Migrant watch

The Painted Lady Butterfly and Humming-bird Hawk-moth are arriving from Africa and becoming increasingly common in the UK. To find out just how common, we need your help.

Butterfly Conservation is running a project to map the arrival, spread and departure of migrant insects online. 2011 was a poor year for the Painted Lady, but a very good one for Humming-bird Hawk-moths. View the results of 2013's online survey.

If you have seen either the Humming-bird Hawk-moth or the Painted Lady in Britain and Ireland since the start of 2014, please follow the links and help us track the impact of climate change on migration.

Painted Lady
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Painted Lady

The Painted Lady is a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonising mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland. In some years it is an abundant butterfly, frequenting gardens and other flowery places in late summer.

This butterfly arrives in the UK from Africa every year. There was a mass migration into Britain and Ireland during 2009, but there have been relatively few here since then. What will this year bring?

Humming-bird Hawk-moth
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Humming-bird Hawk-moth

This moth resembles a hummingbird as it flies rapidly between plants and hovers to feed over tubular flowers such as Viper's-bugloss during the day. Similar to Bee hawk moths in flight but the Humming-bird Hawk-moth has orange-brown hindwings which is evident in flight. It has forewings that are greyish-brown and a black and white chequered body.

As the climate warms up we are seeing more and more of this exotic visitor from Africa. 2011 was an excellent year for Humming-bird Hawk-moths in the UK.