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 Butterfly Identification Guides

The following guides provide help with the identification of European butterfly species and are free to download as pdf's.
A guide to help distinguish between the following species: Brimstone [Gonepteryx rhamni], Powdered Brimstone [Gonepteryx farinosa],and Cleopatra [Gonepteryx cleopatra] ~ Download (3mb)
This guide helps to separate the Large and Medium Fritillaries from the Small Fritillaries (Boloria, Euphydryas and Melitaea). The following species are described in detail: Cardinal [Argynnis pandora], Silver-washed Fritillary [Argynnis paphia], Dark Green Fritillary [Speyeria aglaja], High Brown Fritillary [Fabriciana adippe], Niobe Fritillary [Fabriciana niobe], Queen of Spain Fritillary [Issoria lathonia], Marbled Fritillary [Brenthis daphne], Lesser Marbled Fritillary [Brenthis ino], Twin-spot Fritillary [Brenthis hecate], Corsican Fritillary [Fabriciana elisa], Pallas’s Fritillary [Argynnis laodice]
~ Download : high resolution (large file size - 16mb) or low resolution (small file size - 4mb)
This guide to Boloria is the first of three covering the Small Fritillaries. All fifteen species of Boloria are covered with an identification sequence taking you through a process of elimination and determination by habitat and distribution. Potentially difficult comparisons like Shepherd’s Fritillary [Boloria pales] and Mountain Fritillary [Boloria napaea] are dealt with in detail.
~ Download : high resolution (large file size - 22mb) or low resolution (small file size - 6mb)
Euphydryas is the second of three identification guides to the Small Fritillaries. The third guide covering Melitaea will be produced in due course. After guidance on separating Euphydryas from the other Fritillaries all six Euphydryas species are covered in a concise format. The detailed comparisons of the difficult forms and subspecies which usually cause confusion should prove very useful in identifying your specimen.
~ Download (11mb)
A complete guide to identifying all the European Pieris with notes on spring and summer broods plus how to differentiate from other similar genera (Aporia, Anthocharis, Euchloe and Pontia). The following species are covered : Large White [Pieris brassicae], Small White [Pieris rapae], Green-veined White [Pieris napi], Southern Small White [Pieris mannii], Mountain Small White [Pieris ergane], Kreuper’s Small White [Pieris kreuperi], Mountain Green-veined White [Pieris bryoniae], Balkan Green-veined White [Pieris balcana] ~ Download (9mb)

Many thanks to Bill Raymond for designing the ID guides above.
Thanks to Bernard Watts for information and photographs, to Matt Rowlings, Roger Gibbons, Nick Greatorex-Davies, and Vincent Baudraz for photographs and to Richard Lewington for the use of his illustrations. Thanks also to LepiDiv for permitting the use of their distribution maps.

© Copyright Butterfly Conservation: These guides are made available for private use only. Any form of commercial usage is forbidden.

Written in French, Éléments d’identification des Pyrgus de France métropolitaine by Cédric Jacquier is a guide to the Pyrgus species found in France. We are hoping to produce a revised version in English at a later stage ~ Download 

 Butterfly Identification Service

We offer a Butterfly Identification Service whereby you can send us your photographs of butterflies for identification.

 List of European Butterfly Species


Download : EuropeanButterflies.xls (89kb)

The list of 454 species on the first spreadsheet comprises species found in Europe up to the eastern boundary of the European Union. It includes Cyprus, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. A further 42 species which only occur east of the European Union (in Russia, etc) are listed separately on the second spreadsheet.

The list follows the updated checklist of European Butterflies which was published on 31 December 2018 in the journal ZooKeys and can be accessed as follows:

The updated checklist was compiled by an international committee of taxonomic experts which comprised Martin Wiemers (corresponding author), Emilio Balletto, Vlad Dinca, Zdenek Fric, Gerardo Lamas, Vladimir Lukhtanov, Miguel Munguira, Chris van Swaay, Roger Vila, Albert Vliegenthart, Niklas Wahlberg, and Rudi Verovnik.

It is the same piece of work as the checklist published in the EIG Anniversary Magazine in May 2017 (which was an advanced draft of the committee’s conclusions) but with a few updates and corrections, the main ones being as follows.  

Main changes

Polyommatus timfristos is added as a new species.  This is an Anomalous Blue from the Timfristos and Parnassos mountains in central Greece.

Polyommatus eleniae (Phalakron Anomalous Blue) is now considered conspecific with Polyommatus orphicus (Kolev’s Anomalous Blue). 

The split of Euphydryas beckeri (Iberian Marsh Fritillary) from Euphydryas aurinia (Marsh Fritillary) is dropped.

Hypolimnas missipus (Danaid Eggfly) is added to the list.  This tropical species has been recorded and is possibly breeding in the Canary Islands, and has been recorded in Madeira.

Pieris wollastoni (Madeiran Large White) is now classified as extinct.

The scientific name of the recently split Southern Heath Fritillary is corrected from Melitaea nevadensis to Melitaea celadussa.

Argynnis aglaja (Dark Green Fritillary) is now Speyeria aglaja.

Argynnis niobe (Niobe Fritillary), Argynnis elisa (Corsican Fritillary) and Argynnis adippe (High Brown Fritillary) become Fabriciana niobe, Fabriciana elisa and Fabriciana adippe.

Nevada Grayling becomes Pseudochazara williamsi

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