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.

Superfamily Hesperioidea[edit]

Family Hesperiidae (skippers)[edit]

Subfamily Hesperiinae (grass skippers)[edit]

Subfamily Pyrginae (spread-winged skippers)[edit]

  • Dingy skipperErynnis tages 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 white

Subfamily Coliadinae[edit]

Subfamily Pierinae[edit]

  • Large whitePieris brassicae
  • Small whitePieris rapae
  • Green-veined whitePieris napi. The subspecies britannica (Muller & Kautz, 1939) is only found in Ireland. The British subspecies is sabellicae (Stephens, 1827)
  • Orange tipAnthocharis cardamines. 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. The Irish subspecies is hibernica Goodson, 1948

Subfamily Polyommatinae[edit]

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

Family Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies)[edit]

Subfamily Nymphalinae[edit]

Red admiral peeping from behind a Hebe × franciscana

Subfamily Heliconiinae (longwings)[edit]

Argynnis paphia mating

Subfamily Satyrinae (browns)[edit]

  • Speckled woodPararge aegeria
  • WallLasiommata megera
  • GraylingHipparchia semele. Coastal and limestone districts. The Irish subspecies are clarensis de Lattin, 1952 (County Clare) and hibernica Howarth, 1971
  • GatekeeperPyronia tithonus Restricted to South and South-East coasts.
  • Meadow brownManiola jurtina. The Irish subspecies is iernes Graves, 1930
  • RingletAphantopus hyperantus
  • Small heathCoenonympha pamphilus Scattered throughout Ireland.Prefers drier grassland on well-drained soils.
  • Large heathCoenonympha tullia 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. 
  3. ^ Peter Eeles The Irish Mountain Ringlet dispar online
  4. ^ "Berger's Clouded Yellow". Butterfly Conservation. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

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