Taxonomic Listing

The taxonomy of butterflies (their classification) is constructed by considering a number of characteristics. These characteristics are used in the descriptions of the taxa included in this website, which have been derived from several key references, namely Ford (1945a), Higgins (1975), Ackery (1984) and Emmet (1990). These characteristics include:

Alignment with Agassiz (2013)

The taxonomy of the butterflies of the British Isles is defined in Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles; Agassiz (2013). The UK Butterflies website builds on this checklist and any differences are noted here. In addition, we include a summary of authorities that first described the taxa in the checklist.

Like its predecessors, Bradley & Bradley (2000) and Bradley & Fletcher (1979), the most recent checklist provides a unique reference for each species, which also implies a sequence, where the more primitive species are listed first. Appendix B of the checklist also includes questionable species and these are included on UK Butterflies also. However, no unique reference is provided for these, and so one has been provided here with the suffix "UKB" and the species placed in an appropriate taxonomic position.

Key to Forms

Sexual dimorphism
Seasonal dimorphism

FamilySubfamilyTribeGenusSubgenusSpeciesSubspeciesFormVernacular NameNumber
PapilionidaeParnassiinaeLuehdorfiiniZerynthiaZerynthiarumina  Spanish Festoon56.0001
PapilionidaeParnassiinaeLuehdorfiiniZerynthiaZerynthiapolyxena  Southern Festoon56.0002
PapilionidaeParnassiinaeParnassiiniParnassius phoebus  Small Apollo56.0003
PapilionidaeParnassiinaeParnassiiniParnassius apollo  Apollo56.001
PapilionidaePapilioninaeGraphiiniIphiclides podalirius  Scarce Swallowtail56.002
PapilionidaePapilioninaePapilioniniPapilio machaonssp. britannicus Swallowtail56.003
PapilionidaePapilioninaePapilioniniPapiliomachaonssp. gorganus   
PapilionidaePapilioninaePapilioniniPapilio glaucus  Tiger Swallowtail56.0031
HesperiidaePyrginae Erynnis tagesssp. tages Dingy Skipper57.001
HesperiidaePyrginaeErynnistagesssp. baynesi   
HesperiidaePyrginae Carcharodus alceae  Mallow Skipper57.0011
HesperiidaePyrginae Pyrgus malvae  Grizzled Skipper57.002
HesperiidaePyrginae Pyrgus armoricanus  Oberthür's Grizzled Skipper57.0021
HesperiidaeHeteropterinae Heteropterus morpheus  Large Chequered Skipper57.003
HesperiidaeHeteropterinae Carterocephalus palaemon  Chequered Skipper57.004
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Thymelicus lineola  Essex Skipper57.005
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Thymelicus sylvestris  Small Skipper57.006
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Thymelicus acteon  Lulworth Skipper57.007
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Hylephila phyleus  Fiery Skipper57.0071
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Hesperia comma  Silver-spotted Skipper57.008
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Saliana longirostris  Shy Saliana57.0081
HesperiidaeHesperiinae Ochlodes sylvanus  Large Skipper57.009
PieridaeDismorphiinaeLeptideiniLeptidea sinapis  Wood White58.001
PieridaeDismorphiinaeLeptideiniLeptidea juvernica  Cryptic Wood White58.002
PieridaePierinaeAnthochariniAnthocharis cardaminesssp. britannica Orange-tip58.003
PieridaePierinaeAnthochariniAnthochariscardaminesssp. hibernica   
PieridaePierinaeAnthochariniEuchloe simplonia  Dappled White58.004
PieridaePierinaePieriniAporia crataegi  Black-veined White58.005
PieridaePierinaePieriniPieris brassicae  Large White58.006
PieridaePierinaePieriniPieris rapae  Small White58.007
PieridaePierinaePieriniPieris napissp. sabellicae Green-veined White58.008
PieridaePierinaePieriniPierisnapissp. britannica   
PieridaePierinaePieriniPierisnapissp. thomsoni   
PieridaePierinaePieriniPontia daplidice  Bath White58.009
PieridaeColiadinaeColiadiniColias croceus f. croceusClouded Yellow58.010
PieridaeColiadinaeColiadiniColiascroceus f. helice  
PieridaeColiadinaeColiadiniColias palaeno  Moorland Clouded Yellow58.010.UKB
PieridaeColiadinaeColiadiniColias hyale  Pale Clouded Yellow58.011
PieridaeColiadinaeColiadiniColias alfacariensis  Berger's Clouded Yellow58.012
PieridaeColiadinaeGonepteryginiGonepteryx rhamnissp. rhamni Brimstone58.013
PieridaeColiadinaeGonepteryginiGonepteryxrhamnissp. gravesi   
PieridaeColiadinaeGonepteryginiGonepteryx cleopatra  Cleopatra58.014
NymphalidaeDanainaeDanainiDanaus plexippus  Monarch59.001
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeElymniiniLasiommata megera  Wall59.002
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeElymniiniLasiommata maera  Large Wall59.0021
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeElymniiniPararge aegeriassp. tircis Speckled Wood59.003
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeElymniiniParargeaegeriassp. oblita   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeElymniiniParargeaegeriassp. insula   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeCoenonymphiniCoenonympha tulliassp. davus Large Heath59.004
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeCoenonymphiniCoenonymphatulliassp. polydama   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeCoenonymphiniCoenonymphatulliassp. scotica   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeCoenonymphiniCoenonympha pamphilusssp. pamphilus Small Heath59.005
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeCoenonymphiniCoenonymphapamphilusssp. rhoumensis   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebia ligea  Arran Brown59.006
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebia epiphronssp. mnemon Mountain Ringlet59.007
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebiaepiphronssp. scotica   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebia aethiopsssp. aethiops Scotch Argus59.008
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebiaaethiopsssp. caledonia   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeErebiiniErebia alberganus  Almond-eyed Ringlet59.0081
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniAphantopus hyperantus  Ringlet59.009
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniManiola jurtinassp. splendida Meadow Brown59.010
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniManiolajurtinassp. cassiteridum   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniManiolajurtinassp. iernes   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniManiolajurtinassp. insularis   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeManioliniPyronia tithonusssp. britanniae Gatekeeper59.011
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeMelanargiiniMelanargia galatheassp. serena Marbled White59.012
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. semele Grayling59.013
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. scota   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. thyone   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. atlantica   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. clarensis   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaParahipparchiasemelessp. hibernica   
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniHipparchiaHipparchiafagi  Woodland Grayling59.0131
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniArethusana arethusa  False Grayling59.0132
NymphalidaeSatyrinaeSatyriniChazara briseis  Hermit59.0133
NymphalidaeMorphinaeBrassoliniCaligo illioneus  Illioneus Giant Owl59.0134
NymphalidaeMorphinaeBrassoliniOpsiphanes tamarindi  Tamarindi Owlet59.0135
NymphalidaeMorphinaeBrassoliniOpsiphanes cassiae  Cassia's Owl-butterfly59.0136
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeHeliconiiniDryas julia  Julia59.0137
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniBoloriaClossianaeuphrosyne  Pearl-bordered Fritillary59.014
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniBoloriaClossianaselene  Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary59.015
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniBoloriaClossianadia  Weaver's Fritillary59.0151
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniIssoriaIssorialathonia  Queen of Spain Fritillary59.016
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisArgynnispaphia f. paphiaSilver-washed Fritillary59.017
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisArgynnispaphia f. valesina  
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisPandorianapandora  Mediterranean Fritillary59.018
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisMesoacidaliaaglaja  Dark Green Fritillary59.019
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisFabricianaadippe  High Brown Fritillary59.020
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisFabriciananiobe  Niobe Fritillary59.020.UKB
NymphalidaeHeliconiinaeArgynniniArgynnisSpeyeriacybele  Great Spangled Fritillary59.0201
NymphalidaeLimenitidinaeLimenitidiniLimenitis camilla  White Admiral59.021
NymphalidaeApaturinaeApaturiniApatura iris  Purple Emperor59.022
NymphalidaeApaturinaeApaturiniApatura ilia f. iliaLesser Purple Emperor59.022.UKB
NymphalidaeApaturinaeApaturiniApaturailia f. clytie  
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniColobura dirce  Zebra59.0221
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniVanessa atalanta  Red Admiral59.023
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniVanessa cardui  Painted Lady59.024
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniVanessa virginiensis  American Painted Lady59.025
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniVanessa indica  Indian Red Admiral59.0251
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniHypanartia lethe  Small Brown Shoemaker59.0252
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniAglais io  Peacock59.026
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniAglais urticae  Small Tortoiseshell59.027
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniNymphalis antiopa  Camberwell Beauty59.028
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniNymphalis polychloros  Large Tortoiseshell59.029
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniNymphalis xanthomelas  Scarce Tortoiseshell59.030
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniPolygonia c-album f. c-albumComma59.031
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniPolygoniac-album f. hutchinsoni  
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniAraschnia levana f. levanaMap59.032
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeNymphaliniAraschnialevana f. prorsa  
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeJunoniiniJunonia oenone  Blue Pansy59.0321
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeJunoniiniJunonia villida  Albin's Hampstead Eye59.0321.UKB
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeMelitaeiniEuphydryas aurinia  Marsh Fritillary59.033
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeMelitaeiniMelitaea cinxia  Glanville Fritillary59.034
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeMelitaeiniMelitaea didyma  Spotted Fritillary59.035
NymphalidaeNymphalinaeMelitaeiniMelitaea athalia  Heath Fritillary59.036
RiodinidaeRiodininaeHameariniHamearis lucina  Duke of Burgundy60.001
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena phlaeasssp. eleus Small Copper61.001
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaenaphlaeasssp. hibernica   
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena disparssp. dispar Large Copper61.002
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaenadisparssp. rutilus   
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaenadisparssp. batavus   
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena virgaureae  Scarce Copper61.002.UKB
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena tityrus  Sooty Copper61.0022
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena alciphronssp. gordius Purple-shot Copper61.0023
LycaenidaeLycaeninaeLycaeniniLycaena hippothoe  Purple-edged Copper61.0023.UKB
LycaenidaeTheclinaeThecliniThecla betulae  Brown Hairstreak61.003
LycaenidaeTheclinaeThecliniFavonius quercus  Purple Hairstreak61.004
LycaenidaeTheclinaeThecliniStrymon melinus  Gray Hairstreak61.0041
LycaenidaeTheclinaeThecliniRapala maneassp. schistacea Slate Flash61.0041.UKB
LycaenidaeTheclinaeEumaeiniCallophrys rubi  Green Hairstreak61.005
LycaenidaeTheclinaeEumaeiniSatyrium w-album  White-letter Hairstreak61.006
LycaenidaeTheclinaeEumaeiniSatyrium pruni  Black Hairstreak61.007
LycaenidaeTheclinaeEumaeiniSatyrium spini  Blue Spot Hairstreak61.007.UKB
LycaenidaeTheclinaeEumaeiniSatyrium ilicis  Ilex Hairstreak61.007.UKB
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniLampides boeticus  Long-tailed Blue61.008
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniCacyreus marshalli  Geranium Bronze61.0081
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniLeptotes pirithous  Lang's Short-tailed Blue61.009
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniCupidoCupidominimus  Small Blue61.010
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniCupidoEveresargiades  Short-tailed Blue61.011
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniCelastrina argiolusssp. britanna Holly Blue61.012
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniMaculinea arionssp. arion Large Blue61.013
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniMaculineaarionssp. eutyphron   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniGlaucopsyche alexis  Green-underside Blue61.0131
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPlebejus argusssp. argus Silver-studded Blue61.014
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPlebejusargusssp. cretaceus   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPlebejusargusssp. masseyi   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPlebejusargusssp. caernensis   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniAricia agestis  Brown Argus61.015
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniAricia artaxerxesssp. artaxerxes Northern Brown Argus61.016
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniAriciaartaxerxesssp. salmacis   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniCyaniris semiargus  Mazarine Blue61.017
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPolyommatusPolyommatusicarusssp. icarus Common Blue61.018
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPolyommatusPolyommatusicarusssp. mariscolore   
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPolyommatusPolyommatusdorylas  Turquoise Blue61.018.UKB
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPolyommatusLysandrabellargus  Adonis Blue61.019
LycaenidaePolyommatinaePolyommatiniPolyommatusLysandracoridon  Chalk Hill Blue61.020