Butterflies: Harbingers of Climate Change

In a clear sign of the wider ramifications of climate change on some of the planet's wildlife, biologists in Britain have noted that at least 11 butterfly species made their earliest recorded appearances this year. Of the 59 resident and regular migrant species, 37 have already appeared and, besides for one species (the orange tip), have done so earlier than they would've a decade ago, according to Butterfly Conservation, a wildlife organization.

Some species have broken all records in the extent to which they have pushed forward their normal appearance dates: the Lulworth skipper, which usually makes its first appearance in the third week of June, was seen as early as April 28 while the speckled wood, which typically appears at the end of March, was observed in its Cornwall habitat on January 16, a record seven weeks ahead of schedule.

Overall, the Butterfly Conservation estimates that these butterfly species emerged more than four-and-a-half weeks earlier on average than they would've done ten years ago. The organization's officials are certain that climate change is linked to the early appearance of the majority of Britain's butterflies.

"Butterfly data, collected by hundreds of UK recorders, definitely points to climate change," Mr Warren said. "Species are not only emerging early, but several species are extending their geographic range northwards. The small skipper, the comma and the holly blue butterflies have all crossed the border into Scotland in the past few years, very probably as a result of the changing climate."

::Early arrival of butterflies demonstrates impact of climate change

See also: ::2007: So Far, So Hot, ::Bad News: Climate Change Faster Than Expected