Thursday 18 December 2014

Butterflies flutter by three months early

Emma Jane Hade

Published 09/06/2014 | 02:30

The peacock butterfly made its first appearance here this year in January.
The peacock butterfly made its first appearance here this year in January.

BUTTERFLIES have been fluttering into gardens across the country up to three months earlier than normal this year.

Jesmond Harding, from Butterfly Conservation Ireland, has confirmed that the recent mild months and the reasonably good winter weather has led to the premature arrival of a number of species.

He said that the earliest sighting of the colourful peacock butterfly in 2013 was on April 2, whereas this year it was spotted making its first appearance on January 12.

The small tortoiseshell also appeared in January, three months earlier than last year. Mr Harding, the author of 'Discovering Irish Butterflies and their Habitats', also said that an early arrival from butterflies can often accelerate reproduction, and may lead to an extra generation.

"A really warm year, but with good rainfall too, will cause some butterflies to produce an extra generation," he said.

"The common blue butterfly might have three generations from May to October under such conditions."

Irish Independent

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