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The Big Butterfly Count: Numbers hit an 11-year low

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Winged wonder: A painted lady butterfly

Winged wonder: A painted lady butterfly

Winged wonder: A painted lady butterfly

The small tortoiseshell is the most commonly sighted butterfly in Northern Ireland, a survey suggests.

Over 1,300 viewings were recorded in this year's Big Butterfly Count.

The species generally fares better here and in Scotland.

The data was recorded from July 17 to August 9 and released by wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation. More than 720 people here took part in the annual count.

On average, local participants saw three times as many small tortoiseshells per count than people in England.

This summer's count has seen a reduction in the average number of butterflies logged - down 34% in comparison with 2019 - and the lowest average number of butterflies logged overall since the event began 11 years ago.

Dr Zoë Randle from Butterfly Conservation said: "Unfortunately, this summer has not seen an abundance of butterflies across the UK.

"We do see peaks and troughs of butterfly numbers each year.

"Last year, for example, we saw a huge influx of migrant painted lady butterflies.

"So the data from the Big Butterfly Count is an important snapshot, which along with our other monitoring schemes, helps our understanding of the rates of decline of butterflies and moths."

Belfast Telegraph