30 Butterfly Species in Belgium

Belgium is home to an impressive variety of beautiful butterflies, making it a haven for butterfly enthusiasts and passionate nature lovers.

While the country boasts over a hundred species, this article will explore 30 of the most commonly encountered Belgian butterflies.

These butterflies will leave you awestruck with their uniquely vibrant and colorful wings, adding a magical allure to your strolls through the Belgian countryside.

Small White (Pieris rapae)

The Small White butterfly is a common and widespread species in Belgium.

Small White butterfly

You’ll find it fluttering around in various habitats, such as gardens, parks, meadows, and fields.

Let’s learn more about this pretty little insect:

  • Habitat: Gardens, meadows, parks, and grassy areas
  • Appearance: White wings with black tips on the forewings; females display two small black spots, while males have just one
  • Size: 4-5 cm wingspan
  • Diet: Prefers to feed on nectar from flowers, such as wild carrot, dandelions, and clovers
  • Reproduction: Adults mate and lay eggs on the underside of host plants, mainly cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and mustard
  • Lifespan: Short life cycle of 3-4 weeks, but multiple generations occur each year, ensuring its continued presence
  • Host Plants: Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, mustard, broccoli, and kale

To sum up, the Small White is a beautiful creature that brightens up the Belgian landscape.

It’s vital to recognize and appreciate its existence, as butterflies play a significant role in pollination and maintaining the ecosystem’s balance.

Large White (Pieris brassicae)

The Large White, also known as the cabbage white, is a common and widespread butterfly in Belgium.

Large White butterfly

This species can be found in various habitats, particularly where their host plants, brassicas, are present.

Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of the Large White:

  • Habitat: Gardens, meadows, farmland, parks, and other open spaces.
  • Appearance: White wings with black tips on the forewings and black spots on the hindwings.
  • Size: Wingspan of 50-60mm.
  • Diet: Flower nectar from plants such as thistles, clovers, marjoram, and wild angelica.
  • Reproduction: Females lay up to 200 pale yellow eggs in clusters on the undersides of brassica leaves. These hatch in around 10 days, and the caterpillars feed voraciously before pupating.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for around three weeks.
  • Host Plants: Primarily brassicas, such as cabbage, kale, and broccoli, as well as nasturtiums and wild mustard.

In Belgium, the Large White is most often spotted from spring through to autumn, sometimes in large numbers as it is a strong flyer and highly mobile species.

Green-veined White (Pieris napi)

The Green-veined White is a common and widespread butterfly species in Belgium.

Green-veined White butterfly

It’s a fascinating creature with distinct features and habits.

Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful butterfly:

  • Habitat: Green-veined Whites are found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, gardens, hedgerows, and woodland clearings. They prefer damp environments and can often be seen near water sources.
  • Appearance: The butterfly is predominantly white, with greenish-grey veins on the undersides of its wings. The veins blend perfectly with leaves, providing excellent camouflage when at rest.
  • Size: Green-veined Whites have a wingspan ranging from 40 to 52 mm, making them a medium-sized butterfly species.
  • Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on nectar from flowers such as dandelions, white clovers, and wild crucifers. Their caterpillars feed on leaves of various cruciferous plants.
  • Reproduction: The species has two to three generations per year, with females laying their eggs on host plants from April to September.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a short lifespan of about two weeks, while the entire life cycle, from egg to adult, takes around six weeks.
  • Host Plants: Cruciferous plants like cabbage, kale, mustard, and turnip serve as host plants, providing food for caterpillars during their growth phase.

Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi)

The Black-veined White is an eyecatching butterfly species found in Belgium.

black-veined white butterfly

This magnificent creature, known for its striking black veins and white wings, adds a touch of beauty to the country’s rich biodiversity.

Let’s take a closer look at some of its characteristics:

  • Habitat: This butterfly prefers open woodland and forest edges with an abundance of host plants.
  • Appearance: Its wings display a white background adorned with distinctive black veins, creating a stunning visual contrast.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 60-70mm, the Black-veined White is relatively large compared to other butterfly species.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feast on flower nectar, while their caterpillars enjoy munching on hawthorn and blackthorn leaves.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves, ensuring safety for their offspring.
  • Lifespan: As with many butterfly species, the Black-veined White has a short life, living for around 3 to 4 weeks once reaching adulthood.
  • Host Plants: The hawthorn and blackthorn plants serve as critical resources for the Black-veined White butterfly, providing nourishment and a place to lay their eggs.

Next time you visit Belgium, be sure to keep an eye out for this enchanting butterfly species and enjoy the mesmerizing pattern of its black and white wings.

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

The Small Copper butterfly is a stunning species that can often be spotted flying low across the beautiful Belgian landscapes.

Small Copper butterfly

This vibrant butterfly will surely catch your eye with its bright coloration and delicate flight patterns.

Let’s get to know more about this lovely species:

  • Habitat: Small Coppers are found in various habitats, such as heathlands, grasslands, woodland clearings, and gardens.
  • Appearance: These butterflies boast bright orange wings with dark brown borders and black markings. The underwings present a mix of grayish-brown with distinctive orange-ringed black spots.
  • Size: The Small Copper’s wingspan ranges between 25 to 35 millimeters, making it both easy to spot and delightfully delicate.
  • Diet: Adult Small Coppers feed on nectar from wildflowers like dandelions, while the caterpillars munch on leaves of the dock and sorrel plant species.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the underside of their host plants’ leaves, ensuring their offspring have immediate access to food upon hatching.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for around two weeks during the summer months.
  • Host Plants: The Small Copper’s main host plants are the common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella), making them essential to the butterfly’s survival.

With its striking appearance and fascinating life cycle, the Small Copper is undoubtedly a noteworthy inhabitant of Belgium’s diverse ecosystems.

Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus)

The Silver-studded Blue is a stunning butterfly species that can be found in Belgium.

Silver-Studded Blue butterfly

This charming insect may dazzle you with its beautiful markings and eye-catching color, creating a memorable sight as it flits through the air.

Here’s an overview of the Silver-studded Blue:

  • Habitat: They are typically found in heathlands, grasslands, and coastal dunes.
  • Appearance: Males have an electric blue upper side with a black border and silver markings, while females possess a brown upper side with a band of red spots and silver markings.
  • Size: The wingspan ranges from 2.7 to 3.5 cm, making it a small butterfly.
  • Diet: Adults mainly feed on nectar from various plants, such as heathers and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in mid to late summer, and the females lay eggs on young shoots of heather or gorse plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterfly has a short lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae use common heather (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinerea), or gorse (Ulex europaeus) as host plants, where they feed and develop.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

As you explore the vast greenery of Belgium, you will undoubtedly come across the enchanting Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).

Common Blue butterfly

This charming butterfly species showcases both the beauty and complexity of nature.

Here’s some information to help you understand this fascinating creature:

  • Habitat: Common Blue butterflies are usually found in grasslands, meadows, and gardens, adapting well to diverse environments.
  • Appearance: The male Common Blue butterfly features a bright blue upperwing with a white fringe, while the female displays brown upperwings with blue scales and orange spots.
  • Size: They typically possess a wingspan ranging between 29-37mm when fully grown.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on nectar from various flowers such as thistles, knapweeds, and clovers.
  • Reproduction: During mating season, the female Common Blue butterfly lays her pale green eggs on distinct host plants.
  • Lifespan: The average life expectancy for a Common Blue butterfly is about 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: To complete their life cycle, the caterpillars feed on Leguminosae host plants, such as Bird’s-foot trefoil and white clover.

Now that you’ve learned more about the captivating Common Blue butterfly, why not venture out and see if you can spot its beautiful hues in the Belgian countryside?

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

The Holly Blue is a beautiful butterfly species found in Belgium, known for its vibrant blue color and distinctive markings.

Holly Blue butterfly

Here, let’s examine some interesting facts about this mesmerizing species:

  • Habitat: Holly Blue butterflies thrive in various habitats, such as woodlands, hedge rows, gardens, and parks.
  • Appearance: Males have a bright blue upper wing surface, while females display a blue hue with broad black borders in the outer wing regions. The underside of the wings is silver-grey with black spots and a subtle orange crescent.
  • Size: Holly Blue butterflies have a wingspan ranging from 28 to 34 mm, making them one of the smaller blue butterflies species.
  • Diet: Adult Holly Blues primarily feed on aphid honeydew, while caterpillars feed on the buds and flowers of their host plants.
  • Reproduction: Holly Blue butterflies have two to three broods each year, with the female laying eggs on the host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult Holly Blue typically lives for two to three weeks.
  • Host Plants: The first generation Holly Blue caterpillars feed on holly (Ilex), while the second and third generations prefer ivy (Hedera).

The Holly Blue is a fascinating butterfly species to admire as it flutters through the Belgium countryside.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a striking and unmistakable butterfly found throughout Belgium. You’ll be in awe of its beauty when you spot one.

red-admiral butterfly

Here’s some information about this wonderful creature:

  • Habitat: It is commonly found in gardens, meadows, parks, and wooded areas. This adaptable butterfly can thrive in a variety of habitats.
  • Appearance: The Red Admiral displays a striking contrast of black and orange-red bands on its wings, with white spots near the wingtips.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 45-50mm, it is a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult Red Admirals feast mostly on nectar from flowers, but they’re also known to take the sap of trees and feed on rotting fruit.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs mainly in the late spring and early summer, after which females lay green eggs on the underside of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies have a relatively short adult lifespan of about 3 to 4 weeks, depending on various factors such as weather conditions and predators.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on plants like nettles, which are abundant in the region, providing easy access to a suitable food source.

Keep your eyes peeled for this remarkable butterfly when exploring the natural beauty of Belgium. You won’t regret it.

Painted Lady ( Vanessa cardui )

Painted Lady butterflies are truly remarkable creatures that can be spotted in Belgium, among other places around the world.

painted lady butterfly

They have an incredible migration behavior and are highly adaptable insects.

Here’s a quick overview of their characteristics:

  • Habitat: These butterflies can be found in various environments, such as meadows, gardens, wastelands, and even mountainous regions.
  • Appearance: Painted Ladies display beautiful orange, brown, and black markings on the upper sides of their wings, with intricate patterns of spots and other shapes on the under sides.
  • Size: They usually have a wingspan ranging from 2 to 2.8 inches (5 to 7 cm).
  • Diet: The adult Painted Lady feeds on nectar from various flowers like thistles, asters, and other wildflowers.
  • Reproduction: Female Painted Ladies lay their eggs singly on the leaves of various host plants, from which caterpillars emerge to feed on the plant.
  • Lifespan: The entire life cycle of a Painted Lady takes about five weeks, from egg to adult. The adult butterflies typically live for two to four weeks.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars of the Painted Lady mainly feed on plants from the thistle family, but they also use mallow, malva, and hollyhock plants.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

The Small Tortoiseshell is a well-known and widespread butterfly in Belgium, and it is considered a classic garden species.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

This beautiful butterfly is easily recognizable and a favorite among many.

The following characteristics make this species truly unique:

  • Habitat: The Small Tortoiseshell thrives in a variety of habitats such as gardens, meadows, and woodland edges. They prefer sunny spots with plenty of flowers.
  • Appearance: This stunning butterfly features orange and black wings with characteristic blue and white markings on their edges.
  • Size: The wingspan of the Small Tortoiseshell ranges from 45 to 55mm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: The adults primarily feed on nectar from flowers such as thistles and daisies, while the caterpillars feed on stinging nettles.
  • Reproduction: Females typically lay clusters of eggs on the leaves of their host plants. The eggs later hatch into spiky black caterpillars with yellow markings.
  • Lifespan: The Small Tortoiseshell has a relatively short lifespan, ranging between 3 to 4 weeks as an adult.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plant for the Small Tortoiseshell caterpillar is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), which is abundant in Belgium and provides the caterpillars with all the nutrition they need.

The Small Tortoiseshell is a fascinating butterfly species that plays an essential role in Belgian ecosystems.

By understanding these characteristics, we can continue to appreciate and protect these delicate creatures.

Peacock (Aglais io)

The Peacock butterfly is undeniably one of the most recognizable and exquisite butterfly species that grace the skies of Belgium.

Peacock Butterfly

Its eye-catching appearance and distinctive behavior make it a favorite among butterfly enthusiasts and observers alike.

Here’s what you need to know about this stunning butterfly species:

  • Habitat: Peacock butterflies can be found in various habitats such as gardens, meadows, woodlands, and grasslands.
  • Appearance: The butterflies display spectacular eye-spots on their wings that resemble peacock feathers, lending them their name. Their wings are predominantly dark red with intricate patterns of blue, yellow, and black.
  • Size: Adult Peacock butterflies typically have a wingspan ranging from 50 to 60 mm.
  • Diet: Their primary food sources are nectar-rich flowers, like thistles or buddleia, which provide them with energy for flight and reproduction.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in the spring, and females lay their eggs on the undersides of stinging nettles leaves. Once hatched, caterpillars spin a web on the plant and feed on leaves before entering the pupal stage.
  • Lifespan: Adult Peacock butterflies can live up to five weeks.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Peacock caterpillars are stinging nettles (Urtica dioica), but they may also feed on other related plants, such as the small nettle (Urtica urens).

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

The Comma, also known as Polygonia c-album, is one of the unique and fascinating butterfly species found in Belgium.

Comma Butterfly

Known for its distinct wing shape and eye-catching colors, this butterfly is well-adapted to its environment.

Let’s learn more about its features, habitat, diet, and lifecycle!

  • Habitat: Typically found in wooded areas, hedgerows, and gardens, the Comma thrives in environments where they can find plenty of their preferred host plants.
  • Appearance: The butterfly has a uniquely scalloped wing shape, with orange and brown colors on the top of the wings and a camouflaging dark underside with a white ‘C’ mark resembling a comma.
  • Size: The Comma has a wingspan of about 4.4 to 6.4 cm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: As adults, Commas feed on nectar from flowers and overripe fruit, while caterpillars feed on the leaves of their host plants, such as nettles and elm trees.
  • Reproduction: Males compete for females during the mating season and engage in a spiraling flight display. Females lay single eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Commas have a lifespan of about 3 to 4 weeks as adult butterflies.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillars feed on a variety of plants, including nettles, elm trees, and willow trees.

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

The Marbled White butterfly is a stunning species native to Belgium and is often found in grassland areas.

Marbled White Butterfly

This species is known for its unique, marbled pattern that sets it apart from others in the region.

Let’s explore the fascinating features of this captivating butterfly:

  • Habitat: Marbled White butterflies thrive in open grasslands, meadows, and woodland clearings. They favor warm, sunlit spots where they can bask in the sunlight.
  • Appearance: The wings of the Marbled White butterfly have a beautiful marbled pattern with white and black markings. The pattern resembles a chessboard, giving the butterfly a distinctive look.
  • Size: These butterflies have a wingspan that typically ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 centimeters, making them a small to medium-sized species.
  • Diet: Adult Marbled Whites feed on a variety of plants, particularly nectar-rich ones, such as knapweed and thistles.
  • Reproduction: The female Marbled White butterfly lays her eggs on grass blades, where the larvae will hatch and feed on the grass until they are ready to pupate.
  • Lifespan: Adult Marbled Whites only live for a few weeks, with their short lifespan focused on reproduction and feeding.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Marbled White caterpillars are various species of grasses, including red fescue (Festuca rubra) and sheep’s fescue (Festuca ovina).

The Marbled White butterfly is a unique and beautiful species that delights butterfly enthusiasts in Belgium with its stunning marbled pattern and interesting life cycle.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

The Speckled Wood is a fascinating butterfly species often found in Belgium.

Speckled Wood butterfly

This lovely creature has carved out a special place in nature enthusiasts’ hearts due to its peculiar habits and beautiful appearance.

Here’s a closer look at what makes the Speckled Wood stand out among other butterfly species:

  • Habitat: Typically found in woodland areas, hedgerows, and gardens where dappled sunlight is common.
  • Appearance: This butterfly displays an attractive, intricate pattern of cream or yellowish spots on dark brown wings, making it easy to identify.
  • Size: The Speckled Wood has a wingspan of approximately 3.5 to 4 cm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from various flowers, while the caterpillars enjoy munching on grasses.
  • Reproduction: Males exhibit territorial behavior, chasing away rivals and courting females in sunlit spots. Females lay their eggs singly on grass blades.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a relatively short life of around 2 to 3 weeks, while the caterpillars undergo a winter diapause and take around 8 months to complete their development.
  • Host Plants: Some of the favorite host plants for Speckled Wood caterpillars include false brome and Yorkshire fog.

Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)

The Wall Brown butterfly is a fascinating species you can encounter in Belgium. They are known for their vibrant colors and distinct patterns, which make them stand out from the crowd.

Wall Brown Butterfly

In this section, let’s explore some of the key features and characteristics of this beautiful butterfly:

  • Habitat: Wall Browns prefer open, sunny habitats such as grasslands, woodland edges, and hedgerows. They can also be found in gardens and parks with ample nectar supplies.
  • Appearance: These butterflies have a striking pattern of orange and brown on the upper side of their wings, with a series of prominent eyespots on the outer edges. Their underside is a mix of brown and grayish tones, with additional eyespots.
  • Size: Adults have a wingspan of around 40-50 mm, making them a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Wall Browns mainly feed on nectar from various plants, like marjoram, wild privet, and bramble.
  • Reproduction: Males are territorial and will actively pursue females for mating. After mating, females lay their eggs singly on the host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult Wall Brown has a relatively short lifespan of around 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae primarily feed on grasses, including meadow grasses and bents.

Now that we’ve learned more about the Wall Brown butterfly, you’ll be able to spot and appreciate them more on your outdoor adventures in Belgium.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

The Meadow Brown is a butterfly you’ll likely come across during your outdoor adventures in Belgium.

Meadow Brown butterfly

Considered as one of the most widespread and abundant species, Maniola jurtina graces various habitats throughout the country.

Some fascinating aspects of this butterfly include:

  • Habitat: Found in grasslands, meadows, gardens, and other open areas with lush vegetation.
  • Appearance: Exhibits a brown and orange coloration with a single black eye spot on the wings; females have more orange on their upper wings.
  • Size: Wingspan ranges from 4 to 5 cm, making them a relatively small butterfly.
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on various nectar sources such as thistles, knapweed, and wild marjoram.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs during midsummer, with females laying eggs on the host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult Meadow Browns typically live for about a month, while the entire life cycle from egg to adult takes around a year.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on various grasses, including meadow foxtail, bents, and fescues.

So, next time you’re out exploring the Belgian countryside, be sure to look for the delightful Meadow Brown butterfly fluttering amidst the grasses and flowers.

Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

The Gatekeeper, also known as the Hedge Brown, is a beautiful butterfly species native to Belgium. It is a medium-sized butterfly and is a treat to watch as it flutters about in the wild.

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Let’s learn more about this captivating butterfly:

  • Habitat: Gatekeepers can be found in various habitats such as grasslands, meadows, and hedgerows. They especially thrive in places with a mix of grasses and flowering plants.
  • Appearance: These butterflies display an orange and brown color pattern on their wings with brown-almost black margins and small black and white eyespots.
  • Size: The wingspan of a Gatekeeper ranges between 35-45 mm, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult Gatekeepers mainly feed on the nectar from flowers, especially preferring plants like bramble, marjoram, and wild scabious.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in July and August, and females lay their eggs individually on grass blades.
  • Lifespan: The entire life cycle of a Gatekeeper, from egg to adult, lasts about six weeks. Adult butterflies have a lifespan of about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Gatekeeper larvae are various grass species like bents, fescues, and couch grasses.

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

The Large Skipper is an intriguing butterfly species that can be found in various regions of Belgium.

Large Skipper Butterfly

As one of those 30 remarkable butterfly species, the Large Skipper possesses unique characteristics that set it apart from its peers.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the Large Skipper:

  • Habitat: These butterflies can be found in grasslands, meadows, and woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: They boast a bright orange-brown color with dark markings on the wings, making them easily distinguishable.
  • Size: The Large Skipper is relatively small with a wingspan of 28-34 mm.
  • Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from various flowering plants such as dandelions and thistles.
  • Reproduction: The females lay tiny green eggs on host plants, which will eventually hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Despite their delicate appearance, the Large Skippers have a relatively short adult lifespan, surviving for only a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Their larval stage flourishes on a wide range of grasses, including the Cocksfoot and Yorkshire-fog.

The Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) is a fascinating butterfly species native to Belgium that offers an exceptional display of beauty and elegance.

With their bright orange-brown wings and unique life cycle, they are certainly a delightful sight to behold in the picturesque landscape of Belgium.

Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages)

The Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) is a unique butterfly species that can be found in Belgium.

Dingy Skipper Butterfly

With its camouflaged appearance, this butterfly can easily blend in with its environment, making it a master of disguise.

Below, let’s dive deeper into the characteristics and attributes of this fascinating species.

  • Habitat: Dingy Skippers prefer open grasslands, heaths, and other areas with a variety of flowering plants.
  • Appearance: The upper wings are brown with a greyish hue and have black spots. The underwings are mostly olive-brown with two narrow bands of dark spots.
  • Size: The wingspan of a Dingy Skipper ranges between 25-30 millimeters.
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from flowers, including Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Vetch, and Bugle.
  • Reproduction: The females lay eggs on the host plant leaves, and the larvae feed on these host plants after hatching.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterflies live for about 3-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Some of the Dingy Skipper’s preferred host plants include Bird’s-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), and Evergreen Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens).

So, when you’re exploring Belgium’s beautiful landscapes, keep an eye out for the Dingy Skipper, and appreciate its remarkable ability to blend in with its surroundings.

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

One of the most vibrant butterfly species found in Belgium is the Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines). Easily recognizable, it adds a splash of color to the Belgian countryside in spring.

Orange-tip Butterfly

Fascinating details about this stunning species include:

  • Habitat: Orange Tips dwell in various environments such as meadows, woodland clearings, and hedgerows. They usually fly quite close to the ground, searching for their host plants.
  • Appearance: Males flaunt eye-catching orange wingtips, while females have more modest yet charming white and black markings on their wings. The undersides of both exhibit a mottled pattern resembling green and white marbled camouflage.
  • Size: Orange Tips are small to medium-sized butterflies, boasting wingspans ranging from 42 to 52 millimeters.
  • Diet: As adults, Orange Tips predominantly feed on flower nectar, with a preference for cruciferous plants like garlic mustard.
  • Reproduction: The mating season occurs in spring, with females laying single eggs on the caterpillar’s host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult Orange Tips typically enjoy a brief flight period of around three weeks.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars mainly consume garlic mustard, cuckooflower, and other members of the Brassicaceae family.

Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)

The Small Skipper is a charming butterfly species found in Belgium and other parts of Europe.

Small Skipper Butterfly

As you explore various habitats, you may encounter these delightful creatures fluttering about, adding a touch of beauty to the landscape.

Here are some key aspects of the Small Skipper:

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer rough, unmanaged grasslands, such as meadows, verges, and wastelands. They thrive in sunny and sheltered locations.
  • Appearance: The Small Skipper has orange-brown wings with a distinctive, dark border, while the underside boasts a subtle, greenish-yellow hue.
  • Size: Their wingspan ranges from 25 to 30mm, making them relatively small butterflies.
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, including thistles, brambles, and hawkbits.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in mid-summer with females laying single eggs on selected host plants. Soon after, eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Adult Small Skippers live for around 2 to 3 weeks, depending on factors like weather and predation.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for Small Skipper caterpillars are grasses, such as Yorkshire Fog and Cocksfoot.

Keep an eye out for these fascinating butterflies as you explore Belgium’s picturesque meadows and grasslands, and observe their beauty up close.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The Brimstone butterfly, scientific name Gonepteryx rhamni, is undoubtedly a captivating and alluring species.

Brimstone Butterfly

The delicate beauty and fascinating behavior of this butterfly draw the attention of not just nature enthusiasts, but also casual observers.

Here are some intriguing facts about the Brimstone butterfly:

  • Habitat: Brimstones inhabit a variety of landscapes including woodlands, meadows, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Males have bright yellow wings, resembling the color of a lemon, while females exhibit pale green or yellowish-white wings.
  • Size: Brimstone butterflies have a wingspan of about 60-70mm, making them medium-sized.
  • Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from flowers such as bluebells, dandelions, and wild privet.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the host plants, and the caterpillars emerge about 10 days later.
  • Lifespan: The adult Brimstone butterflies can live up to 13 months, which is relatively long for a butterfly species.
  • Host Plants: Buckthorns, specifically Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) and Purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), serve as the main host plants for Brimstone butterfly larvae.

Brimstone butterflies have a remarkable ability to blend into their surroundings; their leaf-shaped wings provide excellent camouflage, making them difficult to spot when resting on foliage.

They are a treat to the eyes and an essential contributor to their ecosystem, making the Brimstone butterfly an iconic member of Belgium’s 30 butterfly species.

Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)

The Purple Emperor is a magnificent and elusive butterfly that you may come across in Belgium. This magnificent creature possesses several fascinating attributes.

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Let’s look at some of its most notable characteristics:

  • Habitat: The Purple Emperor often resides in deciduous woodlands with abundant oak and ash trees. It prefers areas with dappled sunlight and high canopy cover.
  • Appearance: Males boast a striking iridescent purple sheen on their wings, while females are mainly brown with white markings. Both sexes feature orange spots on the underside of their wings.
  • Size: With a wingspan between 65 and 75 millimeters, the Purple Emperor is considered one of the larger butterfly species in Belgium.
  • Diet: Interestingly, this butterfly does not feed on flowers. Instead, it prefers to consume sap, rotten fruits, and even animal dung.
  • Reproduction: The Purple Emperor has one brood per year, with females laying their eggs on the leaves of host plants in July and August.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for two to three weeks, ensuring just enough time for mating and laying eggs.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars primarily feed on goat willow, crack willow, and grey willow, requiring these plants to complete their life cycle.

With its striking appearance and unique behavior, the Purple Emperor stands out among Belgium’s butterfly species. It’s no wonder that it often captivates those who come across it in the wild.

White Admiral (Limenitis Camilla)

The White Admiral is an enchanting butterfly species that you can’t miss when exploring the rich biodiversity of Belgium.

White Admiral butterfly

It is a typical woodland butterfly, gracefully gliding through the woods, with its distinctive appearance.

Let’s delve deeper into the characteristics of this lovely creature:

  • Habitat: You can find the White Admiral in deciduous woodlands, particularly in areas with good populations of its favorite host plant, the Honeysuckle.
  • Appearance: Its stunning upper wing surface has a black background with white marking that form a band across its wings, while its underwing has a more cryptic brown and orange pattern with white markings.
  • Size: This medium-sized butterfly boasts a wingspan of about 60-70 mm.
  • Diet: Adult White Admirals favor honeydew from aphids, but also feed occasionally on flowers, like bramble.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their eggs on Honeysuckle plant leaves; the emerging caterpillars feed on these plants, staying hidden and camouflaged as they develop.
  • Lifespan: The adults usually have a lifespan of 2 to 4 weeks, with their main flight period occurring between June and August.
  • Host Plants: As mentioned earlier, Honeysuckle is the preferred host plant of White Admiral butterflies, as both the larva and adult stages depend on this plant for survival.

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)

The Clouded Yellow butterfly is a fascinating and beautiful species. There are several key aspects to take note of when it comes to this wonderful creature.

Clouded Yellow butterfly

In bullet form, these important facts include:

  • Habitat: Clouded Yellow butterflies can be found in grasslands, meadows, and open countryside.
  • Appearance: They exhibit a bright yellow color with black markings on the upper side, whereas the underside displays a more creamy yellow hue, making them easily recognizable.
  • Size: Clouded Yellows have a wingspan of around 50-60 mm, ranking them as medium-sized butterflies.
  • Diet: Their primary food source consists of nectar from flowers, particularly clovers and knapweeds.
  • Reproduction: Males are territorial and actively search for females to mate with. After copulation, females lay their eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for only a few weeks, making the most of their short lives in search of food and mates.
  • Host Plants: Alfalfa, clover, and various legumes serve as primary host plants for their caterpillars, ensuring their larvae continue to thrive and prosper.

Enjoy the dazzling sight of the Clouded Yellow as it flutters through Belgian meadows and open areas.

Remember to treasure and respect these fabulous creatures as they continue to play a vital role in our natural world.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

The Ringlet is a common and widespread butterfly species in Belgium, easily recognized by its dark brown color and eye-catching rings on its wings.

Ringlet Butterfly

Its presence adds charm to various habitats, where it can be spotted fluttering gracefully.

  • Habitat: Found in grassy meadows, woodland clearings, and lush hedgerows.
  • Appearance: Dark brown wings featuring cream-colored rings outlined in black, which resemble eyespots.
  • Size: Wingspan ranging between 35mm and 50mm.
  • Diet: Nectar-rich flowers like bramble, thistles, and ragwort.
  • Reproduction: Females lay up to 200 eggs singly on grasses, which develop into caterpillars feeding on various grass species.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for about two to three weeks during summers.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars mainly feed on grasses such as cocksfoot, false brome, and meadow foxtail.

Now that you have learned more about the Ringlet, be sure to appreciate its presence and distinctive appearance the next time you’re out exploring nature in Belgium.

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Small Heath is a charming butterfly species commonly found in Belgium. It belongs to the family Nymphalidae and can be spotted in various habitats across the region.

Small Heath Butterfly

To help you identify and understand this fascinating species, here are some details about its characteristics and life cycle:

  • Habitat: Small Heath favors grasslands, meadows, and open fields, as well as heathlands and woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: The upper side of its wings exhibits a subtle orange-brown color with dark edges, while the underside exhibits a pale, grayish tone with delicate, wavy lines.
  • Size: This small butterfly has a wingspan range of about 2.5 to 3 cm.
  • Diet: The adults primarily feed on nectar-rich flowers like daisies, thistles, and knapweeds.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on grass blades, and the caterpillars emerge in about 7 to 10 days.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a rather short lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Small Heath caterpillars feed on various grass species, including sheep’s fescue and Yorkshire fog.

The Small Heath is a captivating butterfly that captivates nature enthusiasts with its charm and grace.

Spotting this species in Belgium will definitely enrich your knowledge of the region’s diverse butterfly population.

Dark Green Fritillary (Speyeria aglaja)

The Dark Green Fritillary, one of the 30 fascinating butterfly species found in Belgium, is undoubtedly an exquisite creature.

Dark Green Fritillary butterfly

With a marvelous combination of dark green and silver patterns, this butterfly can be observed in various natural habitats across Belgium.

  • Habitat: Prefers meadows, grasslands, and clearings within the countryside.
  • Appearance: Distinctive dark green patches with silver bands on the underside of its wings. The upper side wings are vibrant orange with black spots.
  • Size: A medium-sized butterfly, with a wingspan of approximately 45-65mm.
  • Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, including thistles and knapweed.
  • Reproduction: Mating usually occurs in late spring, and the female soon lays eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterfly can live up to a few weeks, with the entire life cycle spanning one year.
  • Host Plants: Mainly violet species, such as the common dog-violet and the heath dog-violet.

As you see, the Dark Green Fritillary is a remarkable butterfly species that stands out amidst the diverse Belgium fauna.

Don’t miss out on a chance to appreciate this captivating insect up close when you walk through the Belgian countryside.

High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe)

The High Brown Fritillary is a beautiful and rare butterfly species found in Belgium. It is considered one of the most threatened butterflies in Europe, making its conservation a high priority.

High Brown Fritillary butterfly

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of this graceful creature:

  • Habitat: Lives in woodlands, especially in open clearings, grasslands, and heathlands with abundant violet plants.
  • Appearance: Features striking orange and black wings with a checkered pattern. The underside of the wings displays intricate silver markings.
  • Size: Wingspan is around 50-60mm, slightly larger than most fritillaries.
  • Diet: Prefers to nectar on wildflowers, like thistles and knapweed.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in the summer, and females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a short life, only lasting a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on various species of violets, including the Common Dog Violet and Marsh Violet.

By learning about the High Brown Fritillary, we can better understand and appreciate the stunning biodiversity that exists in Belgium.

Keep an eye out for this rare gem during your outdoor adventures!


In summary, Belgium is home to a diverse and beautiful array of butterfly species, each with unique characteristics and important roles in the ecosystem.

As you explore the countryside, be sure to keep an eye out for these fluttering wonders and appreciate their colors and patterns.

If you’ve encountered any of these species or have a favorite Belgian butterfly, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Butterflies   Updated: July 3, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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