Butterflies and moths are not just beautiful, but they play an important part in our ecosystem.

Not only do they flit between flowers enabling pollination of flowers and crops, which is good for us humans, but they also are a source of food for birds such as Warblers, Sparrows and Martins amongst others.

The removal and urbanisation of their habitats such as woodland and hedgerows mean that not only will they become less visible in our urban areas, but so will the birds and animals that feed on them.

If you would like to encourage butterflies to your garden, try planting nectar producing flowers, or allowing part of your garden to ‘go wild’ with longer grass .

An A – Z of butterflies and moths seen in and around Hucknall



Scientific Name: Gonepteryx rhamni

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Larvae feed on Buckthorn and Alder Buckthorn leaves.

Size: Large – Wingspan around 60mm

Lifecycle: Egg – early May to early July, Caterpillar – early June to mid July, Chrysalis – mid July to mid August, Adult – mid August to mid May.

Last Sighting:

The Brimstones angular shape and strongly veined wings closely resemble the foliage where they roost.

The females wings are a very pale green, where the males have yellow upperwings and green-yellow underwings.



Scientific Name: Polygonia c-album

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Common nettle, elms, currants, hop and elms.

Size: Medium – 55 to 60 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – early April to early May and early July to early August, Caterpillar – late April to early June and mid July to mid August, Chrysalis – June and late July to early September, Adult – late June to mid May.

Last Sighting:

Usually found in open woodland , the Comma will often broaden their search for nectar and rotting fruit prior to hibernation.

The colouring and shape of the wings help conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves.



Scientific Name: Pyronia tithonus

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Fine grasses such as bent, fescues and meadow grasses

Size: Medium – 40 – 47 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – mid July to late September, Caterpillar – early September to early May, Chrysalis – early June to mid August, Adult – early July to late September.

Last Sighting:

Often found where clumps of flowers grow as well as along field edges and hedgerows.

The Gatekeepers favourite sources of nectar include bramble, ragwort, common fleabane and wild marjoram.

Green Veined White

Scientific Name: Pieris napi

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Wild cabbage, wild radish, hedge mustard, cuckooflower and water cress

Size: Medium – approximately 50 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – early May to end June and early August to end September, Caterpillar – early May to end June and early August to early October, Chrysalis – July and late September to mid April, Adult – late March to early June and mid July to mid September.

Last Sighting:

The Green Veined White has white wings with distinct green veins with the upper wings having one or more spots.

Favouring damp areas this butterfly can be found in hedgerows as well as the banks of lakes, rivers, ponds and woodland pathways.


Painted Lady

Scientific Name: Vanessa cardui

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Thistles preferred as well as common nettle

Size: Medium – approximately 50 – 56 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – mid April to mid July and early August to mid October, Caterpillar – mid April to mid July and mid September to end October, Chrysalis – late May to early October, Adult – mid March to end June and early August to early October.

Last Sighting:

Migrating from North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, the Painted Lady can often be found in dry open areas


Scientific Name: Aglais io

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Nettles

Size: Large – approximately 63 – 69 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – early May to early June, Caterpillar – early June to early July, Chrysalis – late June to late July, Adult – late July to late May.

Last Sighting:

One of the UKs’ most easily recognised butterfly species due to its ‘eyes’ on its wings designed to confuse possible predators.

Its nomadic instincts mean that it will travel widely through the countryside and can be found in woodland clearings and edges as well as your garden especially if it has buddleias.


Small Tortoiseshell

Scientific Name: Aglais urticae

Butterfly Conservation Status: Low

Food: Nettles

Size: Medium – approximately 50 – 56 mm wingspan

Lifecycle: Egg – late April to late May and late June to early August, Caterpillar – mid May to mid June and mid July to late August, Chrysalis – early June to early July and early August to mid September, Adult – late June to end July and late August to late April.

Last Sighting:

The small tortoiseshell is on of our most common butterfly species and is easily identifiable by its wing patterning.

Often the first butterfly to be seen in spring, and will no doubt be a common visitor to your garden flowers in autumn.