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Last Updated: Sunday March 30 2008 13:41 GMT

Butterfly decline sparks concern

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

This delicate and beautiful creature is disappearing from your gardens, according to experts.

It's a small tortoiseshell butterfly and research suggests that its numbers have dropped by 80% in some parts of the United Kingdom.

Scientists aren't sure why the creature is dying out, but they reckon that it could be linked to climate change.

One theory is that a fly called Sturmia bella is killing off the caterpillars which turn into the butterflies.

The fly was first spotted in the UK in 1999, and it's possible that it arrived here because of climate change.


Charity Butterfly Conservation has now launched a research project with scientists at Oxford University to work out why the creatures are under threat in a bid to stop them dying out.