Phenology of British butterflies and climate change


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 This paper was presented in conjunction with the Linnean Society Meeting ‘Climate change the biological response'


Data from a national butterfly monitoring scheme were analysed to test for relationships between temperature and three phenological measures, duration of flight period and timing of both first and peak appearance. First appearances of most British butterflies has advanced in the last two decades and is strongly related to earlier peak appearance and, for multibrooded species, longer flight period. Mean dates of first and peak appearance are examined in relation to Manley's central England temperatures, using regression techniques. We predict that, in the absence of confounding factors, such as interactions with other organisms and land-use change, climate warming of the order of 1 °C could advance first and peak appearance of most butterflies by 2–10 days.