There are said to be sixty different species of British Butterflies, but as a matter of fact, quite a number of these species are, for all practical purposes, extinct. The examples given herewith comprise the most common on the countryside.

As it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between moths and butterflies, the following rules will help to differentiate: I. Butterflies have clubbed antennae—that is, the feelers are thread-like, with a bulb at the top. ii. Butterflies usually hold their antennae erect when at rest. Moths generally slide them under the wings. iii. Butterflies usually raise their wings, and place them together when at rest. Moths generally place the fore wings over the hind wings, and keep them flat. iv. Butterflies fly by day, but moths fly by day and by night. Admiral. Red A dmiral.

A very beautiful butterfly, chiefly black, but with four irregular bars of red, and a number of white spots on the upper surface. On the underside, a mottled brown with white spots and red bars on the fore wing. This species is quite common, especially in August and September. The nettle is the food plant of the caterpillar.

The White Admiral is only slightly related to the above. The colouring is mainly black, but there are two broken bars of white, and a number of white spots on the upper surface. Below it is brown mottled with white, and there are a few blackish brown spots. It is found with fair frequency in the woods of South England, in June and July. The chief food plant is the honeysuckle.


There are numerous varieties of the Blue Butterfly, but the best known is the Common Blue. This is, in fact, the com- monest of all blue butterflies, although it is liable to many variations of colour. Generally, the male is a violet blue with a white edging above, and below it is a pale yellowish-brown with white rings encircling black dots. The female is a darkish brown with a blue tinge. The margin is composed of orange dots. Below, it is the same as the male. It is common between May and October. The food plant is the birdsfoot trefoil.

Other varieties of the Blue Butterfly are the Chalk, Clif-den, or Adonis, Silver Studded Blue and the Small Blue.


This species can be identified by its shape. Each wing is pointed and not rounded at the tip. The male is a sulphur yellow, and the female is a shade lighter in hue. Each bears four bright red spots on the upper surface. This butterfly is quite common throughout the summer. The food plant is the buckthorn.


There are eight or nine varieties of this well-known species of Butterfly, the best known being the Dark Green Fritillary. The upper surface of this variety is a warm brown, with countless dark brown spots. Its under surface, however, provides the best clue to identity. There are greenish patches on the lower wings and a marginal row of silver spots. It haunts the open, sunny spaces of England in July and August and is fairly common. The food plant is the violet.

Silver Washed Fritillary.

The largest fritillary of all. The upper surface is a golden brown with numerous large dots of chocolate, and a sheen of olive-brown close to where the wings join the body. The upper face has fore wings of golden brown with deeper brown spots, whilst the lower wings are green with wavy patches of silvery white. It is common in late July and early August. The food plants are violets, nettles and the raspberry.

Other varieties are The Duhe of Burgundy, Glanville, Greasy or

Marsh, Heath, High Brown, Small Pearl Bordered, Pearl Bordered.

Meadow Brown.

The upper surface is a dusky brown, and there is a black eye spot ou the fore wing. In addition, the female has a blotch of orauge around the eye spot. Beneath, the fore wing is a mottled orange-brown with a dark eye spot, and the hind wing is a mottled brown. This is a very common species, found all tluough the summer. Grasses are the food plants.

Painted Lady.

A very beautiful butterfly, large, and by no means rare. The upper surface has a ground colour of red, often a brick red, and on this are several patches of black and a few of white. The latter appear on the tips of the fore wings. The under face is mottled with red, black and white, and there is a greenish brown mottling. It is found in late summer and sometimes in May and June. The food plants are thistles, nettles and mallow.


It is impossible to confuse this species with any other if the following points are noted: There is a large black spot on each wing, made up of several brilliant colours, and the ground colour of the upper face is a beautiful shade of soft chocolate-red. Below, the wings are a deep mottled brown. This butterfly is quite common in the spring and summer. The food plant is the nettle.

Purple Emperor.

A very beautiful butterfly. It is a deep brown, almost black, with a few white spots on the fore wings and a coloured eye spot on the hind wings. The mate has, in addition, an attractive blue-purple sheen almost covering the upper side. Below, it is a lightish brown; marbled with blue and white, and there is a large eye spot on on each fore wing. It is fairly common in July, but is becoming rare. The food plants are the poplar and sallow.


There are five varieties of this common species:

Dingy Skipper,.-—A small brown butterfly of slight attraction. The ground colour is a dingy brown with dark mottled bars of brown crossing the wings. It is plentiful in the south, but less so in other parts; in May, June, and sometimes in’August. The food plant is birdsfood trefoil.

Essex Skipper.

A small butterfly as the above, but the ground colour is a warm golden brown, and there is a decided edging of dark brown on the wings on the upper face. It is common in July and August. The food plants are grasses.

Grizzled Skipper.

A small butterfly as the above, but is distinct in so far that it is a brownish black with a mass of whitish yellow spots, sufficient to give the upper surface a chequered appearance. It is by no means rare. The best months to hunt it are from May to July. The food plants are the raspberry and blackberry.

Large Skipper.

Slightly larger than the above, but still not large in comparison with other butterflies. The upper side is orange-brown, upon which are patches of a slightly darker brown. This darker colouring is also found around the edges. The under side is a rich yellow. The male has a streak of deep brown on each fore wing on the upper face. It is very common in June and part of July. The fond plants are grasses.

Small Skipper.

A trifle smaller than the foregoing, more coppery-coloured above, and more orange-coloured below; otherwise the same, even to the streak on the male. The food plants are grasses. ¦

Swallow Tail.

This species is growing rare. It is well known by its beautiful shape, which includes a pointed tail. The ground colour is yellow, upon which are several black patches, also streaks of brown and blue, and a small spot of red on each hind wing. The food plants are fennel and wild carrot.


There are two kinds, the large and the small. The former is a reddish-brown with brown, black, yellow and blue marks. The brown marks are by far the most conspicuous, and they form the edging to the wings. The under face is brown with marks resembling watered ¦ silk. The food plant is the nettle.

The Small Tortoiseshell is often as large as the Large Tortoiseshell, but it may bo distinguished by the two small white patches on the tips of the fore wings. These are not found in the Large Tdrtoiseshell. Also, there is a patch of grey-brown on either side of the body which ends with a sharp outline. This is also absent on the large variety. The Large 1’ortoiscshell is neither common nor rare, but the small one is quite common throughout the sunny weather. . White.

There are several butterflies which are white in colour, and this is confusing, as all possess many features in common. The following particulars will help to identify each kind :

Black-Veined White.

Rare, seldom seen. Large. Each vein marked out with a black line. Food plants—hawthorn, sloe, etc.

Green-Veined White.

Fairly common. Size, as for Small While, which it resembles, except that the veins are marked in green, especially on the under side. The food plants are Crucifercs.

Large While.

Very common. Large. Black tip to each upper wing. Two black spots on each upper wing; sometimes these are very indistinct. Lower wing on under side is yellow. Food plants are cabbage and nasturtium.

Small White.

Very common. Not so large as the above. The tip of each upper wing in grey and not black. Otherwise as for the Large While. The food plants are cabbage, nasturtium and turnip.

Wood White.

Becoming rare. Size, as for Small White. The dark tip to each upper wing is almost circular, while, in previous cases, it was nearly triangular. The food plants are tufted vetch and birdsfoot trefoil.

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