As Climate Changes, British Butterfly Packs its Bags to Head North

Rising global temperatures may prompt some species to seek different evironments in order to survive. That’s what scientists believe is happening as Britain’s Brown Argus butterfly begins showing up in increasing numbers in northern regions of the United Kingdom.

New research in the journal Molecular Ecology used genetic studies to show that the Brown Argus is colonizing areas further north. The study shows that the butterfly is adapting to different habitats. Evidence suggests that the species itself has some pre-existing variation in terms of its habitat preferences which may be helping it evolve to meet the demands of a warmer climate.

“To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to identify genetic evidence for evolutionary change associated with range shifts driven by recent climate change,” said James Buckley, a researcher in Bristol University’s School of Biological Sciences.

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