In the British Isles there are 58 species but, in common with most insects, the numbers of these fascinating creatures fluctuate wildly, being highly susceptible to changes in climate and to habitat.
In Europe there are almost 500 different butterfly species including transitory residents and migrant species. The British butterfly gallery and Spanish butterfly gallery feature many of these likely to be seen.
Some species are strong flyers and capable of migrating hundreds of miles.
In the UK the sight of hundreds of Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow butterflies flying in off the sea to feed ravenously on cliff top flowers is an unforgettable spectacle. Or, if really lucky, a Long-tailed Blue dropping onto a lavender bush right in front of you.
Butterflies are divided into the following families.