Earlier this week, Nasa issued a satellite photo of a stark white Britain plastered in ice and snow, and I thought to myself it looked striking, but lifeless. It’s easy to have the same feeling sometimes at ground level, gazing on a snowbound countryside: it has become a barren white desert. Which, of course, is mistaken entirely.
Under the frozen blanket, life is abounding but sleeping: the seeds of a thousand plant species are just waiting for the sun to knock on their door; insects are in the same position. But whereas seeds are seeds, insects – let’s take butterflies – can have very different identities under the snow.