The female is larger than the male with slightly different markings, has a paler colour and does not have feathered antennae (unlike the male). Northern or upland examples are more intensely coloured, with the female bluish-grey. The adult females fly at night when they occasionally come to light, usually early in the night.
Wings are bright blue. Females have black wing edges. Undersides pale blue with small black spots which distinguish them from Common Blue.
The Holly Blue is easily identified in early spring, as it emerges well before other blue butterflies. It tends to fly high around bushes and trees, whereas other grassland blues usually stay near ground level. It is much the commonest blue found in parks and gardens where it congregates around Holly (in spring) and Ivy (in late summer).
This is the largest and rarest of our blue butterflies, distinguished by the unmistakable row of black spots on its upper forewing. Undersides are pale brown with black spots. The Large Blue is one of the most enigmatic butterflies, whose remarkable life cycle involves spending most of the year within the nests of red ants, where the larvae feed on ant grubs.
The Large Blue has always been rare in Britain and became extinct in 1979, but it has been reintroduced from continental Europe as part of a long-term and highly successful conservation project.
The Peacock's spectacular pattern of eyespots, evolved to startle or confuse predators, make it one of the most easily recognized and best known species. It is from these wing markings that the butterfly gained its common name. Undersides of the wings are very dark and look like dead leaves. A fairly large butterfly and a strong flyer.
Males blue with dark border. Females brown with row of red spots. Undersides brown-grey with black spots, a row of orange spots, and small greenish flecks on outer margin. Males similar to Common Blue, which lacks greenish spots.
Our smallest resident butterfly is easily overlooked, partly because of its size and dusky colouring, but partly because it is often confined to small patches of sheltered grassland where its sole foodplant, Kidney Vetch, is found.
Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, commonly found in gardens.
The Small Tortoiseshell is among the most well known butterflies in Britain and Ireland. The striking and attractive patterning, and its appearance at almost any time of the year in urban areas have made it a familiar species. It is one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring and in the autumn it often visits garden flowers in large numbers.
The Small Tortoiseshell is one of our most widespread species and has shown little overall change in range.