Stand by for an invasion of painted ladies!

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  • Millions of butterflies expected to arrive in the south of England
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Millions of butterflies are about to invade the south.

The painted lady butterflies are likely to head to the UK in a rare mass migration from southern Europe.

Each summer, painted ladies migrate from the continent to Britain, where caterpillars feed on thistles.

Every decade or so, Briatin has a ‘painted lady summer’ when millions arrive as part of the longest butterfly migration in the world.

The Butterfly Conservation group said that in the last mass migration in 2009 about 11 million painted ladies flew to the UK.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation head of recording, said: ‘The painted lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world.

“Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30mph, these small, fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.’

He said recent warm conditions have seen painted lady numbers soar again, with reports of large numbers on parts of the south coast.

People are being asked by Butterfly Conservation to record sightings of painted ladies through its Migrant Watch scheme.

The painted lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation head of recording