Millions of butterflies flying to Scotland in ‘once-in-a-decade’ phenomenon

The UK could be experiencing a once-in-a-decade wildlife phenomenon this year with a mass influx of painted lady butterflies, experts have said.

TV naturalist Chris Packham is urging people to take part in the world’s largest insect citizen science survey, the annual Big Butterfly Count, to see if the painted ladies are arriving in their millions to the UK’s shores this year.

The painted lady butterfly is a common immigrant from the continent to the UK each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles (you can see why they’re heading to Scotland) but around once every 10 years there is a painted lady “summer” when millions arrive en masse.

This summer is set to be just that rare summer as the wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation, which runs the Big Butterfly Count, said unusually high numbers have been reported across Europe over the spring and early summer with large numbers now spotted crossing to the UK

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