Britain's butterflies, dragonflies disappearing fast


One-third of British dragonfly species are at risk of extinction, and Britain's butterfly species are at record low numbers, according to new reports.

Both species are affected by water levels -- butterflies have been hit hard by a too-wet summer, while the ponds dragonflies called home have been sucked dry by local agriculture.

Climate change has hurt Britain's dragonflies, as "they are very temperature-sensitive," according to Katherine Parkes of the British Dragonfly Society. Parkes says this sensitivity makes them a useful species to monitor climate change (but hopefully that doesn't mean they'll die off as a warning).

As for butterflies, heavy rains keep the fragile insects from flying, and therefore prevents them from breeding. 2007 was the wettest season in nearly 70 years in the UK, and many butterfly species are at all-time lows as a result. The small tortoiseshell has lost 81% of its population in just four years. Other species at risk, according to Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, include the common blue, Grayling, Lulworth skipper, northern brown argus, Scotch argus, small skipper, small tortoiseshell, speckled wood, chalk-hill blue and wall brown.

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