Brown argus finds new food and expands range, showing how climate change will have winners and losers
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A butterfly once thought to be threatened by global warming has changed its diet and increased its range, showing how some species may be able to adapt to a changing climate.
“There will be winners and losers from climate change,” said University of York professor Jane Hill, one of the co-authors of the study published this week in Science. “It is important that we begin to understand how the complex interactions between species affect their ability to adapt to climate change so we can identify those that might be at risk and where to focus conservation efforts.”
The researchers found that warmer summers have allowed the brown argus butterfly to complete its life cycle by eating wild Geranium plants. Because the Geraniums are widespread in the British countryside, this change in diet has allowed the butterfly to expand its range in Britain at a surprisingly rapid rate. Over the past 20 years, the Brown Argus has spread northwards by around 79 kilometres and has become common in the countryside in much of southern England. (more…)