Butterflies scarce after two wet summers
Britain's butterflies are going through their worst summer for nearly half a century, a leading conservationist believes. Matthew Oates, conservation adviser to the National Trust, says the torrential downpours of summer 2007 had a knock-on effect on 2008, wiping out many eggs and caterpillars that would have become this year's adults.
Many familiar species are now missing from the countryside. Some, such as the small tortoiseshell, are less prevalent than ever and some varieties may become extinct at a local level.