Conservation Status

This page describes various aspects of the conservation status of species regularly found in the British Isles.

UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)

The UK BAP is a UK Government initiative that commits to protection of "biological resources" that includes species and their habitats. A major review took place in 2007, resulting in many butterfly species being added to the list. Species-specific BAPs are created at both a national and local level. Those species with BAPs are listed below - click on a name to see a PDF file representing the BAP for that species. BAP information has been taken from the UK BAP Website at jncc.defra.gov.uk.

Occurrence (Distribution) and Abundance (Population) Trends

The tables below show the occurrence (distribution) and abundance (population) trends of species regularly found in the British Isles. The information provided is taken from The State of the UK's Butterflies 2015 (Fox, 2015). Any UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).

Species Sorted by Occurrence Change 1976-2014

SpeciesOccurrence Change
1976-2014
High Brown Fritillary -96
Pearl-bordered Fritillary -95
Wood White -89
Duke of Burgundy -84
Marsh Fritillary -79
Lulworth Skipper -78
Wall -77
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary -76
Heath Fritillary -68
Glanville Fritillary -66
Silver-studded Blue -64
Mountain Ringlet -63
Grayling -62
Black Hairstreak -61
Dingy Skipper -61
Large Heath -58
Small Heath -57
Swallowtail -56
Grizzled Skipper -53
Chalk Hill Blue -50
Brown Hairstreak -49
Purple Emperor -47
White-letter Hairstreak -45
Chequered Skipper -44
Small Blue -44
Dark Green Fritillary -33
Green Hairstreak -30
Purple Hairstreak -30
Northern Brown Argus -27
White Admiral -25
Common Blue -17
Scotch Argus -17
Small Copper -16
Small Tortoiseshell -15
Large Skipper -12
Small White -8
Small Skipper -7
Adonis Blue -6
Large White -3
Meadow Brown -3
Green-veined White +5
Orange-tip +8
Silver-spotted Skipper +10
Painted Lady +14
Gatekeeper +15
Peacock +16
Brimstone +20
Red Admiral +25
Marbled White +29
Holly Blue +39
Silver-washed Fritillary +56
Comma +57
Ringlet +63
Speckled Wood +71
Clouded Yellow +84
Essex Skipper +104
Brown Argus +115
Cryptic Wood WhiteInsufficient Data
Large BlueInsufficient Data
Large TortoiseshellInsufficient Data

Species Sorted by Abundance Change 1976-2014

SpeciesAbundance Change
1976-2014
White-letter Hairstreak -96
Essex Skipper -88
Wood White -88
Heath Fritillary -87
Wall -87
Lulworth Skipper -76
Small Skipper -75
Small Tortoiseshell -73
Pearl-bordered Fritillary -71
High Brown Fritillary -62
White Admiral -59
Grayling -58
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary -58
Black Hairstreak -54
Purple Hairstreak -54
Small Heath -54
Northern Brown Argus -52
Duke of Burgundy -42
Glanville Fritillary -42
Gatekeeper -41
Green Hairstreak -41
Grizzled Skipper -37
Small Copper -37
Large White -30
Brown Argus -25
Small White -25
Dingy Skipper -19
Common Blue -17
Large Skipper -17
Brown Hairstreak -15
Marsh Fritillary -10
Green-veined White -7
Brimstone +1
Meadow Brown +1
Small Blue +9
Orange-tip +10
Peacock +17
Silver-studded Blue +19
Chalk Hill Blue +20
Holly Blue +37
Marbled White +50
Purple Emperor +69
Speckled Wood +84
Swallowtail +88
Painted Lady +133
Silver-washed Fritillary +141
Comma +150
Scotch Argus +170
Adonis Blue +175
Dark Green Fritillary +186
Red Admiral +257
Large Heath +261
Ringlet +381
Clouded Yellow +734
Silver-spotted Skipper +943
Large Blue +1440
Chequered SkipperInsufficient Data
Cryptic Wood WhiteInsufficient Data
Large TortoiseshellInsufficient Data
Mountain RingletInsufficient Data

Species Sorted by Occurrence Change 2005-2014

SpeciesOccurrence Change
2005-2014
White-letter Hairstreak -41
Northern Brown Argus -36
Wall -36
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary -25
Wood White -25
Cryptic Wood White -23
Marsh Fritillary -22
Clouded Yellow -19
Mountain Ringlet -19
Grayling -18
Scotch Argus -18
High Brown Fritillary -16
Painted Lady -16
Purple Hairstreak -15
Green Hairstreak -14
White Admiral -14
Swallowtail -13
Adonis Blue -12
Heath Fritillary -12
Holly Blue -12
Black Hairstreak -11
Small Heath -7
Large Heath -5
Orange-tip -4
Meadow Brown -2
Green-veined White -1
Small Skipper -1
Small Blue 0
Common Blue +1
Gatekeeper +1
Red Admiral +1
Brown Argus +2
Large White +2
Duke of Burgundy +3
Essex Skipper +3
Peacock +3
Pearl-bordered Fritillary +3
Speckled Wood +3
Small Copper +5
Grizzled Skipper +7
Silver-spotted Skipper +7
Small White +7
Brown Hairstreak +8
Chalk Hill Blue +8
Glanville Fritillary +10
Comma +11
Large Skipper +12
Small Tortoiseshell +13
Brimstone +14
Chequered Skipper +18
Silver-studded Blue +19
Dingy Skipper +21
Ringlet +21
Lulworth Skipper +23
Marbled White +26
Dark Green Fritillary +44
Silver-washed Fritillary +55
Purple Emperor +135
Large BlueInsufficient Data
Large TortoiseshellInsufficient Data

Species Sorted by Abundance Change 2005-2014

SpeciesAbundance Change
2005-2014
Glanville Fritillary -88
Black Hairstreak -87
Painted Lady -84
Heath Fritillary -79
White-letter Hairstreak -77
Essex Skipper -66
Marsh Fritillary -64
Holly Blue -61
Brown Hairstreak -58
Clouded Yellow -57
Large Heath -49
White Admiral -45
Gatekeeper -44
Adonis Blue -43
Red Admiral -40
Purple Emperor -35
Green Hairstreak -34
Comma -28
Large White -28
Small Blue -27
Wall -25
Large Blue -20
Small Copper -19
Wood White -18
Meadow Brown -15
Brown Argus -11
Purple Hairstreak -10
Silver-studded Blue -9
Brimstone -1
Grizzled Skipper 0
High Brown Fritillary 0
Common Blue +1
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary +3
Speckled Wood +4
Northern Brown Argus +6
Silver-washed Fritillary +6
Small White +9
Grayling +10
Silver-spotted Skipper +12
Dark Green Fritillary +18
Small Heath +18
Peacock +21
Large Skipper +23
Scotch Argus +24
Marbled White +25
Small Skipper +27
Swallowtail +30
Lulworth Skipper +39
Pearl-bordered Fritillary +45
Chalk Hill Blue +55
Orange-tip +59
Duke of Burgundy +67
Dingy Skipper +69
Green-veined White +72
Ringlet +72
Small Tortoiseshell +146
Chequered SkipperInsufficient Data
Cryptic Wood WhiteInsufficient Data
Large TortoiseshellInsufficient Data
Mountain RingletInsufficient Data