Where are our high-summer butterflies?

Peacock Butterfly by Jim Black
Peacock Butterfly by Jim Black

Residents of Scotland’s towns and cities are being asked to keep their eyes peeled for some of the nation’s favourite and most brightly-coloured butterflies.

Mid-August is typically peak season for widespread butterflies such as the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma, but this year wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation Scotland have

received very few sightings.

This year’s soggy summer has been blamed for holding back the appearance of the summer generation that hibernate over winter as adults.

The Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock are some of Scotland’s most familiar species, as they are very often seen in gardens and parks.

They lay their eggs upon nettles and thistles, and adults drink nectar from a wide range of garden plants such as Buddleia and Sedum.

The charity’s Urban Butterfly Project covers the Central Belt and has been training volunteers to carry out greenspace butterfly surveys this year.

Members of the public are being asked to send in their sightings of butterflies in urban areas to help researchers see how butterflies are faring in our towns and cities.

That information can then be used to inform Butterfly Conservation’s habitat creation work, which volunteers are also invited to help with.

Project Officer Anthony McCluskey said: “We have received very few records of these species despite the fact that urban areas are real havens for them.

“We are hoping that the wet weather has simply delayed their appearance, which are normally seen in much greater numbers in July and August.”