Spring is in the air and the butterfly season is well underway. Orange-tips, Small Coppers, Holly Blues and Speckled Woods are all emerging to join the Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Brimstones that have awoken from their winter hibernation. As more and more species emerge and take to the wing, it can get increasingly difficult to identify the butterflies that you see. But don’t despair - help is at hand!

Butterfly Conservation’s new Smartphone app has just been launched. iRecord Butterflies, is completely free and is available for iOS and Android devices.

iRecord Butterflies will guide you through the identification of any butterfly than you see in the UK. You can compare you own photo with those from the app’s extensive image library, filter species by colour, pattern and size, and see distribution maps and identification tips for each butterfly species.

The iRecord Butterflies app is much more than just an aide to butterfly identification. It provides an easy, single-step route to contributing your butterfly sightings to Butterfly Conservation’s national recording scheme. Such sightings (termed ‘records’) provide the essential foundation for much-needed conservation work to help the UK’s declining butterflies.

Get the app for your iPhone from iTunes
Get the app for your Android device the Google Store

The national butterfly recording scheme has collected millions of sightings stretching back several centuries and these enable us to see how butterflies are faring and to target conservation effort at those most at risk of extinction. The records can also be used by scientists to understand the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues on our butterfly populations. The records underpin the management of important butterfly sites, help protect habitats through the planning system and enable Butterfly Conservation to produce regular State of the UK’s Butterflies reports, local and national atlases and Red Lists of priority species.

Simply by sending in some basic information about the butterflies that you enjoy watching, even if just from your garden, you can make a real contribution to their conservation. The new iRecord Butterflies app makes submitting you sightings really easy. Once you’ve identified the butterfly, simply enter a few simple pieces of information, such as the number that you saw and a place name (important so that the sightings can be checked on maps) and submit. The app will automatically calculate where you are (using the GPS in the Smartphone) and provide a grid reference for your sighting.

And if a personal recommendation helps persuade you, I’ve been using the new app all year so far and it has worked perfectly, even enabling me to record male Brimstone butterflies on a recent motorway journey (I wasn’t driving I hasten to add!).

So download the app onto your Smartphone and get out in the sunshine to see, enjoy, identify and record butterflies this year.

Get the app for your iPhone from iTunes
Get the app for your Android device the Google Store

Richard Fox
Surveys Manager
Follow me on Twitter: @RichardFoxBC