Wildlife advent calendar: Day 25: Small tortoiseshell

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have enjoyed following my wildlife advent calendar as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

For the final day I wanted to write about a species that you probably wouldn’t expect to see on a list of winter wildlife, but nonetheless is one of great significance. Although butterflies are often associated with summer, the small tortoiseshell is fairly tolerant to cold temperatures and the adults can be seen throughout the year. However, when temperatures drop very low these butterflies will go into their winter dormancy.

In the past 30 years, more and more butterflies have been seen during the increasingly milder winters, most likely a consequence of global warming. As temperatures get warmer, there is a shift in the phenology of many animals, planets and other organisms. For example, butterflies have started emerging sooner in the year which could have an impact on a whole range of different species.

I was inspired to write this post after the noticeably warmer temperatures I observed this month on my morning walks and also in light of COP 21 earlier this December. So, although on Christmas day I wanted to blog with a very positive message I also want to highlight how climate change is effecting the biology of species both in Britain and the rest of the world. I hope that next year more people will join me in taking action to reduce our impacts on the planet we call our home.

Thank you for reading and all the best in 2016!

 

Acknowledgements:

Image taken from Flickr user Micolo J

UK butterflies

Butterfly conservation

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