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Butterfly species in decline due to climate change

22 Aug 2012

The Irish Times

BECCA WILSON

MANY COMMON butterfly species have declined in recent years due to unseasonal weather.

Butterflies are highly sensitive to changes in the environment, acting as an early warning indicator of the threat climate change poses to biodiversity.

"The poor weather conditions in the early part of the summer had a dramatic impact on the populations of species such as Green-veined White and Speckled Wood (the multi-brooded species) - whose earlier broods would have been adversely affected by weather conditions," said Dr Liam Lysaght, the director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC).

"These two common species suffered a decline of almost 50 per cent in populations between 2011 and 2010. We don't have data in yet for 2012 but feedback . . . is that populations are down on last year," he said.

The research delivering this data comes not from scientists but from the general public through the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

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