Butterflies emerging late due to cold UK spring

Pearl-bordered fritillaries are among the species appearing late this year. Credit: Flickr/Pengannel under Creative Commons

Butterflies are emerging weeks later than usual as a result of the cold spring, conservationists have said.

Rare spring species such as grizzled skippers, pearl-bordered fritillaries and wood whites have been up to a month late after a lingering winter which saw the second coldest March on record followed by an icy start to April.

Spring butterflies are now on the wing, but experts warned bad weather over the coming month could hit species already struggling in the face of long-term declines and a poor breeding season last year as a result of cold, wet conditions.

The grizzled skipper emerged a month later than last year, while the pearl-bordered fritillary was was on the wing by April 1 last year, but was not recorded until April 27 this year, Butterfly Conservation said.