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Big Butterfly Count 2020: The Results

The Wildlife Charity Butterfly Conservation has released data on the number of butterflies counted in this year’s Big Butterfly Count (July 17 – August 9, 2020). Worryingly, this summer the average number of butterflies reported per census decreased by -34% compared to 2019, and the lowest overall average number of butterflies reported since the event began. In total, over 1.4 million butterflies were counted across the UK during this year’s Big Butterfly Count.

Dr. Zoë Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation, said: “Unfortunately there haven’t been many butterflies in the whole of the UK this summer. We see peaks and troughs in butterfly numbers every year (last year, for example, we saw a huge influx of migrants Painted lady Butterflies), so the data from the Big Butterfly Count is an important snapshot that, along with our other monitoring schemes, will help us understand butterfly and moth decline rates. “

Gatekeeper, Copyright Chris Baines, from the Surfbirds Galleries

She continued: “Shortly after the recent WWF and United Nations reports on the global biodiversity crisis, these results for 2020 show the dangerous state of wildlife in the UK. However, the fact that so many people are taking part in this exciting civic science initiative is encouraging and makes a huge difference to our understanding of how the natural world is responding to the crisis it finds itself in. Now we need to see initiatives both here and around the world to put nature on a path of recovery ”.

“The drop in butterfly numbers this summer could be due to a number of factors. An unusually warm spring meant that many species appeared earlier than usual. During this year’s Big Butterfly Count, we may have only reached the end of the flying season for many species. It is important to look at butterfly trends over longer periods of time, so our scientists will use these results along with our other data sets to get a clearer understanding of what is happening. “

Fortunately, 2020 was also the highest number of butterfly sightings ever submitted by the public. 111,628 attendees submitted a record-breaking 145,249 counts this year, up 25% from 2019. It seems that in a very dark and challenging year, the opportunity to get out in nature and help out as a citizen scientist was very welcome to people who attended this Year could participate in the count. Butterfly Conservation is thrilled that the event was enjoyed by so many people.

While the decline of ecosystems around the world is of great concern, it is also possible to see the power of shared positive action in this year’s Big Butterfly Count. As more people become interested in nature and submit their sightings, Butterfly Conservation can continue its research and work to protect butterflies, moths and the environment by better understanding the problems they face and finding solutions to To help.

Butterflies are incredibly valuable indicators of the health of our environment. Their declines show not only the effects of human behavior on the world around us, but also the changing patterns of our weather. Not only are they important and beautiful beings in themselves, but they also play key roles in the ecosystems of birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants as food, population controllers, and pollinators. Their preservation is vital.

Julie Williams, CEO of Butterfly Conservation, said, “A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Big Butterfly Count this year. This vital data is so valuable to our ongoing and vital research that we understand what is happening to our butterflies and moths so that we can take targeted action to protect these fantastic insects and preserve them for future generations. “

If you’ve enjoyed taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, you can keep counting the species you see year-round. Download our free iRecord butterflies App and share your sightings. Every sighting counts in the fight to save our butterflies.

You can also play your part in protecting our planet and be your own butterfly effect. Click here to discover 10 ways you can make a difference todayThat includes how you eat, shop, garden, and even enjoy the outdoors itself.


Big Butterfly Count 2020 UK Abundance Ave per count % Change compared to 2019
1 Great white 268,925 2.03 + 44%
2 Little white 260.434 1.97 + 7%
3 goalkeeper 188,866 1.43 -14%
4th peacock 163,351 1.23 -42%
5 Meadow brown 146.273 1.1 -2%
6th Red admiral 82,534 0.62 -33%
7th Little tortoiseshell 56.105 0.42 -41%
8th Common Blue 34,762 0.26 + 9%
9 Ringlets 34,577 0.26 -18%
10 comma 30,856 0.23 -29%
11 Green vein white 30.127 0.23 -33%
12 Speckled wood 29,971 0.23 -33%
13 Holly Blue 23,519 0.18 + 48%
14th Small copper 20,423 0.15 + 40%
fifteen sulfur 11,771 0.09 -1%
16 Burnet with six points 11,073 0.08 -36%
17th Marbled white 9,054 0.07 -38%
18th Painted lady 8.368 0.06 -99%
19th Silver Y. 2360 0.02 -70%
total 1,413,349 10.66 -34%

The full UK and country specific results of the Big Butterfly Count can be found here.

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