Dark Green Fritillary, © Tara McGreary, Wexford 15/07/2014
Dark Green Fritillary, © Tara McGreary, Wexford 15/07/2014

Projected change in length (in days) of growing season by 2041-2060 under a) Medium- to low-emission of b) High emission scenario

The annual timing of life stages (phenology) of butterflies is known to be a sensitive indicator of climate change.  Across Ireland, with increasing latitude and altitude, butterflies start to fly later in the season. However, as Ireland’s climate is now changing (see here) this pattern will also change, with some parts of the country being affected more than others. It is vital we measure how these changes impact our butterflies and one of the most direct measures is recording earliest sightings of resident and common migrant butterflies.

Below is a summary of the earliest sightings across species, as reported to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. If you have seen a butterfly this year that is not yet listed below, and you are confident that you have identified it correctly, please submit your sighting here.

Latest update – 18th July 2017

Common Name
 Date  Location  Recorder
Brimstone  2nd February  Co. Wicklow  Angus Tyner
Brown Hairstreak
Clouded Yellow  1st May  Co. Wicklow  Gillian Steward
Comma  13th March  Co. Waterford  Liam Lysaght
Common Blue  7th April  Co. Meath  Larry Lenehan
Dark Green Fritillary  20th May  Co. Clare  Frank Halbert
Dingy Skipper  1st May  Co. Galway  Martin Gammell
Essex Skipper
Gatekeeper  13th July  Co. Wexford  Bruce Walker
Grayling  4th June  Co. Kerry  Clare Heardman
Green Hairstreak  26th March  Co. Cork  Paul & Anne Hadland
Green-veined White  24th March  Co. Carlow  Brian Power
Holly Blue  14th March  Co. Cork  Ken Bond
Large Heath  26th May  Co. Westmeath  Chris Martin
Large White  2nd April  Co. Waterford  Fiona, Rían & Óisín Murray
Marsh Fritillary  7th May  Co. Tipperary  Pat Bracken
Meadow Brown  24th May  Co. Laois  Catherine Casey
Orange-tip  24th March  Co. Tipperary  Brian White
Painted Lady  11th March  Co. Cork  Michael O’Donovan
Peacock  10th January  Co. Wexford  Mick O’Connor
Pearl-bordered Fritillary  9th May  Co. Galway  Colin Stanley
Purple Hairstreak
Red Admiral  20th January  Co. Cork  Myrtle Parker
Ringlet  2nd June  Co. Wexford  Jonathan Derham
Silver-washed Fritillary  26th June  Co. Laois  Des Finnamore
Small Blue  10th May  Co. Wexford  Oisín Duffy & Mairéad Crawford
Small Copper  6th May  Co. Kerry  Kathryn Freeman
Small Heath  12th May  Co. Galway  Dermot Breen
Small Skipper
Small Tortoiseshell  13th January  Co. Clare  Emma Stewart-Liberty
Small White  27th March  Co. Galway  Neil Spellacy
Speckled Wood  12th March  Co. Wexford  Gavin Ó Sé
Wall Brown  26th April  Co. Cork  Damaris Lysaght
Wood White  8th April  Co. Donegal  Ethna Diver