This year has seen the lowest ever number of butterflies recorded in the Big Butterfly Count 2021.
Despite more butterfly counts being submitted than ever before, the overall number of butterflies recorded per count was the lowest it has ever been.
Butterfly Conservation, which counted butterflies and moths between 16 July and 8 August, said the results marked the lowest numbers since the Big Butterfly Count started 12 years ago and called for urgent action to be taken.
Zoë Randle, a senior surveys officer at Butterfly Conservation, said an extremely wet May, which brought the UK's fourth-highest amount of rainfall on record for the month, was a significant factor for butterfly numbers, hindering their breeding and feeding. 'Butterflies don't like the rain at all, they're coldblooded insects. Effectively they're solar-powered', she said.
The 'Top 10' species counted in the UK in the Big Butterfly Count 2021
- Small White (252,151 counted; -5% on 2020)
- Large White (229,218; -16%)
- Meadow Brown (197,060; +33%)
- Gatekeeper (133,726; -30%)
- Red Admiral (75,394; -10%)
- Ringlet (63,311; +81%)
- Peacock (61,668; -63%)
- Small Tortoiseshell (38,543; -32%)
- Marbled White (28,704; +213%)
- Green-veined White (27,784; -9%
Butterflies form a vital part of the food chain and are considered significant indicators of the health of the environment. Julie Williams, the charity's chief executive, said: 'The facts are clear. Nature is in crisis and we need urgent action, not just to prevent further species losses but to rebuild biodiversity'.