Scottish Priority Species

We need your help

Chequered Skippers - Andrew Cooper
Chequered Skippers - Andrew Cooper

Scotland only has 37 butterfly species but just over 1500 different moths comprising around 960 micro-moths and 560 macro-moths.  It is obviously important, particularly given our limited resources, to ensure that we focus our efforts, (staff, volunteer and monetary), on those species deemed in most need of action. 

As part of Butterfly Conservation's 2021-2026 strategy, 71 species have been identified UK-wide as a priority for action. Of these species, 27 occur (or have occurred) in Scotland.  

We have been working on many of these species for several years and many are former UKBAP and current Scottish Biodiversity List (SBL) species.  However, a number have not previously been prioritised for action in Scotland. This particularly applies to the micros which are under-represented on the SBL list, but increased recording has allowed us to more accurately assess their status and thus determine if they are in need of conservation action.

For some of these species, we are aiming to improve their fortunes in Scotland by actively carrying out conservation work. For others, we wish to find out more about their ecology and status so that we can begin conservation work, if required. 

Please click on each species below to find out more about our activities and how you can help! 

(More species links will become active in the coming months). 

Northern Brown Argus (underwing/ssp salmacis) - Iain Leach
Northern Brown Argus - Iain Leach




  • Choreutis diana (Affric Twitcher)
  • Periclepsis cinctana (Tiree Twist)
    Tiree Twist moth on a blade of grass
    Tiree Twist - Nigel Voaden
  • Eana argentana (Silver Shade)
  • Depressaria olerella
  • Anacampsis temerella
  • Lampronia capitella (Currant Shoot Borer) & Lampronia pubicornis

    *Not a species of focus under the current strategy but a rare and threatened butterfly in Scotland which we are currently taking substantial action for 

    Work is also taking place for other species, right across Scotland. Please contact us if you would like to know more, or if there are sites under threat that we should know about @email