Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 18:09 UK

Butterflies arrive in thousands


Painted Ladies arrive at reserve

More than 3,000 painted lady butterflies on their annual 1,000 mile migration from Africa have been spotted at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire.

Sightings of the insects have been reported across the UK. Wardens said the creatures like the rough grasslands at the reserve in Slimbridge.

Butterfly Conservation believe this is the largest migration of the species in over a decade with more expected.

The butterflies originate from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

'Epic migration'

James Lees, a warden at the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: "It's truly amazing to stand on the River Severn and see thousands of these small dainty butterflies flying past all heading in the same direction.

"It is remarkable that despite being lighter than paper they are able to navigate and travel thousands of miles over land and sea."

He added that painted ladies preferred rough grasslands with knapweed and thistle and that the reserve was currently covered in wild flowers and wild clover which provided "these butterflies with excellent refuelling snacks during their epic migration."

Dr Martin Warren, of the conservation charity, Butterfly Conservation, said: "There are literally millions of painted lady butterflies arriving right across Britain with more expected this weekend.

"We need the public's help to get better information on the nature and scale of this spectacular and unprecedented migration."

Print Sponsor

African butterflies swarm to UK
26 May 09 |  England
African butterflies visit island
30 May 09 |  Guernsey

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific