Hampshire Butterfly Species - Introduction

Slideshow Showing The 11 Butterfly Species Resident In Hampshire Which Have Declined In Abundance At UK Level  By More Than 50% During The Last 4 Decades

The Butterfly Species pages (accessed via the menu on the left) cover the species found each year in Hampshire and are organised according to their family names. These pages provide information to aid the observer, including images to assist identification, brief descriptions of each species, as well as flight period details and examples of sites in Hampshire where they can be found.

Hampshire, being a large county located in southern England is fortunate to have a large proportion of the UK's butterfly species resident within its boundaries. There are 45 butterfly species which can be found each year within the county, comprising 44 resident species, and 1 regular migrant (Clouded Yellow).

As indicated on the home page of this website, an alarming three-quarters of the UK's resident or regular migrant butterfly species are in a state of long term decline, although there are glimmers of hope as a few species are responding to targeted conservation measures and a few others are benefitting from climate change. These findings are included in the report "The State Of The UK's Butterflies 2015" published by Butterfly Conservation, using data from world-class citizen science projects, such as the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) and Butterflies For The New Millennium (BNM).

In Hampshire, the situation broadly reflects the national trend: that of overall decline in the distribution and abundance of our butterflies, with a few welcome local area conservation successes. Hampshire, being in the south is also suffering a greater decline in wider countryside butterflies than the north, the reasons for which are not well understood.

The slideshow above shows 11 species of butterfly which are resident in Hampshire and which have declined in abundance at UK level by more than 50% in the last 4 decades, noting that this does not specifically take into account any changes in range or distribution during this period. Some of the species included should come as no surprise (Wall, Small Tortoiseshell) whereas others perhaps do (White Admiral, Small and Essex Skippers, Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks).

If you would like to learn more about the findings of  Butterfly Conservation's report on 'The State of the UK's Butterflies 2015', use the link herehowever I present below its main recommendations regarding the actions and conservation measures needed.

  • To stem the decline of butterflies, conservation measures are needed urgently at a variety of scales, from small patches of resources for butterflies in gardens and verges through to extensive landscapes of semi-natural habitat. Individual actions by members of the public can play an important part, but favourable Government policies are essential.
  • Climate change is likely to have a growing impact on butterfly populations and conservation and land-use policies need to adapt. Sites managed for butterflies and other wildlife need to be as large and diverse as possible, covering a range of aspects, microclimates and vegetation types. Climate change adaptation should be incorporated into plans for all threatened species.
  • The data presented in the report highlight the enormous and increasing value of butterfly recording and monitoring schemes, not just to assess the state of butterflies, but also to help gauge the state of the environment as a whole. These schemes must be maintained and adequately resourced so that we can understand future changes, evaluate land-use policies and conservation strategies and adapt them accordingly.
  • The recommendations made in the previous State of Butterflies report (2011) remain valid and their implementation is now more urgent than ever:
    • Maintain and restore high quality, resilient habitats through landscape-scale projects.
    • Restore the species-focussed approach that has proved effective in reversing the decline of threatened species. While an integrated 'ecosystem services' view of biodiversity is important, it alone will not save threatened butterflies.
    • Enhance funding for agri-environment and woodland management schemes targeted at species and habitats of conservation priority.
    • Restore the wider landscape for biodiversity in both rural and urban areas, to strengthen ecosystems and benefit the economy and human welfare.
    • Encourage public engagement through citizen science schemes such as the BNM, UKBMS and Big Butterfly Count.
    • Increase the use (and monitoring) of landscape-scale projects for threatened wildlife and ensure that funding mechanisms are in place to support them.