Small tortoiseshell butterfly numbers have dropped dramatically this year despite the hot sunny conditions according to the annual Big Butterfly Count.
The much-loved garden butterfly suffered its worst summer in the history of the count, with sightings down by 32 percent compared to last year. Just 23,000 small tortoiseshells were spotted by volunteers over a three-week period during the summer.
The long hot summer did lead to a bumper year for some species, like the small, large and green veined whites with the holly blue butterfly recording the highest increase up 122 percent up on last year, although there was a slump in numbers for the red admiral butterfly, down on 2017.
Richard Fox, a director with Butterfly Conservation said: “The long term trend for many common species, from butterflies to birds, hedgehogs and bees is one of decline. The research was needed to uncover the reasons behind the decline.”
A record 100,000 people took part in this year’s annual count, which is the world’s largest butterfly survey.