Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: All Families
You can also view a list of all species by family or an alphabetical list of species by common name, latin name or UK status.
Family Hesperiidae Family Lycaenidae Family Nymphalidae Family Papilionidae Family Pieridae
Hesperiidae Lycaenidae Nymphalidae Papilionidae Pieridae
Family Hesperiidae (The Skippers)
In Britain, the Hesperiidae family consists of eight (8) native species and one extinct species. Known commonly as "skippers" because of their rapid flight, these moth-like butterflies are split in to two sub-families, the Pyrginae and the Hesperiinae. Pyrginae tend to be a dull grey-brown colour with highly detailed wing patterns. They tend to hold their wings wide open when basking or folded forward, hugging a plant stem when roosting. They tend to be less widespread and often occur in discreet colonies.

Hesperiinae on the other hand tend to be golden brown in colour and hold their wings in a distinctive triangular shape when viewed from above. The males tend to have an obvious sex brand (androconica) on the upper forewing making them easily distinguishable from the females of the same species.
Click for futher details about the Chequered Skipper. Chequered Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Dingy Skipper. Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Essex Skipper. Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Grizzled Skipper. Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Chequered Skipper. Large Chequered Skipper (Heteropterus morpheus)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Large Skipper. Large Skipper (Ochlodes venata)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Lulworth Skipper. Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Mallow Skipper. Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper. Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus armoricanus)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Silver-spotted Skipper. Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Skipper. Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)
UK Status: Resident
Family Lycaenidae (The Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks & Dukes)
The Lycaenidae family is a large group of small butterflies. They are some of our most beautiful yet most overlooked butterflies. This family is split into two subfamilies, namely the Lycaeninae and the Riodininae.
Lycaeninae consists of eighteen (18) native species of which three British sub-species, the Mazarine Blue, Large Blue and Large Copper are extinct and lost forever. The Large Blue has been successfully re-introduced using a sub-species from Europe. Similar re-introduction attempts for the Large Copper have so far failed.

The Long-tailed Blue and Short-tailed Blue are very rare migrants to British shores while the occurrence of Geranium Bronze is due to accidental imports on pelargonium plants sold in garden centres.

Riodininae consist of only one species, the Duke of Burgundy.
Click for futher details about the Adonis Blue. Adonis Blue (Polyommatus bellargus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Black Hairstreak. Black Hairstreak (Satyrium pruni)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Brown Argus. Brown Argus (Aricia agestis)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Brown Hairstreak. Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Chalkhill Blue. Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Common Blue. Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Duke of Burgundy. Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Geranium Bronze. Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)
UK Status: Introduction
Click for futher details about the Green Hairstreak. Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Holly Blue. Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Blue. Large Blue (Glaucopsyche arion)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Copper British Race. Large Copper British Race (Lycaena dispar)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Long-tailed Blue. Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Mazarine Blue. Mazarine Blue (Polyommatus semiargus)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Northern Brown Argus. Northern Brown Argus (Aricia artaxerxes)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Purple Hairstreak. Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Scarce Copper. Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Short-tailed Blue. Short-tailed Blue (Cupido argiades)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Silver-studded Blue. Silver-studded Blue (Plebeius argus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Blue. Small Blue (Cupido minimus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Copper. Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Sooty Copper. Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Turquoise blue. Turquoise blue (Plebicula dorylas)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the White-letter Hairstreak. White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)
UK Status: Resident
Family Nymphalidae (The Fritillaries, Emperors, Admirals and Browns)
The Nymphalidae family contains thirty one (26) native species plus several migrants and extinct members. They are often referred to as the 'brush-foots' because of the non-functional pair of front legs which are reduced in size and covered with hair-like scales. These forelegs are often tucked under the body of the butterfly. The caterpillars tend to be covered in spines or have other protrusions such as horns on the head or tail. The pupae are angular in shape and are jewel like in appearance with shiny metallic gold or silver spots.

An exception to the above rules are members of the sub-family Satyrinae (The Browns and Ringlets), whose caterpillars feed on grasses. The caterpillars also have pointed projections at the end of the body. It should be noted that the Marbled White dispite its appearance is a member of this sub-family, its behaviour and life-cycle being similar to other Browns.

The family is split into seven sub families, the Apaturinae, Heliconiinae, Melitaeinae, Limenitinae, Nymphalinae, Satyrinae and Danainae.
Apaturinae consists of one (1) species, The stunning Purple Emperor.

Heliconiinae consists of five (5) species plus one (1) rare migrant species. The larvae all feed on the leaves of members of the violet family.

Melitaeinae consists of three (3) species, all have limited distribution in the UK.

Limenitinae consists of one (1) species, the White Admiral.

Nymphalinae consists of four (4) species and two (2) common migrants.

Satyrinae consists of eleven (11) grassland species.

Danainae consists of one (1) species, a very rare migrant, the Monarch.
Click for futher details about the Camberwell Beauty. Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Comma. Comma (Polygonia c-album)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Dark Green Fritillary. Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Glanville Fritillary. Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Grayling. Grayling (Hipparchia semele)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Heath Fritillary. Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the High Brown Fritillary. High Brown Fritillary (Argynnis adippe)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Heath. Large Heath (Coenonympha tullia)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Tortoiseshell. Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large Wall. Large Wall (Lasiommata maera)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Map. Map (Araschnia levana)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Marbled White. Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Marsh Fritillary. Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Meadow Brown. Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Monarch. Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Mountain Ringlet. Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Niobe Fritillary. Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Painted Lady. Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
UK Status: Migrant
Click for futher details about the Peacock. Peacock (Inachis io)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Purple Emperor. Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Queen of Spain Fritillary. Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Red Admiral. Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
UK Status: Migrant
Click for futher details about the Ringlet. Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Scotch Argus. Scotch Argus (Erebia aethiops)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Silver-washed Fritillary. Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Heath. Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small Tortoiseshell. Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Speckled Wood. Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the The Hermit. The Hermit (Chazara briseis)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Wall Brown. Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Weaver's Fritillary. Weaver's Fritillary (Boloria dia)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the White Admiral. White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
UK Status: Resident
Family Papilionidae (The Swallowtails)
The Papilionidae family consists of one (1) native species. The Swallowtail, is a stunning butterfly which has evolved in to a sub-species due to its isolation in the UK. The European sub-species of the Swallowtail occurs as a rare migrant around the south coast of the UK.  
Click for futher details about the Apollo. Apollo (Parnassius apollo)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Scarce Swallowtail. Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Swallowtail. Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Swallowtail European Race. Swallowtail European Race (Papilio gorganus)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Family Pieridae (The Whites and Yellows)
The Pieridae family consists of seven (7) native species more commonly known as "whites" and yellows (or sulphurs). The pigment (whites, yellows and oranges) are derived from uric acid waste products which deposit themselves on the wing scales during pupation. The pupae of all species from the Pieridae family are positioned in an upright fashion, with a single silk girdle around the middle of the pupae.

The family is split into three sub families, the Coliadinae, Pierinae, Dismorphiinae.
Coliadinae consists of one (1) native and one (1) common migrant species. They are primarily yellow in colour.

Pierinae consists of four (4) species which are primarily white in colour.

Dismorphiinae consists of two (2) species known as Wood Whites.
Click for futher details about the Bath White. Bath White (Pontia daplidice)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Berger's Clouded Yellow. Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Black-veined White. Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Brimstone. Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Clouded Yellow. Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)
UK Status: Migrant
Click for futher details about the Green-veined White. Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Large White. Large White (Pieris brassicae)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Mountain Dappled White. Mountain Dappled White (Euchloe simplonia)
UK Status: Extinct
Click for futher details about the Orange-tip. Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Pale Clouded Yellow. Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias hyale)
UK Status: Rare Migrant
Click for futher details about the Real's Wood White. Real's Wood White (Leptidea reali)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Small White. Small White (Pieris rapae)
UK Status: Resident
Click for futher details about the Wood White. Wood White (Leptidea sinapis)
UK Status: Resident