Here are 2020's earliest sightings of resident and common migrant butterflies, as reported to Butterfly Conservation.

Please remember that Government restrictions on making journeys to see and record butterflies vary in different parts of the UK at present. Please see our latest guidance. As many sites in the countryside could not be visited due to coronavirus restrictions, the first dates of some species may be later than their flight period actually started.

Heath Fritillary, Silver-studded Blue and Northern Brown Argus are the latest species to emerge in 2020.

To count as first sightings, butterflies must be seen outside and be active (i.e. not in hibernation). If you are confident that you've seen a butterfly species in the UK this year that has not yet been reported below, please contact @email. You can follow all the latest sightings, as they happen, on Twitter @RichardFoxBC or on Butterfly Conservation's Facebook page.

If you would like to get involved with butterfly recording, not just for first sightings, but to contribute to our assessments of UK trends and to underpin conservation, you can download our free recording app or find out how to take part.

Last update: 22 May 2020

Vernacular name Scientific name Date Location
Swallowtail  Papilio machaon 8 May Norfolk
Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages 9 April Kent
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae 31 March Sussex
Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon 6 May Highland
Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola    
Small Skipper  Thymelicus sylvestris    
Lulworth Skipper  Thymelicus acteon 6 May Dorset
Silver-spotted Skipper  Hesperia comma    
Large Skipper  Ochlodes sylvanus 22 April Somerset
Wood White  Leptidea sinapis 19 April Dorset
Cryptic Wood White  Leptidea juvernica 20 April Co. Armagh
Orange-tip  Anthocharis cardamines 22 March Nottinghamshire & Surrey
Large White  Pieris brassicae 10 Jan Hertfordshire
Small White  Pieris rapae 26 Feb Wiltshire
Green-veined White  Pieris napi 6 March Worcestershire
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus 24 April Kent
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni 4 Jan Cambridgeshire
Wall  Lasiommata megera 8 April Cornwall & Dorset
Speckled Wood  Pararge aegeria 16 March Isles of Scilly
Large Heath  Coenonympha tullia    
Small Heath  Coenonympha pamphilus 15 April Sussex
Mountain Ringlet Erebia epiphron    
Scotch Argus Erebia aethiops    
Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus    
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina 22 April Cambridgeshire
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus    
Marbled White Melanargia galathea    
Grayling Hipparchia semele    
Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria euphrosyne 15 April Devon
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene 2 May Glamorgan
Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia    
Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja    
High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe    
White Admiral Limenitis camilla    
Purple Emperor Apatura iris    
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 1 Jan Conwy
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui 21 Jan Gloucestershire
Peacock Aglais io 1 Jan Conwy, Somerset & Yorkshire
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae 1 Jan Northamptonshire
Comma Polygonia c-album 4 Jan Buckinghamshire
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia 23 April Wiltshire
Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia 4 May Isle of Wight
Heath Fritillary Melitaea athalia 16 May Devon
Duke of Burgundy  Hamearis lucina 16 April Buckinghamshire
Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas 24 March Dorset
Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae    
Purple Hairstreak Favonius quercus    
Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi 5 April Derbyshire & Kent
White-letter Hairstreak Satyrium w-album    
Black Hairstreak Satyrium pruni    
Small Blue  Cupido minimus 21 April Dorset
Holly Blue  Celastrina argiolus 8 Jan Hertfordshire
Large Blue  Maculinea arion    
Silver-studded Blue  Plebejus argus 20 May Cornwall
Brown Argus  Aricia agestis 19 April Dorset
Northern Brown Argus  Aricia artaxerxes 20 May Yorkshire
Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus 22 April Northants & Somerset
Adonis Blue  Polyommatus bellargus 26 April Kent
Chalk Hill Blue  Polyommatus coridon