Ones to watch in May

Here are five lovely butterflies to look for in May. See if you can find them and let us know about your record. See Butterfly Conservation Ireland’s Records PageĀ for the details we need to report your sighting on Butterfly Conservation Ireland’s 2023 Record Page. The photographs below were taken in May 2023.

Marsh Fritillary underside. The upperside is shown below. This occurs on wild grasslands, often in wet or damp areas containing its breeding plant Devil’s-bit Scabious. This is the only legally protected insect that occurs in Ireland.

Dingy Skipper. This little butterfly is usually seen fluttering low over Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil. Areas of unfertilized grassland with some bare ground are the places it frequents.
The male Orange-tip is unmistakable. He is often encountered patrolling the sunlit side of a hedge. In the female, the orange band is replaced with white but both sexes show the lovely moss-coloured hindwing underside.
The Small Heath is just starting to emerge. Found on wild grassland in a number of habitats, from coastal grasslands to upland heaths, this formerly common butterfly is in retreat throughout much of Ireland’s farmed land.
This delicate little white butterfly is unspotted which separates it from all other white butterflies found in Ireland. The wood white exists in Ireland as two identical-looking species: the Wood White found on grassland among open scrub growing on exposed carboniferous limestone in Clare, Galway, and Mayo and the Cryptic Wood White which breeds on more open grassy sites with scattered scrub outside the areas occupied by its sister species.

All photos J. Harding