Butterflies in the United Kingdom

Being an island nation, there aren’t many unique butterfly species in the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact, several of the butterflies recorded in the UK are vagrants, like the Monarch, the American Lady, and the Scarce Swallowtail.

There has been a sharp decline in the butterfly population in the UK due to a loss in habitat, with some, like the Arran Brown and the Large Copper, going extinct locally. Out of the remaining species, notable ones include the Painted Lady, the Small Tortoiseshell, and the Small White.

Butterflies in United Kingdom

Butterflies in United Kingdom

List of Different Butterfly Species of the UK

Brush-Footed (Nymphalidae)

  • American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) [vagrant]
  • Comma (Polygonia c-album)
  • Dark Green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja)
  • Glanville Fritillary (Melitaea cinxia)
  • Grayling (Hipparchia semele)
  • Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia)
  • High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe)
  • Map (Araschnia levana) [vagrant]
  • Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)
  • Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
  • Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) [vagrant]
  • Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) [vagrant]
  • Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
  • Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
  • Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne)
  • Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)
  • Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia) [vagrant]
  • Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
  • Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
  • Scotch Argus (Erebia aethiops)
  • Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)
  • Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
  • Small Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron)
  • Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
  • Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
  • Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
  • Tullia’s Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)
  • Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
  • White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
  • Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) [vagrant]
  • Melanargia galathea serena
  • Pyronia tithonus britanniae

Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae)

  • Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus)
  • Black Hairstreak (Satyrium pruni)
  • Brown Argus (Aricia agestis)
  • Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae)
  • Chalkhill Blue (Lysandra coridon)
  • European Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
  • Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) [vagrant]
  • Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)
  • Large Blue (Phengaris arion)
  • Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) [vagrant]
  • Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) [vagrant]
  • Northern Brown Argus (Aricia artaxerxes)
  • Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus)
  • Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus)
  • Small Blue (Cupido minimus)
  • White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)
  • Short-tailed Blue (Cupido argiades) [vagrant]
  • Celastrina argiolus britanna
  • Lycaena phlaeas eleus

Whites and Sulphurs (Pieridae)

Metalmark (Riodinidae)

  • Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

Swallowtail (Papilionidae) 

Skipper (Hesperiidae)

  • Chequered Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon)
  • Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages)
  • European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
  • Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)
  • Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)
  • Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon)
  • Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma)
  • Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)

Some of the best places to see butterflies in the UK include Coleton Fishacre Garden, Upton House, and Stratford Butterfly Farm.