As our species systematically reduces the biodiversity of our home planet, many groups of species are in decline, but few have been so comprehensively observed as butterflies and moths. Other insects may be more important for ecosystem health, but butterflies are beautiful, so they get plenty of attention. Which is also good, as it enables scientists to analyse biodiversity loss across vast areas and through centuries, using the accumulated amateur observations as well as specimen collections kept in museums.
Read more about butterflies in my latest feature which is out now:
Butterflies take a well-studied tumble
Current Biology Volume 26, Issue 18, pR823–R825, 26 September 2016
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Der Schmetterlingsjäger (The butterfly hunter) by Carl Spitzweg, 1840. Source.