Nearly 60k butterflies identified in Netherlands

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The Netherlands Butterfly Foundation's organized national garden butterfly counting day was a success, as the Foundation writes on their website. Around 60,000 butterflies were counted in more than 3,700 gardens in the entire country. A good year for butterflies The task was for people to go into their gardens during a sunny moment, and count all the butterflies they saw during a 15-minute period. They could then register this in a butterfly list. According to the data, the most frequently-seen butterfly was the small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), which was spotted around 15,000 times. After that, it was the red admiral (Vanessa atalanta, 10,000 times) and the small white (Pieris rapae, 5000 times).

In total, the participating butterfly-spotters identified 52 butterfly species over the weekend. The total number of butterflies seen in gardens was less this year than last, but comparable to numbers in 2011 and 2012. According to the Butterfly Foundation, the provinces of Zeeland, Friesland and Groningen counted between 17 and 20 butterflies per garden. The highest number of species per garden was the highest in Noord-Brabant, where spotters saw 40 of the 52 total species seen. Areas where the earth is predominantly clay-based is where the most butterflies were seen. The Butterfly Foundation explains that this type of soil holds moisture longer and is very rich in nutrients. Some participants noted that their summer plants were no longer flowering, which is a feature of this year's warm Spring and Summer. Everything is early this year. This could mean that climate change could cause the counting weekend to be moved back. Two weeks ago, for example, butterflies such as the peacock butterfly (Inachis io) was more prominent, but less so during the counting weekend. The Butterfly Foundation hopes to use the data collected during the counting weekend to protect butterflies in The Netherlands. Low species numbers may mean that the Foundation will make moves to protect these species better. The rare Jersey Tiger, a day-flying moth, is a rarity in The Netherlands but has already been spotted in Limburg several times.

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