Time for SA’s 8th butterfly census – and you can take part

2013-10-12 08:57

The eighth butterfly census will start around the country next week, with beginners and experts asked to help count, the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa has said.

The census is held every autumn and spring as part of efforts to start a long-term butterfly monitoring programme, census co-ordinator Esther Mostert said in a statement.

“There are about 800 butterfly species and subspecies in our country, and about 10% of these are threatened with extinction,” Mostert said.

“Anyone can take part in the butterfly census week. All they need to do is to register their team.”

All species observed by the teams would be noted and counted.

“The results are then submitted to the census co-ordinator, who collects and summarises all the data.”

No census has taken place in the Northern Cape.

“Members of the public from all provinces, especially Northern Cape, North West, and Free State are encouraged to take part and help us gain knowledge on the patterns and trends of butterflies across the entire country.”

During a census in 2010, up to 160 species were counted in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Some patterns that are emerging show that there are seasonal trends in butterfly numbers, with some being more abundant during spring and others more abundant during autumn,” said Mostert.

Butterfly census week takes place from October 19 to October 27.

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