Nature Profiles

British Butterflies

Britain has 60 species of butterflies, ranging from the tiny Small Blue and Grizzled Skipper, to the large and handsome Swallowtail.  Derbyshire is home to just over a third of the species, whilst Dorset and Hampshire boast the greatest diversity.

Skippers & Hairstreaks

The Skippers are the most unusual-looking of Britain's butterflies, somewhat resembling moths. There are 8 species, three of which are very localised. The 5 species of Hairstreaks are elusive butterflies, named for the fine-lined markings on their underwings.


The Whites (Pieridae) comprise some of our most familar butterflies. This family also contains the delicate Wood White, one of our most threatened butterflies.


A meadow shimmering with blue butterflies is one of the delights of summer. Sadly, some of our 9 Blues (Lycaenids) are in long-term decline, and their survival depends on dedicated conservation efforts to maintain their grassland habitats.


These species certainly live up to their name - all of them are various shades of brown, with the notable exception of the beautiful Marbled White. There are 11 species in Britain. Unusually for British butterflies, two of this group are virtually restricted to Scotland.


The 8 British fritillaries are attractive butterflies with orange wings patterned with black spots and stripes. Most have declined dramatically in the last 100 years due to changes in woodland management and now depend on dedicated conservation to survive.

Nymphalids & Miscellaneous

The Nymphalids are among the most spectacular of Britain's butterflies, and some of the most familiar summer butterflies come from this family.