A SPECTACULAR butterfly from the continent could be attempting to colonise the UK, experts said after a number emerged on the south coast.

A dozen adult continental swallowtail butterflies have been seen across Sussex in the past few weeks after wintering in the UK, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation said.

Last year’s hot summer led to the the largest invasion of the swallowtails since 1945, with butterflies also seen in Suffolk, Kent, Hampshire and Dorset.

The butterfly – which has striking black and yellow markings and a streamer-shaped tail – finds it difficult to survive winter in the UK’s relatively cold climate. But the emergence of adults from pupae in recent weeks suggests its breeding attempts last year were successful.