List of butterflies of Ireland

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This is a list of Irish butterflies, past and present. Details on specific species are relevant to the Irish populations and some details may not be consistent with the species in other parts of its range.

EX Extinct No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EW Extinct in the wild Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized populations well outside its previous range.
CR Critically endangered The species is in imminent risk of extinction in the wild.
EN Endangered The species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
VU Vulnerable The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NT Near threatened The species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to do so in the future.
LC Least concern There are no current identifiable risks to the species.
DD Data deficient There is inadequate information to make an assessment of the risks to this species.

Superfamily Hesperioidea[edit]

Family Hesperiidae (skippers)[edit]

Subfamily Hesperiinae (grass skippers)[edit]

Subfamily Pyrginae (spread-winged skippers)[edit]

  • Dingy skipperErynnis tages NT Mainly Midlands and West. The subspecies baynesi Huggins, 1956 is recorded from the Burren region of Co Clare and Galway. The populations elsewhere in Ireland are presumably the type subspecies.

Superfamily Papilionoidea[edit]

Family Pieridae (whites)[edit]

Subfamily Dismorphiinae[edit]

  • Wood whiteLeptidea sinapis NT Confined to the Burren area of Co. Clare (here sympatric with Leptidea reali
  • Cryptic wood white - Leptidea juvernica NE stat. nov.[1][2] All regions of Ireland. Not known in Britain.
Wood white

Subfamily Coliadinae[edit]

Subfamily Pierinae[edit]

  • Large whitePieris brassicae LC
  • Small whitePieris rapae LC
  • Green-veined whitePieris napi LC The subspecies britannica (Muller & Kautz, 1939) is only found in Ireland. The British subspecies is sabellicae (Stephens, 1827)
  • Orange tipAnthocharis cardamines LC The Irish subspecies is hibernica (Williams, 1916)

Family Lycaenidae (gossamer-winged butterflies)[edit]

Green hairstreak

Subfamily Theclinae[edit]

Subfamily Lycaeninae[edit]

Small copper
  • Small copperLycaena phlaeas LC The Irish subspecies is hibernica Goodson, 1948

Subfamily Polyommatinae[edit]

  • Small blueCupido minimus EN Few regions. Restricted to coastal dunes, limestone grasslands and quarries.
  • Common bluePolyommatus icarus LC The Irish subspecies is mariscolore (Kane, 1893)
  • Holly blueCelastrina argiolus LC More common in East and South.

Family Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies)[edit]

Subfamily Nymphalinae[edit]

  • Red admiralVanessa atalanta LC resident reinforced by migrant populations.
  • Painted ladyVanessa cardui LC Migrant.
  • Small tortoiseshellAglais urticae LC
  • PeacockInachis io LC
  • CommaPolygonia c-album NE rare. Sightings on North and South-east coasts.
Red admiral peeping from behind a Hebe × franciscana

Subfamily Heliconiinae (longwings)[edit]

Argynnis paphia mating

Subfamily Satyrinae (browns)[edit]

  • Speckled woodPararge aegeria LC
  • WallLasiommata megera EN
  • GraylingHipparchia semele NT Coastal and limestone districts. The Irish subspecies are clarensis de Lattin, 1952 (County Clare) and hibernica Howarth, 1971
  • GatekeeperPyronia tithonus NT Restricted to South and South-East coasts.
  • Meadow brownManiola jurtina LC The Irish subspecies is iernes Graves, 1930
  • RingletAphantopus hyperantus LC
  • Small heathCoenonympha pamphilus NT Scattered throughout Ireland.Prefers drier grassland on well-drained soils.
  • Large heathCoenonympha tullia VU Restricted to a few bogs.

Vagrant, adventive, extinct and intercepts and exotic species[edit]

Aglias urticae – small tortoiseshell



Queen of Spain fritillary


See also[edit]


  • Emmet, A.M., J. Heath et al. (Ed.), 1990. The Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland Vol. 7 Part 1 (Hesperiidae to Nymphalidae). Harley Books, Colchester, UK. 370p.
  • K. G. M. Bond, R. Nash and J. P. O’Connor, An Annotated Checklist of the Irish Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera)The Irish Biogeographical Society in association with The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, 2006, 177 pp ISBN 0-9511514-9-5
  • Harding, J. & Jacob, M. 2013 Addition of Small Skipper butterfly (Thymelicus sylvestris) to the Irish List and notes on the Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Irish Naturalists' Journal 32: 142-144
  • Mazel, R. 2001. Leptidea sinapis L., 1758 - L. reali Reissinger, 1989, le point de la situation (Lepidoptera: Pieridae, Dismorphiinae) Linneana Belgica 18: 199-202.
  • Nash,D., T. Boyd and D Hardiman. 2012. Ireland's Butterflies A Review. The Dublin Naturalists' Field Club, Dublin. 272 pp ISBN 978-0-9530037-2-3
  • Wilson, C. J., Goodwin, J. & Bond, K. 2007. New Irish record of the small skipper butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris (Poda) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Irish Naturalists’ Journal 28(9): 385-386).Erroneous and later corrected by the authors. Refers to Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola.


  1. ^ Barkham, Patrick (13 July 2011). "New species of butterfly flying in Northern Ireland". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Dincă, Vlad; Lukhtanov, Vladimir A.; Talavera, Gerard; Vila, Roger (30 April 2011). "Unexpected layers of cryptic diversity in wood white Leptidea butterflies" (PDF). Nature Communications. 2: 324. doi:10.1038/NCOMMS1329. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Peter Eeles The Irish Mountain Ringlet dispar online
  4. ^ "Berger's Clouded Yellow". Butterfly Conservation. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

External links[edit]