Home Page British Butterflies and Moths photographed in Devon and Cornwall  

There are a total of 59 species of butterfly which breed in Britain whilst over 2400 species of moths have been recorded in the British Isles. Butterflies and moths have a lot in common; they are both part of the scientific order Lepidoptera (from the Greek lepis meaning scale and pteron meaning wing), both start their lives as hungry caterpillars and both eat nectar from flowers. While butterflies usually fly in the daytime and moths generally fly at night; some moths are daytime fliers and many of these, such as the Cinnabar Moth, are very colourful unlike their rather drab coloured night flying cousins. The easiest way to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth is to look at the antennae. A butterfly’s antennae are club-shaped with a long shaft and a bulb at the end while a moth’s antennae are feathery or saw-edged. Another pointer is that butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs whilst moths tend to hold their wings in a tent-like fashion that hides the abdomen. On a more technical point, moths have their forewings joined to their hindwings by a frenulum, this allows the wings to work in unison during flight; butterflies do not have frenulums.

Butterflies are shown with a red background, moths with a dark yellow.

B Brimstone Menu
C Cinnabar Moth Clouded Yellows Commas Common Blue, Bedruthan Steps Cream-Spot Tiger Moths
  Cinnabar Moth  Clouded Yellow Commas Common Blue Cream-Spot Tiger  
D Dark Green Fritillary
  Dark Green Fritillary          
G Gatekeepers Green Hairstreak Green-veined White
  Gatekeepers Green Hairstreak Green-veined White      
H Holly Blue
  Holly Blue          
J Jersey Tiger
  Jersey Tiger          
L Large Skippers Large White
  Large Skippers Large White        
M Marbled Whites Meadow Brown, Cotehele Gardens
  Marbled White Meadow Brown        
O Orange Tip
  Orange Tip          
P Painted Lady Plymouth Hoe Peacock Butterfly, Cotehele
  Painted Ladies Peacocks        
R Red Admiral, Plymouth Hoe
  Red Admirals Ringlet        
S Six-spot Burnet Small Copper Small Heath Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Small Tortoiseshells Small White, Slapton Ley, Devon
  Six-spot Burnet Small Copper Small Heath Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Small Tortiseshell Small White
S Speckled Wood Speckled Yellow
  Speckled Wood Speckled Yellow        
W Wall Brown
  Wall Brown