British Butterflies in size sequence

(UK Lepidoptera from biggest to smallest)

jump to: over 90, 80-90, 70-80, 60-70, 50-60, 40-50, 30-40, under 30

Butterfly books do not agree on sizes. I've compiled this list using sizes from one book but used another to give an approximate size on my butterfly pages. Please regard this page as a rough guide.

Novice butterfly identifiers are most likely to be searching for a larger butterfly and these are at the top of this list. Most people are familiar with "Cabbage Whites" that frequent English gardens. These are 2 species: Large White and Small White. If you are a novice at butterfly identification, you may find it helpful to compare the size with the Small White, which is about 50mm.

Over 90mm

Swallowtail - Papilio machaon



Purple Emperor - Apatura iris

Silver-washed Fritillary - Argynnis paphia


Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta

Large White - Pieris brassicae

White Admiral - Limenitis camilla

Peacock - Inachis io

High Brown Fritillary - Argynnis adippe


Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui

Dark Green Fritillary - Argynnis aglaja

Brimstone - Gonepteryx rhamni

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Wall - Lasiommata megera

Small Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae

Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina

Grayling - Hipparchia semele

Clouded Yellow - Colias croceus


Small White - Pieris rapae

Ringlet - Aphantopus hyperantus

Comma - Polygonia c-album

Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria

Scotch Argus - Erebia aethiops

Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Boloria euphrosyne

Orange Tip - Anthocharis cardamines

Marsh Fritillary - Euphydryas aurinia

Heath Fritillary - Melitaea athalia

Green-veined White - Pieris napi

Wood White - Leptidea sinapis

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary - Boloria selene

Large Heath - Coenonympha tullia

Mountain Ringlet - Erebia epiphron


Large Blue - Maculinea arion

Glanville Fritillary - Melitaea cinxia

Gatekeeper - Pyronia tithonus

Silver-studded Blue - Plebeius argus

Silver-spotted Skipper - Hesperia comma

Large Skipper - Ochlodes venata

Common Blue - Polyommatus icarus

Chalkhill Blue - Polyommatus coridon

Brown Hairstreak - Thecla betulae

Purple Hairstreak - Neozephyrus quercus

White-letter Hairstreak - Satyrium w-album

Small Skipper - Thymelicus sylvestris

Holly Blue -Celastrina argiolus

Duke of Burgundy - Hamearis lucina

Chequered Skipper - Carterocephalus palaemon

Black Hairstreak - Satyrium pruni

Adonis Blue - Polyommatus bellargus

Under 30mm

Small Heath - Coenonympha pamphilus

Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas

Northern Brown Argus - Aricia artaxerxes

Grizzled Skipper - Pyrgus malvae

Green Hairstreak - Callophrys rubi

Essex Skipper - Thymelicus lineola

Brown Argus - Aricia agestis

Lulworth Skipper - Thymelicus acteon

Dingy Skipper - Erynnis tages

Small Blue - Cupido minimus


"Small" is relative! Small Copper & Small Tortoiseshell together on Verbena. 23 August 2003.

This page last updated July 17, 2005