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Butterflies in Poland. Butterfly Day – March 14. Beneficial insects pollinate plants

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There are over three thousand species of butterflies in Poland, but the future of many of them is threatened, mainly due to human activity. Meanwhile, they are extremely useful insects. It is estimated that in terms of merit in pollinating plants around the world, they are second only to bees. March 14 is Butterfly Day.

Butterflies are a very large group of insects, only beetles have more species than them. There are 150,000 to 170,000 species worldwide, around 3,100 have been described in Poland, most of which are night butterflies, or moths. Nature lovers celebrate Butterfly Day on March 14 to emphasize the importance of these useful creatures. They are an important part of the ecosystem, among other things, because they participate in the pollination of plants, including crops. “They provide a man with a service worth billions of zlotys” – reads the lasy.gov.pl portal.

It is estimated that butterflies are second only to bees in terms of their merits in pollinating plants around the world.

Butterflies in Poland – species, life expectancy, interesting facts. What are night butterflies?

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Queen Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio machaon)Shutterstock

Butterflies – insects of particular concern

Why are so many butterflies in danger of extinction? To a large extent, human activities are to blame, as they use the areas that are their habitats more and more intensively. As experts emphasize, mowing meadows, shrubs or lawns at inappropriate times brings particularly disastrous results. Their plowing or the use of plant protection products can even lead to the complete destruction of habitats.

In accordance with the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of December 16, 2016 on the protection of species in Poland, 20 species of butterflies are under strict protection, and 16 species are under partial protection. However, the problem is wider and it is estimated that almost half of the species of diurnal butterflies in our country should be given special care, and several species are critically endangered.

Climate change and its impact on butterflies

Butterflies are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperature is fully dependent on environmental conditions. Any warming or cooling of the air, even just one degree, can make a difference. Waves of extreme temperatures or violent weather phenomena are particularly dangerous, giving these relatively short-lived insects little time for possible migration.

Scientists from Cambridge have noticed that the rising average temperature, resulting from climate change, is a deadly threat to some species. It turns out that large and bright butterflies, which can set their reflective wings at the right angle to the sun’s rays, tolerate climate change relatively well.

In a worse situation, say scientists, are colorful butterflies, which find it much more difficult to adapt to higher temperatures.

Danaus butterflyShutterstock

Interesting facts about butterflies

The largest butterfly in Poland is considered to be the death’s head moth, a moth from the Sphingidae family. Its wingspan reaches 13-14 centimeters. It owes its name to the drawing on the back resembling a skull. This night butterfly makes very interesting sounds – it whistles to scare away the attacker.

When do butterflies appear? It depends on the species. Some can be seen already in early spring. However, there is a butterfly that appears already in February – antler moth.

Where do butterflies live? In the warm months, you can most often see them in gardens, meadows and fields. In winter, some species go on a journey, and those that stay go into a state called dipause. This is the winter sleep of insects.

Butterflies only spend a small part of their lives as adults. One of the stages of development of this insect is the caterpillar.

lasy.gov.pl, zoo.wroclaw.pl, Atlas of national butterflies, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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