British Butterflies the Law

British Butterflies the Law

Information pertaining to WILD British Butterflies and status


NOTE: All British & European butterflies offered for sale on this website are either from antique collections or captive bred from historically existing colonies, prior to legislation.

PLEASE ALSO SEE THE ARTICLE E.P.S as this new European legislation adds further misery to the captive breeding programmes of Lepidopterists

Sadly we in the UK have lost vast amounts of suitable Butterfly habitat due to a variety of causes. However the conscientious Butterfly breeder and collector has been unduly denied access to various species on account of “THE LAW” which like so many laws remove the rights of individuals to enjoy a practical interaction with nature limiting human experience to photography or hands-off distance viewing. However true protection of native species does not come by denying the rights of entomologists but by education and “soundness of mind” That is the ability with-in oneself to work with creation and be able in good conscience to know that whatever the individual aim the outcome will be a positive one for Butterflies. Blanket protection and punitive punishment limits the work of genuine enthusiasts who actively seek to help sustain wild populations. Help in the past has sometimes occurred by way of re-establishing lost species much to the delight both the General Public and Conservation groups alike. Real protection therefore must be levelled at the GREED AND IGNORANCE THAT CAUSES HABITAT LOSS and in turn loss of species; not the conscientious collector. For example excessive chemical use, obsession with hedge, verge and ditch cutting during the breeding season, all these methods and more diminish wild butterflies. You only have to go back to the 1800’s and read accounts of how abundant Butterfly species where to understand that the decline is not to be laid at the foot of entomological collectors but at the foot of big Business, Agriculture and woefully inadequate Government Policy. Adding more legislative red tape does not halt species decline. Therefore the World of Butterflies & Moths encourages individuals, schools, clubs and Universities to actively take part in captive British Butterfly breeding and get involved in practical entomology and volunteer help. The late Mr Martin White is an example of a man dedicated to the welfare of British butterflies, but also a balanced entomological collector. Many of our wild colonies of rare species were directly “planted” by Martin, he like so many lepidopterists are the unsung hero’s of Butterfly conservation. We also encourage members of the public to complain to their local Government or MP where they see excessive cutting of suitable butterfly and insect habitat. Legislation alone will not stop decline.

The LAW protects the following WILD species against RE SALE To quote section 9 part 5b which applies… “Advertising for buying or selling or dead animal, part or derivative

Exemptions: 9 part 3 A person shall not be guilty of an offence under subsection (2) if he shows that—
(a) the animal had not been killed or taken, or had been killed or taken otherwise than in contravention of the relevant provisions; or
(b) the animal or other thing in his possession or control had been sold (whether to him or any other person) otherwise than in contravention of those provisions”

9 part 6 In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1), (2) or (5)(a) , the animal in question shall be presumed to have been a wild animal unless the contrary is shown”.

Note: 9 part 6 means that while the LAW does not apply to captive bred insects or antique pre-legislation specimens you should always have proof of origin, for example original data labels, also a paper trail of sale receipts etc…or you could be in trouble! No matter how honest you are the onus is on you to prove the origin of entomological specimen.

British Butterflies on this schedule:
Adonis Blue 1989
Black Hairstreak 1989
Brown Hairstreak 1989
Chalkhill Blue 1989
Chequered Skipper 1989
Duke of Burgandy
Skipper 1989
Glanville Fritillary 1989
Duke of Burgandy Fritillary 1989
Large Heath 1989
Large Tortoiseshell 1989
Lulworth Skipper 1989
Mountain Ringlet 1989
Northern Brown Argus 1989
Pearl Bordered Fritillary 1989
Purple Emperor 1989
Silver Spotted Skipper 1989
Silver Studded Blue 1989
Small Blue 1989
White Letter Hairstreak 1989
Wood White 1989 ….

British Moths:

Barberry Carpet Pareulype berberata
Black-veined Moth Siona lineata
Essex Emerald Thetidia smaragdaria
Fiery Clearwing Pyropteron chrysidiformis
Fisher’s Estuarine Moth Gortyna borelii lunata
New Forest Burnet Zygaena viciae argyllensis
Reddish Buff Acosmetia caliginosa
Sussex Emerald Thalera fimbrialis
Talisker Burnet Zygaena lonicerae jocelynae
Slender Scotch Burnet Zygaena loti scotica

The LAW fully protects the following WILD species. To quote section 9 Parts 1 “Intentional killing, injuring, taking. Part 2 Possession or control (live or dead animal, part or derivative) Part 4a Damage to, destruction of, obstruction of access to any structure or place used by a scheduled animal for shelter or protection Part 4b Disturbance or animal occupying such a structure or place Part 5a Selling, offering for sale, possessing or transporting for the purpose of sale (live or dead animal, part or derivative) Part 5b Advertising for buying or selling live or dead animal, part or derivative.”

MARSH FRITILLARY 1992 – See new E.P.S. legislation on this species
LARGE COPPER 1992 – See new E.P.S. legislation on this species
LARGE BLUE 1992 – See new E.P.S. legislation on this species

IF YOU BREED OR COLLECT EUROPEAN LEPIDOPTERA the below species now fall under this legislation.

EPS Annex II lists species which determine if an area is a Special Area of Conservation.

False Ringlet Coenonympha oedippus
Lorkovic’s brassy ringlet Erebia calcaria
Raetzer’s ringlet Erebia Christi
Eastern Eggar Eriogaster catax
Marsh fritillary Euphydryas aurinia
Spanish Moon Moth Graellsia isabellae
Scarce Fritillary Hypodryas maturna
Large Copper Lycaena dispar
Dusky Large Blue Maculinea nausithous
Scarce Large Blue Maculinea teleius
Italian Marbled White Melanagria arge
Corsican Swallowtail Papilio hospiton
Sierra Nevada blue Plebicula golgus

For further information when a licence is required go to – applications for a license prior to 1981 for species taken from the wild prior to 30 October 1981 and are listed on Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) or Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

The World of Butterflies and moths does not collect or sell protected species from the wild. British butterflies and moths offered on this website are either: 1) antique examples (pre-legislation) 2) from captive bred cultures prior to legislation 3) exempt non-European sub-species, not wild caught. Hence you can buy with peace of mind that our stock is ethically sourced and has no impact on Native or European wild populations.