Why Butterflies Matter

Green Hairstreak (underwing)

This page from Butterfly Conservation is really good to tell us why butterflies are so important, why they matter so much. Most people know about bees but did you know …

  • Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems.
  • They indicate a wide range of other invertebrates, which comprise over two-thirds of all species.
  • Areas rich in butterflies and moths are rich in other invertebrates. These collectively provide a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control.
  • Moths and butterflies are an important element of the food chain and are prey for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals (for example, in Britain and Ireland, Blue Tits eat an estimated 50 billion moth caterpillars each year).
  • Butterflies and moths support a range of other predators and parasites, many of which are specific to individual species, or groups of species.
  • Butterflies have been widely used by ecologists as model organisms to study the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change.

Butterflies have been around for at least 50 million years and probably first evolved some 150 million years ago. Homo sapiens came about some 400,000 years ago in comparison! We really do need to help them survive.