Britons urged to help count influx of painted ladies butterflies

Wildlife enthusiasts in the UK are being encouraged to help record the greatest influx of painted lady butterflies for 10 years, part of the world’s largest butterfly survey.

People are urged to take part in the annual count of the butterfly, which migrates to the UK every year. Every decade, millions arrive in a mass migration.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK, according to the UK's Butterfly Conservation group.

TV personality Chris Packham of the group said: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, these seemingly fragile creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year.

“This butterfly undertakes an extraordinary 7,500-mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle every year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

“Signs across Europe are looking very promising, meaning that 2019 could be a very good year for the Painted Lady with high numbers already being recorded across parts of the UK."

The Big Butterfly Count starts today (July 19).

In this video, a painted lady butterfly takes nectar from a flower in a field in Montreal in August 2017.