Vi­brant fu­ture for but­ter­flies

Book looks into pat­terns over 40 years

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By lois Swin­ner­ton lois.swin­ner­ton@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

BUT­TeR­FLIeS, like many other in­sects ex­ist in many dif­fer­ent species, from the recog­nis­able Red Ad­mi­ral to the rare Green hairstreak but­ter­fly.

If you stop to look around you, you will no­tice that many of them are right on your doorstep, here in west London.

Of course win­ter is not the best time of year to spot the winged-in­sects, but a new book re­veals all for in­sect lovers to pre­pare for when they start to make an ap­pear­ance.

If you are a fan of but­ter­flies, you may have no­ticed an in­crease in those with vi­brant coloured wings.

That is due to a grow­ing num­ber of species in the re­gion.

But­ter­fly expert An­drew Wood has con­ducted re­search into the lo­cal but­ter­fly trends over the past 40 years, the find­ings of which he has put into a book – But­ter­flies of Hert­ford­shire and Mid­dle­sex. Al­most five thou­sand lo­cal en­thu­si­asts have con­trib­uted to a sur­vey mon­i­tor­ing the ac­tiv­ity of but­ter­flies across Hert­ford­shire and Mid­dle­sex over the past 40 years.

Among many dis­cov­er­ies, it finds that but­ter­flies such as the Pur­ple Em­peror and the Mar­bled White but­ter­flies are all grow­ing in num­ber across Mid­dle­sex.

There were no records of the Pur­ple Em­peror in the area in the 1980s, but now re­ports show a grow­ing num­ber in ar­eas such as En­field, Hamp­stead Heath and Ruis­lip Woods.

Sim­i­larly, the Mar­bled White was al­most un­heard of in London around 30 years ago, but it can now be seen in parks across the cap­i­tal. Ex­perts be­lieve the species have ben­e­fit­ted

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