Butterfly populations could suffer population crashes as a result of the record-breaking wet weather this spring and summer, Sir David Attenborough warned today.
Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is launching its annual survey of the insects amid concerns that the wettest April to June on record will have hit their breeding season.
Prolonged cold, wet weather delays the butterflies emerging, reduces their life-span and hampers mating and egg-laying, Butterfly Conservation said.
The sight of a buddleia bush thronged with peacocks and commas and tortoiseshells and red admirals - it's a breathtakingly beautiful sight. "Butterflies around the world are simply thrilling, but apart from that they are very important indicator species of what's happening to our wildlife. "It isn't just rarities we're concerned about, it's equally or more important to know what's happening to our common butterflies - and terrible things are happening."
This year's wet weather could lead to a repeat of 2007, when the UK was hit by widespread flooding following torrential rain, causing butterfly numbers to plummet.
The charity is urging the public to take part in the Big Butterfly Count to help assess the impact the rainy weather has had on butterflies.
To take part in the survey or for more information, people can visit the website: www.bigbutterflycount.org/about