Butterflies don’t always have wings

Two Orange Tip butterflies mating while clinging to an old dandelion see head
Mating Orange Tips. Photo: Lyn Pullen

We all tend to think of “butterflies” as just the adult stage that we see on the wing, but many of species spend a lot more time as eggs, caterpillars or chrysalises than they do as adults and you can record all these stages on this website.

To do this, go to our Recording Form: when you enter the name of the species, this is followed by a space for the number you have seen, then there is a column under which you can specify the life stage.

Information on all stages is useful to us: an adult butterfly may be just passing through, but if you see any of the other stages, the butterfly is breeding at that site.

We have other areas of the website you might find of interest (we’ve got so much good stuff, it’s difficult to make it all prominent!). Have a look at the bottom of the Species page and you will find:

We’ve already had 1,591 butterflies reported to this website (as of 22 April 2021), but there are months of (we hope) good weather still to follow, so keep those records coming.

2 thoughts on “Butterflies don’t always have wings

  1. Helen Jones

    Hi Lyn, as a very new member of the Dorset group, this article is really helpful. I am a complete beginner in terms of butterfly identification so have arranged to attend a couple of the forthcoming walks to help in this area. In the meantime, I would like to try to improve my ID skills and your link to the FSC pamphlet looks like a great idea so I will order one of them. I was just wondering if you, or anyone else, can recommend a good beginners book on butterflies (and maybe one for moths as well). I’ve had a quick Google and see there are a number available, including those on the Butterfly Conservation website, but don’t know which one to go for. I am a keen birder and have the Collins Guide to Birds which is excellent, I see there is also a Collins Butterfly Guide, would that be a good starting point? I am sure, as with all these sorts of things, people will all have their own ideas but there may be a consensus out there!

    Any suggestions gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance.


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