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Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies and Moths are often associated with the warmer Summer months but they are also about in the Winter! This time of year you can look out for these butterflies: Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Peacock. These moths are also flying around: The Satellite, Winter Moth, Red-Green Carpet, Twenty-plume moth and the Pale Brindled Beauty. See the Butterfly Conservation website for more information on these great creatures.


What are the differences between a Butterfly and a Moth? Well there’s not a lot! It’s just because people have tried to name them and simplify the nature around us, that we have come up with the different names. Culturally many people prefer butterflies over moths but both are really important for our environment. We need all these Lepidoptera: moths and butterflies for a healthy ecosystem and actually their presence or lack of it is used by governments to indicate the health of our environment.


There are approximately 2500 moth species in England and approximately 60 butterfly species. They represent about 25% of all insects worldwide. They are important because they are:

herbivores – they eat plants

pollinators – they help plants to reproduce

food – they are eaten by birds, insects, mammals


Unfortunately our butterfly and moth populations have decreased. In 2020 the Biodiversity report by Defra showed that priority species Butterflies are 23% of their abundance recorded in 1976 and Moths are at 14% of 1970 numbers. So what can we do in Risby to help our Lepidoptera?

  1. Let native flowers grow in your lawns - only cut your lawn once every 4 weeks to maximise flowers in your lawn.

  2. Grow Lepidoptera friendly plants - for example Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Dog Rose etc. Flowers with a strong scent are attractive to moths and us!

  3. Have a wild area in your garden where grass, nettles, old leaves, dead wood can be left alone - Lepidoptera and lots of insects need wild areas to live.

  4. Reduce outside Light Pollution - Lepidoptera are attracted to lights and 1/3 of insects die when trapped in light fittings. If we reduce our use of outside lights or set them up on movement sensors we can help lots of them to survive.

To find out more please visit these websites:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/926056/England_biodiversity_indicators_2020_REVISED.pdf


https://butterfly-conservation.org/sites/default/files/moth-foodplant.pdf


Pale Brindled Beauty

Peacock Butterfly

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