Visions of butterfly gurus like Mike Bird shaking their heads at this story out and about yesterday - this version is from the PA Wires, and the pix are courtesy of Butterfly Conservation/PA Wires.
A real case of short term gain for us for some species, but long term pain - how many Small Tortoisehell did you see this summer?
CLIMATE CHANGE 'FORCING BUTTERFLIES NORTH'
By Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent
Climate change is forcing Europe's butterflies northward, with many at risk of dying out in the face of warming temperatures, researchers said today.
Rising temperatures are already having an impact on butterflies such as the Comma, which is spreading north in the UK at a rate of six miles (10km) a year.
The majority of butterflies will try to move north as the continent warms, the authors of a new book, the Climatic Risk Atlas of European Butterflies, said.
But the loss of habitat and changes to forestry and farming practices, which have already led to huge declines in butterflies, will mean many suitable areas are too small and too far apart to allow the insects to travel between them.
Those which can move will need to shift hundreds of kilometres in some cases to find suitable habitat, the researchers said.
Other species are more sedentary and will struggle to adapt to the changing temperatures.
And some butterflies which already occupy the more northern extremes of the continent, such as the Lapland Fritillary and the Arctic Ringlet, may simply run out of places to move to.
The UK looks set to gain several new species as they head north, including the Bath White Butterfly, the European Map and the European Swallowtail.
But some of our own species, including the Northern Brown Argus and the Large Heath which are more northerly butterflies, could be badly hit by the changes.
The Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and the Pearl Bordered Fritillary have both already suffered rapid declines, and now face the threat of running out of areas with a suitable climate.
Another danger facing many species of butterfly is that they are dependent on a particular species of plant for survival, and while some plants are widespread, others occur only in small pockets of habitat.
The atlas, which used climate models and data collected by thousands of volunteers, laid out best and worse-case scenarios for the coming years.
Under the worst-case scenario average European temperatures could rise by 4.1C by 2080, making 95% of the land occupied by 70 species too warm for their continued survival.
And even under the best case scenario of temperature rises of just 2.4C, half the land currently occupied by 147 different butterfly species would be uninhabitable for them.
Many butterflies will disappear from areas where they are currently seen, with the Small Tortoiseshell becoming absent from middle and southern Europe and restricted to northern areas.
And rare species such as the Spanish Festoon and the Apollo would see huge losses from their current habitats.
Co-author of the atlas Dr Martin Warren, chairman of Butterfly Conservation Europe, said: "Evidence points to an acceleration in climate change unless there is a significant decrease in global CO2 emissions.
"This accelerated change would be the final nail in the coffin for many European species."
But he said the good news was there was a time lag before species began to respond to the impacts of climate change, presenting conservationists with a "window of opportunity" to preserve and link up habitats to help butterflies survive.
"We need to place more emphasis on maintaining large diverse populations on existing habitats while reconnecting habitats to allow species to move across the landscape.
"This will mean working closely with farmers and planners."
Maintaining larger populations of species will give them a better chance of surviving and adapting to the new conditions, he said.
The study's chief author, Dr Josef Settele of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, said: "The atlas shows for the first time how the majority of European butterflies might respond to climate change.
"Most species will have to shift their distribution radically to keep pace with the changes."
And he said: "The way butterflies change will indicate the possible response of many other insects, which collectively comprise over two thirds of all species."
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...