Millions of 'Painted Lady' Butterflies Could Arrive in the U.K. This Summer

Every decade millions of these butterflies migrate across to the U.K. and this year the Butterfly Conservation needs help counting them.
Fabienne Lang
Painted Lady butterflyselcukkoc/iStock

Volunteers from across the U.K. are being called upon to help count the potential millions of butterflies -- known as the 'painted lady' butterfly.

The painted lady is a well-known butterfly over the summer months in the U.K., however, every ten years they arrive en masse, in the millions, in what is called the 'Painted Lady Summer.' 


This year is looking to be one of those special summers.

"Painted Lady" and 2019

The U.K. charity, Butterfly Conservation, is asking people from the U.K. to assist them in counting these butterflies, so as to find out if indeed they are about to enjoy a "Painted Lady Summer."

The last time this effect happened was in 2008 when 11 million of the species were recorded. 

Vice president of Butterly Conservation, Chris Packham, said the mass migration could be considered as "one of the wonders of the natural world."

And we can see why: These butterflies travel on a 7,500-mile round trip, beginning their journey in Africa and ending up in the Arctic Circle every year. 

The reason this year is looking promising, aside from the fact that it's been just over a decade since the last "Painted Lady Summer," is that higher numbers than usual of the butterflies have been spotted around the U.K. in the early summertime. 

This is a "promising" sign that this could be a "good year," according to Packham. 

Take part in the world's biggest butterfly count

Starting from Friday 19 July until August 11, participants can take part in the Big Butterfly Count - as it is being called by the Butterfly Conservation. One of the ways of attracting volunteers is by the appeal of the mental health benefits of spending time immersed in nature.

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Millions of 'Painted Lady' Butterflies Could Arrive in the U.K. This Summer
Painted Lady butterfly. Source: Butterfly Conservation

All people have to do is count as many butterflies as possible in the space of 15 minutes in just one spot in the U.K., and then submitting their findings online or via the online app.

There are a number of different common butterfly species the charity welcome as part of the survey -- they are specified here, on their website.

Millions of 'Painted Lady' Butterflies Could Arrive in the U.K. This Summer
Big Butterfly Count App. Source: Butterfly Conservation

Conservationists are hopeful and excited that this may be a special year in the butterfly world.

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