Half of UK butterflies on endangered species list as risk of extinction mounts
Eight species, the Black Hairstreak, Glanville Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Tall Brown Fritillary, Grayling, Great Heath, Wall, Woodwhite, are now classified as vulnerable
Half of Britain’s butterflies are now on an endangered species list – a warning that time is running out for many of our beloved insects.
Of the 62 species assessed by Butterfly Conservation, four are extinct in the UK – the Black-veined White, Large Tortoiseshell, Large Copper and Mazarine Blue.
Eight species, the Blackstreaked Fritillary, Glanville Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Tall Brown Fritillary, Grayling, Greater Heather, Wall, Woody White, are now classified as Vulnerable according to standards set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 16 are listed as Vulnerable and another five as Near Threatened.
A previous assessment from 1997 put 12 species of butterflies on the so-called Red List, but found that none were threatened with extinction.
The new figures show that the number of threatened species in the UK has risen by five, according to data collected in 2011.
The scientific director for butterfly protection, Dr. Richard Fox said: “Shockingly, half of the remaining British butterfly species are listed. Even before this new assessment, British butterflies were among the most threatened in Europe and now the number of threatened species in the UK has risen by five, an increase of more than a quarter.
“While some species are less threatened and some have even been removed from the Red List, the overall increase clearly shows that the status of British butterflies continues to deteriorate.”
While land-use change remains the most important factor behind the decline, the impact of climate change on butterflies is also evident in the new Red List, which now lists all four UK northerly ranged butterflies adapted to cooler or wetter climates as threatened ( Large Heath, Scotch Argus, Northern Brown Argus) or near threatened (Mountain Ringlet).
But it’s not all bad news for all butterfly species, with some improvement in status for those who have been the focus of concentrated conservation efforts.
The Great Blue, which went extinct in Britain in 1979, has progressed from Endangered to Near Threatened and from Endangered to Near Threatened following a successful reintroduction programme.
dr Richard Fox added: “Where we’re able to target conservation work forward, we’ve managed to bring species back from the brink, but with more species at risk of extinction rising than falling, more needs to be done to protect our butterflies from the effects.” to protect the changing land management and climate change. Without action, it is likely that species will disappear from Britain’s landscapes forever.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/half-britains-butterflies-threatened-list-27053057 Half of UK butterflies on endangered species list as risk of extinction mounts