LONDON-Wildlife lovers are being urged to help record the greatest influx of painted lady butterflies for a decade as part of the world’s largest butterfly survey.

Unusually high numbers of the migratory butterfly have flown into Britain from continental Europe in the last six weeks and some of their offspring will emerge during the Big Butterfly Count, which starts on Friday.

This “painted lady summer” is the most significant since 2009, when 11m arrived in Britain. The butterfly is continuously migratory, with offspring making the reverse journey to warmer climes at summer’s end, with successive generations even crossing the Sahara before making their way north again next spring.

Chris Packham, vice-president of Butterfly Conservation, urged people to join in the survey in which people can download a free app and spend 15 minutes counting butterflies in their local park, nature reserve or garden.