Small Skipper butterfly - female (photo: Steve Orridge)

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera)

About butterflies and moths

Butterfly and moth species are all members of the order Lepidotera (‘scale wings’). English is unusual in having separate names distinguishing them. This is an artificial split, based on simple observation and with no real scientific basis. No one feature distinguishes all butterflies from all moths, and moth groups differ from each other as much as they do from butterflies.

Worldwide there are about 180,000 species of Lepidotera, of which about 18,000 are butterflies, the rest being moths. In the British Isles their are currently 59 resident species of butterfly among 6 families, and about 2,500 species of moths among 67 families.

Butterflies and moths in the High Peak

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all butterfly and moth observations within the High Peak area, as recorded on iNaturalist

Takes you to the up-to-date list and photo galleries of all butterfly and moth observations within the ‘Buxton polygon’ area, as recorded on iNaturalist and collected by the Buxton Biodiversity Recording Group project

Use the button to go to our pages on the moth families and species that we have found in and around Buxton.

73.219 Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago) (SO)
71.025 Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala) (SO)

Buxton Butterflies and Moths Photo Gallery

Click on the button to go to the current gallery of photos taken by BFC members

A lovely short video by Steve Orridge of a White-letter Hairstreak butterfly feeding on knapweed.

Buxton Butterflies Species List

There are currently 31 species of butterflies recorded at sites in and around Buxton, and over a hundred species of moth. The butterfly species are listed below.

Small Skipper

Essex Skipper

Large Skipper

Dingy Skipper

Clouded Yellow


Large White

Small White

Green Veined White

Orange Tip

Green Hairstreak

Purple Hairstreak

White Letter Hairstreak

Small Copper

Brown Argus

Common Blue

Holly Blue

Red Admiral

Painted Lady

Small Tortoiseshell





Dark Green Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

Speckled Wood 

Wall Brown


Marbled White 


Meadow Brown


Small Heath

Buxton Butterfly Survey and Observations Results

You can view and download a copy of the Buxton Butterfly Survey Report for 2021 here:

Recorded observations of butterflies and moths in and around Buxton

Identifying butterflies and moths

Butterflies of Buxton: a brief guide to identification and recording

A powerpoint slideshow with commentary by Steve Orridge, Buxton Field Club Recording Group, and one of our experts on butterflies and other insects, giving a brief (35 min) guide to identifying and recording butterflies. Focussing on the species that can currently be expected in the Buxton area, but applicable more generally wherever you are in the UK.

Click on the following headings to download Steve Orridge’s pdf guides to Buxton’s butterflies:

Buxton Butterflies – the Skippers and Blues

Buxton Butterflies – the Whites

Buxton Butterflies – the Vanessids and Browns

The Butterflies of the Peak District

Byron Machin

Seven Stones Pubishing

A guide to all the butterflies found in the Peak District National Park, along with a series of 10 guided walks and background information on butterflies in science, history and folklore. Colour photos.

Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland

Richard Lewin


One of Bloomsbury’s British Wildlife Guides. A very useful guide that fits easily in your pack or pockets. Coloured drawings.

Collins Complete Guide to British Butterflies and Moths

Paul Sterry, Andrew Cleave, Rob Read

William Collins

Excellent photographic guide.

Information and guidance

Britain’s major conservation organisation for butterflies and moths. The world’s largest research institute for butterflies and moths, they operate 36 nature reserves and are leading or involved in 73 landscape-scale projects to conserve habitats. A comprehensive website with a wealth of information on identification and conservation of butterflies and moths. Well worth a visit.

A useful website, its main objectives are to build a community of responsible butterfly enthusiasts and to help in the identification of all butterflies found in Britain and Ireland, including their immature stages. The site provides several identification aids for this purpose.

A very useful online guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland. UKMoths has been providing identification help and information about Britain’s moths for over 15 years.

Traditionally, moth fieldguides have concentrated on the so-called “macro-moths”, of which there are around 800 regular species. To study all of Britain’s species including the often very interesting microlepidoptera, requires an expensive library of reference material.

The ultimate idea of this site is to illustrate as many species of British moths as possible and to provide this information in an accessible format. Over 2500 species have been recorded in the British Isles, and at the time of making this link 2264 of these were illustrated on the site, featuring 7291 photographs.