Naturalists Promise Mass Butterfly Invasion for the Summer

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists have come up with a sneaky way of getting people to go outside this summer, and are asking for help from the public to help count butterflies again – only this time it's for a more ominous reason. The butterflies are prepping an invasion.

Naturalists suspect we're due a painted lady B-Day mass landing this summer, that could see as many as 10m of the little flappers arrive in the country. It's part of a bizarre migration stopover that happens once every decade or so, with the last one in 2008 seeing approximately 11 million painted ladies land to do whatever it is they can only do on UK soil. Watch EastEnders. Eat a steak and kidney pie out of a tin. Put fish fingers in a sandwich.

Charity Butterfly Conservation says it's seen the early signs of the UK landing fleet massing in mainland Europe already, as the painted ladies prepare to stop off in the UK amid their staggering 7,500-mile migration between Africa and the Arctic Circle. Hence everyone involved in this year's Big Butterfly count is expecting a bumper turnout and could do with us lot sparing a few minutes to squint at the things to help track them. [BBC]