Peak District Butterflies

This is a list of butterflies that can be found in the Peak District compiled from our records. The list is currently being expanded to include more information and pictures.

Small Skipper - click here for a bigger picture

Small Skipper
(Thymelicus sylvestris)

Common and widespread resident. More information.

Large Skipper - click here for a bigger picture

Large Skipper
(Ochlodes faunus)

Common and widespread resident. More information.

Dingy Skipper - click here for more information

Dingy Skipper
(Erynnis tages)

Widespread in the White Peak where it is reasonably common in sheltered areas of short limestone grassland in dales and quarries where bird's-foot trefoil, the larval food plant is present. Usually emerges in early-mid May depending on the weather and remains on the wing until mid- or late July. A second brood occurs exceptionally: individuals were seen in August 1996 and 2003. Formerly occurred in the Dark Peak, where last recorded in 1929 in the Goyt Valley. More information.

Grizzled Skipper butterfly Grizzled Skipper
(Pyrgus malvae)

Formerly occurred at a few sites in the White Peak and last seen around 1950. The larval food plant, wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is still widespread.

Chequered Skipper Chequered Skipper (Cartocephalus palaemon)

One seen at Longshaw in 1992 must have been a release.

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow
(Colias croceus)

An irregular migrant. A few are recorded in most years, with the last year of abundance being 1983. There were above average numbers in 1996 and 2000. Usually seen between mid-June and October.

Brimstone - click here for more information

Brimstone
(Gonepteryx rhamni)

A fairly common resident in the White Peak, seen in much smaller numbers in the Dark Peak. More information.

Large White

Large White
(Pieris brassicae)

A widespread and highly mobile resident that occurs in a wide range of habitats. Double-brooded and in most years seen between the end of April and early October.

Small White

Small White
(Pieris rapae)

A widespread resident, occurring in a wide range of habitats. Double-brooded and seen from April to early October.

Green-veined White - click here for more information

Green-veined White
(Pieris napi)

A common and widespread resident in both Dark and White Peak. More information.

Orange Tip - click here for more information

Orange Tip
(Anthocharis cardamines)

A common and widespread resident in various habitats. More information.

Green Hairstreak - click here for more information

Green Hairstreak
(Callophrys rubi)

Common and widespread in the Dark Peak, which represents a regional stronghold for the species. It occurs in almost all sheltered areas with bilberry and reaches 500m in the deeper cloughs. Also found in smaller numbers in the limestone dales of the White Peak. Usually emerges in late April or early May and remains on the wing until mid-June, very exceptionally into July. More information.

Purple Hairstreak - click here for more information

Purple Hairstreak
(Favonius quercus)

First recorded in 1995 at sites on the SW and NE edges of the Peak District. Since then it has colonised many other sites, mostly upland sessile oakwoods, reaching 300m on the moorland edge. At some sites there is evidence of expansion into smaller clusters of oaks. More information.

White-letter Hairstreak butterfly - click here for more information.

White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)

A rather scarce resident, but probably partially overlooked. More information.

Small Copper - click here for more information

Small Copper
(Lycaena phlaeas)

Widespread but generally recorded in small numbers in a range of habitats including limestone dales, rough pastures and acid grassland. Double-brooded at most sites and usually seen May-September, exceptionally into October. More information.

Brown Argus - click here for more information

Brown Argus
(Aricia agestis)

Widespread resident in the White Peak in short limestone grassland where its larval food plant, rock rose (Helianthemum nummularium) grows. Sometimes considered as a population of Northern Brown Argus (A. artaxerxes) but now generally regarded as a univoltine form of Brown Argus and recorded as Brown Argus (Peak District Race). Flies between mid-June and early September. A small second brood was noted in 1999. More information.

Small Blue - click here for more information Small Blue
(Cupido minimus)

Fairly common in limestone areas until the early part of the 20th century and apparently disappeared around 1915. Seen in the Manifold valley in 1979, at two sites in the Derbyshire Dales NNR in 1986, and a site near Buxton in 1993-94 and 1996. A maximum of 8 was recorded in 1993. More information.

Common Blue butterfly (female)

Common Blue
(Polyommatus icarus)

A widespread and common resident of the White Peak, numerous in the dales. Also occurs in smaller numbers in the gritstone and shale areas. Recorded between mid-June and mid-October. Second broods occur in some years. More information.

Holly Blue - click here for a bigger picture

Holly Blue
(Celastrina argiolus)

Local and very variable in numbers, due to cyclical fluctuations, and in some years very few are recorded. Double-brooded, with most seen April-May and July-August. Has been seen at isolated holly trees on moorland. More information.

White Admiral butterfly White Admiral
(Ladoga camilla)

A single record from Litton in the Wye Valley in 1995 is of unknown origin but is likely to have been released. More information.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral
(Vanessa atalanta)

A generally common and widespread annual migrant, breeding in a range of habitats. Frequently seen flying over the moors and feeding on heather in late summer. Recorded between May and October.

Painted Lady - click here for more information

Painted Lady
(Vanessa cardui)

An annual migrant in variable, usually small, numbers. More information.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell
(Aglais urticae)

A very common and widespread resident. Normally double-brooded. Adults emerge from hibernation in early spring and have been seen in January in very mild conditions. Usually remain on the wing until early October.

 

Camberwell Beauty
(Nymphalis antiopa)

A very rare migrant. One seen near Buxton in 1976, and a few in 1995 are the only recent records.

Peacock

Peacock
(Aglais io)

A widespread resident in variable numbers. Adults usually emerge from hibernation during March and peak numbers are recorded in July-August.

Comma

Comma
(Polygonia c-album)

A widespread but rather local resident. More information.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary - click here for a bigger picture

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)

Last seen in the 1970s in the south of the White Peak. More information.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary - click here for a bigger picture Pearl-bordered Fritillary
(Boloria euphrosyne)

The only recent record is from Lathkill Dale in 1977.

Dark Green Fritillary - click here for more information

Dark Green Fritillary
(Argynnis aglaja)

Resident and widespread in the White Peak, but usually in small numbers and the population fluctuates. Occasionally sighted in moorland areas where a potential larval food plant, Marsh Violet (Viola palustris), is common in flushes, though breeding has not yet been proved in this habitat. Generally flies between July and August but recorded between late June and early September. More information.

High Brown Fritillary - click here for more information High Brown Fritillary
(Argynnis adippe)

Last recorded in Dove Dale in 1918. More information.

Silver-washed Fritillary - click here for a bigger picture

Silver-washed Fritillary
(Argynnis paphia)

Has been occasionally recorded in the White Peak with the last records dating from the 1970s. More information.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood
(Pararge aegeria)

Colonised the Peak District over the last 20 years and is now a widespread resident. Double-brooded and recorded between April and September.

Wall

Wall
(Lasiommata megera)

Widespread but thinly distributed. Normally double-brooded with peak numbers seen in May-June and again in August-early September.

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper
(Pyronia tithonus)

Reached the Peak District in the early-mid 1990s and has since spread widely and is common in many places. Generally seen in hedgerows, tall grassland and scrub; also occurs in areas with bracken and tall vegetation on moorlands. Recorded from late June to early September with maximum numbers in July and August.

Meadow Brown - click here for a bigger picture

Meadow Brown
(Maniola jurtina)

A very common and widespread resident throughout the Peak District. More information.

Ringlet - click here for a bigger picture

Ringlet
(Aphantopus hyperantus)

Still rather rare with scattered records from the southern part of the Peak District, though expanding slowly northwards through Derbyshire. Seen from late June to late August. More information.

Small Heath - click here for more information

Small Heath
(Coenonympha pamphilus)

Very common and widespread in all parts of the Peak District in rough grassland areas. More information.

Large Heath - click here for a bigger picture Large Heath
(Coenonympha tullia)

There is only a single unconfirmed record from the Goyt Valley in 1947. This is somewhat surprising in view of the extent of apparently suitable habitat and its former widespread distribution on the Lancashire and Cheshire mosses, where its earlier abundance led to an alternative name of 'Manchester Argus'.

  Monarch
(Danaus plexippus)

A single record in 1978 from Bonsall Moor at the southern end of the Peak District.