Wildlife | Butterflies in Berkshire

There are roughly 15,000 species of butterfly in the world, how are these categorised?

Using the Red admiral as an example. First we split into quite large Families (e.g. Nymphalidae), then into smaller Subfamilies (e.g. Satyrinae), then into Genera (e.g. Erebia) and finally into species. A species latin name has two parts, the first is its genus and the second gives it a unique specific identification;

Subsection (butterfly) - Rhopalocera
Superfamily - Papilionoidea
Family - Nymphalidae
Subfamily - Nymphalinae
Genus - Vanessa
Species - atalanta

Spectacular species could soon be a distant memory because changes in agriculture and forestry have forced them from their natural habitat. Four of Britain's 59 butterfly species have become extinct and of those remaining, the populations of 30 have declined substantially. The loss of 97 % of flower rich grasslands has been a major factor, together with declining areas of fens, lowland heaths, meadows, peat bogs and ancient woodlands. Losers of the new millennium include the Large Blue, Large Tortoiseshell, Silver spotted skipper, fritillaries and the Adonis blue.

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Butterfly Conservation is a British charity devoted to saving butterflies, moths and their habitats