Yorkshire's

Butterflies

Yorkshire supports 38 butterfly species. Many are still common, some are at increasing risk due to habitat loss and human pressures while others are seriously threatened due to their very limited distribution in the county as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.

The list below contains all species that currently occur in our region. More information about the status of each species is available by clicking on the species photos below.

The Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

In Yorkshire, the Hesperiidae family is represented by four species. Known commonly as "skippers" because of their rapid, darting flight, these moth-like butterflies are split in to three sub-families, the Pyrginae represented by two species and Hesperiinae represented by three species. There are no representatives of the sub-family Heteropterinae resident in our region.

Large Skipper

Ochlodes venata

Small Skipper

Thymelicus sylvestris

Essex Skipper

Thymelicus lineola

Dingy Skipper

Erynnis tages (LBAP/UKBAP)

Whites and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

In Yorkshire, the Pieridae family is represented by six species. 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.

Large White

Pieris brassicae

Small White

Pieris rapae

Green-veined White

Pieris napi

Orange-Tip

Anthocharis cardamines

Clouded Yellow

Colias croceus

Brimstone

Gonepteryx rhamni

Vanessids, Fritillaries & Browns (Family Nymphalidae)

In Yorkshire, the Nymphalidae family is represented by seventeen species. 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 is 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 despite its appearance is a member of this sub-family, its behaviour and life-cycle being similar to other Browns.

The Browns (Satyrinae)

Speckled Wood

Pararge aegeria

Small Heath

Coenonympha pamphilus

Ringlet

Aphantopus hyperantus

Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina

Gatekeeper

Pyronia tithonus

Marbled White

Melanargia galathea

Large Heath

Coenonympha tullia

(LBAP/UKBAP)

Grayling

Hipparchia semele

Wall

Lasiommata megera




The Fritillaries

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Boloria euphrosyne

(LBAP/UKBAP)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Boloria selene

Silver-washed Fritillary

Argynnis paphia

Dark Green Fritillary

Argynnis aglaja

The Vanessids

Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui

Peacock

Aglais io

Small Tortoiseshell

Aglais urticae

Comma

Polygonia c-album


Blues, Coppers and Hairstreaks (Family Lycaenidae)

In Yorkshire, the Lycaenidae family consists of eight species split between three sub-families Lycaeninae, Theclinae and Polyommatinae.

They are some of our most beautiful species but are easily overlooked due to their small size and behaviour.

Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas

Purple Hairstreak

Favonius quercus

Green Hairstreak

Callophrys rubi

White-letter Hairstreak

Satyrium w-album

Small Blue

Cupido minimus (LBAP/UKBAP)

Holly Blue

Celastrina argiolus

Brown Argus

Aricia agestis

Common Blue

Polyommatus icarus

Northern Brown Argus

Aricia artaxerxes (ssp salmacis)


The Metalmarks (Family Riodinidae )

Duke of Burgundy

Hamearis lucina (LBAP/UKBAP)