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where are the small tortoiseshell butterflies?

Posted Sep 03 2012 6:01pm
The small tortoiseshell butterfly is one of our most common butterflies.

Frequently seen in early spring, their eggs are laid on nettle leaves and a second brood of butterflies emerges to bathe in the summer sun before hibernating for the winter.

Our buddleja flowers shimmer with the fluttering wings of this beautiful insect in high summer.
But not in 2012.

Today I saw my first small tortoiseshell butterfly of the year. My guess is that their numbers were decimated in the wettest spring on record and that they were hit by a 'double whammy' when we experienced the least sunny summer on record.

The pattern is not rerstricted to our garden. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust also reported that no-one had seen small tortoiseshells this year and asked members to report any they did see.

Hooray, then - because a solitary small tortoiseshell arrived on a Cordwood buddleja davidii today and stayed still long enough for me to photograph it on my mobile phone...

If you see a small tortoiseshell butterfly report it to John Ellis jellis@nottswt.co.uk



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