Green Fingers I Wish

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Butterflies in danger from flies

There used to be loads of small tortoiseshell butterflies fluttering around our gardens, but in recent years their numbers have fallen, and experts think they know why...

They think an insect - the Sturmia bella fly - could be to blame. It was first spotted in the UK in the 1990s, and it's possible that it arrived in Britain because of climate change.

The fly lays eggs on the nettles the tortoisehell caterpillars feed on. The baby butterflies eat the eggs, but when they hatch the little caterpillars are killed.
Experts are really worried about the winged creatures. They say numbers of the small tortoiseshell butterflies have fallen by up to 80% in some parts of the country.


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