The swallowtail (left) and the purple emperor (right) - most butterflies are expected to suffer a decline
Butterfly numbers may be at their LOWEST EVER SUMMER LEVEL. A wet and miserable summer with very little sunshine has dashed hopes of a recovery following a wash-out breeding season last year. Garden species such as small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral seem to have been among the worst hit. Following a record-breaking wet summer last year which brought widespread flooding - August has again proved to be a massive disappointment with more rain falling in the first 17 days (95.5 mm) than the long-term average (84.6 mm) for the whole month. Rain forces butterflies to find shelter and prevents them foraging for the nectar they need to fuel a good breeding season. To thrive they need a settled period of warm weather with just enough rain to make the flowers grow.