World record butterfly

Longest butterfly migration

We now know the painted lady (Vanessa cardui), seen in the reserve in the summers of 2019 and 2020, makes the longest migration of any butterfly: 9,000 miles from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle, almost double the journey made by the previous record holder, the famed monarch butterfly.

It can take six successive generations of painted ladies to complete this epic journey, flying up to 1,500ft high and reaching speeds of 30mph. The butterflies that return to Africa at the end of the year are several generations removed from those that set out.

This astonishing and beautiful butterfly will begin arriving in Britain this month. Keep a look out for it in the reserve.

Pictures (CC0) from

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