However, on my lavender bushes at home, red admirals are also the only species of butterfly that I've noticed. Also, curiously, I've noticed the relative abundances of the bee species change on my lavender bushes. Earlier in the week the honeybees outnumbered the bumblebees about 10 to 1. Today, just a few days later, the ratio has reversed, so now there are more bumblebees than honeybees, again 10 to 1. The total number of bees is about the same. Maybe it is just random, but that seems like a significant shift, and I'm pleased for the bumblebees!

Badger

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 07:20:05 PM »
I also saw a huge dragonfly this week, but it moved too fast for me to get a good look at it. Maybe it was also an emperor dragonfly...

They definitely are fast moving ;) Could you discern the colour of the dragonfly, and if so, what was it?


...and I'm pleased for the bumblebees!

They are, after all, the main native pollinators of the UK :)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 07:06:05 AM by Badger »

Isidro

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 08:05:08 PM »
They are, after all, the native pollinators of the UK (and the rest of Europe) :)

Hm... Would be more correct: "They are one of the hundreds of thousands of genus of native pollinators in the whole Northern Hemisphere" :-)

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 08:40:46 PM »
They are, after all, the native pollinators of the UK (and the rest of Europe) :)

Hm... Would be more correct: "They are one of the hundreds of thousands of genus of native pollinators in the whole Northern Hemisphere" :-)

Yes, but are honeybees?

Badger

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 07:16:42 AM »
Yes, but are honeybees?

Probably not. It is believed that Apis mellifera probably originated in Africa or Asia, and only spread to Europe because of human migration.


Hm... Would be more correct: "They are one of the hundreds of thousands of genus of native pollinators in the whole Northern Hemisphere" :-)

Admittedly, I should have clarified my post a bit more :P (Which I have now)

Isidro

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 12:24:13 PM »
No, it has been demonstrated that the honeybee is native in Europe too.

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 02:55:32 PM »
New butterfly sighting on my lavender bushes: Large White (a few).
I've also realised there are at least three species of bumblebee on them.

Badger

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 04:13:23 PM »
No, it has been demonstrated that the honeybee is native in Europe too.

And of course, someone corrects me :P Why do I even bother with any even slightly debated subject anymore?

animaltoyforum

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2018, 01:01:05 PM »
No, it has been demonstrated that the honeybee is native in Europe too.

And of course, someone corrects me :P Why do I even bother with any even slightly debated subject anymore?

I wonder how it was it demonstrated?

Isidro

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Re: Are UK butterflies getting rarer?
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2018, 03:32:15 PM »
Mainly genetic research in the different European endemic subspecies of this species.