Butterflies are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and new research has revealed that when summer weather turns bad the silver-spotted skipper battles for survival.
The butterfly, which previously faced extinction from habitat loss, is recovering following conservation efforts but the recent cool wet summers in England have almost stalled its progress.
A 27 year study by researchers at the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of York, the University of Liverpool, Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the charity Butterfly Conservation has been published in the journal Ecology Letters. The study estimated changes in temperature across a range of silver-spotted skipper habitats and found that localised fluctuations in temperature lead to extreme fluctuations in the butterfly population size and in the probability of the butterflies colonising new sites. (more…)