Regardless of untypical weather conditions during the last summer the species diversity and abundance of butterflies in 2015 remained close to the multi-year average. The index, reflecting general abundance of butterflies, equalled to that of 2004 when the Estonian monitoring programme was launched. Over the 12-year monitoring period the abundance of butterflies is currently demonstrating slight increase, in spite of the recent years’ decline if compared to the advanced period of 2010-2013. These results reveal, that in wider context the butterfly populations of Estonia are in favourable condition. In the European context these are really good results, as similar index, calculated from similar monitoring patterns in 22 European states demonstrates 30% decline since 1990 and only during the latest 5-10 years the rate of decline seems to be decelerated.
The condition of the monitoring areas is generally good - in 10 areas out of 14 there is no need to change the management system, as retention of viable populations of butterflies (protected species therein) is guaranteed there under current regime. In 2015 from 14 transects 83 species of butterflies were registered. Two of them - the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and the Painted Lady (Cunthia cardui) are migratory species of Southern origin, unable to winter in Estonian conditions. The rest of the 81 species constitute 81% of Estonia’s native butterfly fauna (total 100 spp.). The most diverse transect in 2015 was the Piusa-Veski transect with 50 species.
|Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino) / Photo: John Maddocks|
About Erki Õunap (PhD 2010):
„I discovered the exciting world of arthropods by following the example of my father when I was just a schoolboy. As time passed and I grew up, my interest directed its course to a more definite target and so little by little I decided to concentrate on butterflies.
After graduating from the Tartu University I have worked as a professional lepidopterologist in Tartu University and in Estonian University of Life Sciences. I have gathered data and knowledge of the distribution, habits and behaviour of butterflies during the last twenty years resulting in the publishing of a book on the butterflies of Estonia.“