All the data represented in the maps on this site came from a wide range of recording schemes, which are fully listed on our Become a recorder page. The most scientific results are gathered via our transect walking scheme, where recording from year to year is made more valid by working within set parameters; this data contains the highest number of records. We are also recieving a large number of records via this website, which are very helpful, but it has to be remembered that people are more inclined to report rare butterflies and under-report common species, so this data must be treated with caution. Other recording comes from schemes such as garden recording and wider countryside recording, plus the annual “Big Butterfly Count” and from more generalist recording such as that on iRecord and Living Record.

All the statistics have been verified and entered into the Dorset Atlas by computer coordinators using the Levana mapping system supplied by Butterfly Conservation. Master copies of this and earlier data are held by Butterfly Conservation, its Dorset Branch and by the Dorset Environmental Centre. Eventually the data will enter the National Biodiversity Network.

Very grateful thanks to all those who gave up time to collect this valuable butterfly data, to verify it and to collate it.

The analysis pages show the distribution of each species of butterfly. We also collate all the data, so coming towards the end of the five-year recording cycle, we can concentrate our efforts on the non-recorded (or under-recorded) areas of the County. We call these White Holes.

Recording effort 2010-2014

Map of Dorset with dots showing how many butterfly species have been recorded in each kilometre square

The 2010-14 map above shows that 2,365 out of Dorset’s total of 2,915 kilometre squares [81%] had at least one butterfly recorded in them during this period. The colour codes clearly show the areas of Dorset where the most species are recorded.