Animals > Invertebrates > British Butterflies (153) More files...
The UK has 57 species of resident butterflies and 2 regular migrants (the painted lady and clouded yellow). The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme has been surveying populatons annually since 1976 and has shown evidence of long-term declines in many species. Several, including heath and high brown fritillary, black hairstreak and Lulworth skipper, are now limited to a small number of sites and some once relatively common butterflies, such as small tortoiseshell, wall brown, small skipper, white admiral and small heath, have shown steep population declines in recent years. More extreme and unpredictable weather may have a part to play here, but loss of habitat (and foodplants) is believed to be the key factor in declining populations. Many UK conservation organisations, including Butterfly Conservation, the Wildlife Trusts and The National Trust, actively and successfully manage land for butterflies. The large blue, once extinct in Britain, has been successfully reintroduced to the south west of England in recent years. This gallery profiles the full range of British butterflies, from fritillaries and browns, to whites and blues, skippers and hairstreaks, without forgetting the spectacular purple emperor and swallowtail. Explore butterfly behaviour and life cycle in a range of UK settings.
Three Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies{Boloria selene} gathered on a flower head, Marsland mouth, Cornwall / Devon, UK.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Three Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies{Boloria selene} gathered on a flower head, Marsland mouth, Cornwall / Devon, UK.
Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) on flower, Dorset, England, May  -  David Kjaer
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David Kjaer / Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) on flower, Dorset, England, May
Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) viewed from below with open wings on larval foodplant Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), UK, Captive. Focus Stacked Image  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) viewed from below with open wings on larval foodplant Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata), UK, Captive. Focus Stacked Image
Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) close-up of wing detail, Dunsdon, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK, June 2012.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) close-up of wing detail, Dunsdon, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK, June 2012.
Small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene), Cornwall, England, UK, June.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene), Cornwall, England, UK, June.
Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) nectaring from a Buttercup (Ranunculus) before taking off, Devon, England, UK, June.  -  Michael Hutchinson
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Michael Hutchinson / Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) nectaring from a Buttercup (Ranunculus) before taking off, Devon, England, UK, June.
Duke of Burgundy butterfly {Hamearis lucina} basking with wings open on Cowslip, Captive, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Duke of Burgundy butterfly {Hamearis lucina} basking with wings open on Cowslip, Captive, UK.
Two small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies (Boloria selene) resting on bluebell, Marsland mouth, North Devon, UK. May 2017.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Two small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies (Boloria selene) resting on bluebell, Marsland mouth, North Devon, UK. May 2017.
Duke of Burgundy butterfly {Hamearis lucina} portrait on Cowslip, captive, UK.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Duke of Burgundy butterfly {Hamearis lucina} portrait on Cowslip, captive, UK.
Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) nectaring on a Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) flower in a chalk grassland meadow, Wiltshire, UK, June.  -  Nick Upton
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Nick Upton / Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) nectaring on a Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) flower in a chalk grassland meadow, Wiltshire, UK, June.
Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia) one of the rarest British butterflies, on flower of Cow-wheat (foodplant), Kent, England, UK  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia) one of the rarest British butterflies, on flower of Cow-wheat (foodplant), Kent, England, UK
Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene) roosting on Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) fiddlehead. Marsland Valley Wildlife Trusts Reserve, Cornwall, England, UK. June.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene) roosting on Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) fiddlehead. Marsland Valley Wildlife Trusts Reserve, Cornwall, England, UK. June.
Marsh fritillaries (Euphydryas aurinia) resting on spotted heath orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata), Dunsdon, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK. June 2016.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Marsh fritillaries (Euphydryas aurinia) resting on spotted heath orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata), Dunsdon, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK. June 2016.
Small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene) portrait, Marsland Mouth, North Devon, UK. May.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene) portrait, Marsland Mouth, North Devon, UK. May.
Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) male on bramble, Holt Country Park, Norfolk, England, UK, July.  -  Ernie  Janes
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Ernie Janes / Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) male on bramble, Holt Country Park, Norfolk, England, UK, July.
Dark-green fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) on flower, Coombes Dale, Derbyshire, England, UK, July.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Dark-green fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) on flower, Coombes Dale, Derbyshire, England, UK, July.
Heath fritillary butterfly (Melitaea athalia) basking on Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England, UK. June.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Heath fritillary butterfly (Melitaea athalia) basking on Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England, UK. June.
Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydrayas aurinia) resting on sedge, Dunsdon Nature Reserve, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK. June 18.  -  Ross Hoddinott
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Ross Hoddinott / Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydrayas aurinia) resting on sedge, Dunsdon Nature Reserve, near Holsworthy, Devon, UK. June 18.
Queen of Spain Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis lathonia) on flower, UK  -  Robert Pickett
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Robert Pickett / Queen of Spain Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis lathonia) on flower, UK
Silver washed fritillary {Argynnis paphia} in flight, UK  -  Stephen Dalton
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Stephen Dalton / Silver washed fritillary {Argynnis paphia} in flight, UK
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) on Oak leaves basking with wings open, Captive, UK  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) on Oak leaves basking with wings open, Captive, UK
White Admiral Butterfly hatching from pupa (Ladoga camilla) drying wings, UK. Sequence 19 of 19.  -  Robert Pickett
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Robert Pickett / White Admiral Butterfly hatching from pupa (Ladoga camilla) drying wings, UK. Sequence 19 of 19.
White Admiral butterfly (Limenitis camilla) adult at rest in woodland clearing, Norfolk, UK, July  -  Gary  K. Smith
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Gary K. Smith / White Admiral butterfly (Limenitis camilla) adult at rest in woodland clearing, Norfolk, UK, July
Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) on Michaelmas daisy flowers. Dorset, UK, October 2012.  -  Colin Varndell
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Colin Varndell / Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) on Michaelmas daisy flowers. Dorset, UK, October 2012.
Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) shortly after taking off from Aster flowers, UK, sequence 1/4  -  Stephen Dalton
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Stephen Dalton / Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) shortly after taking off from Aster flowers, UK, sequence 1/4
Large tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros), Sark, British Channel Islands, July.  -  Sue Daly
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Sue Daly / Large tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros), Sark, British Channel Islands, July.
Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) on a stained glass window  of church on a sunny day Sheffield, England, UK, January.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) on a stained glass window of church on a sunny day Sheffield, England, UK, January.
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais urticae) feeding on scabious flowers in hay meadow, Wensum Valley, Norfolk, England, UK, July.  -  Ernie  Janes
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Ernie Janes / Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais urticae) feeding on scabious flowers in hay meadow, Wensum Valley, Norfolk, England, UK, July.
Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) feeding on Scabious (Scabiosa sp) flower in garden. Cheshire, UK, September.  -  Alan  Williams
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Alan Williams / Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) feeding on Scabious (Scabiosa sp) flower in garden. Cheshire, UK, September.
Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) and Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) England, UK, August.  -  Ernie  Janes
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Ernie Janes / Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) and Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) England, UK, August.
Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on Cone flowers (Echinacea purpurea) in garden, England, UK, August.  -  Ernie  Janes
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Ernie Janes / Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on Cone flowers (Echinacea purpurea) in garden, England, UK, August.
Peacock butterfly (Aglais io) hibernating in garden shed. Norfolk, England, UK. December.  -  Gary  K. Smith
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Gary K. Smith / Peacock butterfly (Aglais io) hibernating in garden shed. Norfolk, England, UK. December.
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae)~caterpillar, feeding on nettle leaf, Sussex, UK, June  -  Simon Colmer
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Simon Colmer / Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae)~caterpillar, feeding on nettle leaf, Sussex, UK, June
Caterpillars of Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae)on their foodplant  Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Oxfordshire, UK. July.  -  Alex  Hyde
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Alex Hyde / Caterpillars of Small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae)on their foodplant Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Oxfordshire, UK. July.
Comma butterfly (Polygonia C-album) feeding on ripe blackberries, Dorset, UK, August  -  Colin Varndell
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Colin Varndell / Comma butterfly (Polygonia C-album) feeding on ripe blackberries, Dorset, UK, August
Common butterfly (Polygonia c-album) Sussex, England, UK, August.  -  Stephen  Dalton
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Stephen Dalton / Common butterfly (Polygonia c-album) Sussex, England, UK, August.
Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) feeding on rotting apples. West Sussex, UK, October.  -  Andy Sands
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Andy Sands / Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) feeding on rotting apples. West Sussex, UK, October.
Comma butterfly   (Polygonia c-album) feeding on wild aster, Sutcliffe Park Nature Reserve, Eltham, London, UK, September.  -  Rod Williams
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Rod Williams / Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) feeding on wild aster, Sutcliffe Park Nature Reserve, Eltham, London, UK, September.
Underside wing detail of Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) showing the white comma-shaped mark from which it gets its name. Peak District National Park, Deryshire, UK, September.  -  Alex  Hyde
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Alex Hyde / Underside wing detail of Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) showing the white comma-shaped mark from which it gets its name. Peak District National Park, Deryshire, UK, September.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Goat Willow catkins (Salix caprea), an important food source for pollinators in early spring. Peak District National Park, UK. April.  -  Alex  Hyde
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Alex Hyde / Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Goat Willow catkins (Salix caprea), an important food source for pollinators in early spring. Peak District National Park, UK. April.
Peacock butterflies (Aglais io) feeding on Echinops , Norfolk, England, UK, July.  -  Ernie Janes
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Ernie Janes / Peacock butterflies (Aglais io) feeding on Echinops , Norfolk, England, UK, July.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) and Small tortoiseshell butterflies (Aglais urticae) feeding on Buddleia flowers (Buddleia davidii), Derbyshire, UK, September.  -  Alex Hyde
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Alex Hyde / Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) and Small tortoiseshell butterflies (Aglais urticae) feeding on Buddleia flowers (Buddleia davidii), Derbyshire, UK, September.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) in a disused limestone quarry. Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK. August.  -  Alex  Hyde
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Alex Hyde / Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis) in a disused limestone quarry. Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK. August.
Camberwell butterfly {Nymphalis antiopa} UK  -  George McCarthy
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George McCarthy / Camberwell butterfly {Nymphalis antiopa} UK
Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 1 of 22.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 1 of 22.
Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 5 of 22.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 5 of 22.
Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 12 of 22.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 12 of 22.
Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 17 of 22.  -  Paul Hobson
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Paul Hobson / Small tortoishell butterfly (Aglais urticae) adult emerging from chrysalis, Sheffield, England, UK, August. Sequence 17 of 22.
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