Key To Butterfly Climate Survival May Be Colour Coded

A butterfly’s ability to absorb or reflect heat from the sun with its wings could be a matter of life and death in a warming world, according to British research published Thursday calling for gardens, parks and farms to host shady, cooling-off spots.

While all butterflies are ectotherms — they cannot generate their own body heat — the ability to regulate temperature varies significantly, researchers said.

The study found that bigger, pale-coloured butterflies, like this Brimstone, are better at thermoregulation The study found that bigger, pale-coloured butterflies, like this Brimstone, are better at thermoregulation Photo: University of Cambridge / Andrew BLADON

The study found that species that struggle to moderate their body temperatures often rely on being able to escape the full heat of the sun in shaded “microclimates” to survive.

These butterflies are “likely to suffer the most from climate change and habitat loss,” said lead author Andrew Bladon, of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology.

Researchers said the cooler niches they

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