All images on this website have been taken in Leicestershire and Rutland by NatureSpot members. We welcome new contributions - just register and use the Submit Records form to post your photos. Click on any image below to visit the species page. The RED / AMBER / GREEN dots indicate how easy it is to identify the species - see our Identification Difficulty page for more information. A coloured rating followed by an exclamation mark denotes that different ID difficulties apply to either males and females or to the larvae - see the species page for more detail.
Butterflies are insects, which together with moths, form the order Lepidoptera. There is no clear difference between butterflies and moths, other than we choose to refer to several families of lepidopterans as butterflies and the others as moths. All have 2 pairs of wings that are covered in minute scales which give them the colours and patterns we are familiar with. Butterflies, like moths, have 4 stages to their life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa and adult (called an imago). Most species have a life cycle of up to a year, though the adult may only live for a few weeks. However some adult butterflies live for nearly a year by overwintering in a type of insect hibernation. There are around 60 species of butterfly in Britain of which 34 species are thought to be resident breeders in our two counties. The Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow and Camberwell Beauty (a former resident) occur as migrants whose local populations do not over-winter.