Butterflies of Europe

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2001 - Science - 320 pages

This is the most comprehensive field guide to the butterflies of Europe. The magnificent color illustrations and succinct entries cover all 440 species across, and sometimes beyond, the continent--from Lapland to North Africa, from the British Isles to Portugal to Greece, from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus. Completely up-to-date, the book includes dozens of species absent in earlier guides and covers the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, and the Aegean Islands, home to several butterflies found nowhere else in Europe.


The entries cover taxonomic nomenclature, range, distribution, description, flight period, variation, habitat, life history--including, importantly, larval host plants--and behavior. The 104 color plates feature over 2,000 illustrations, including both genders of each species and lateral views. Distribution maps accompany nearly all entries. In this journey to the haunts of the Old World's most kaleidoscopic creatures we encounter: Swallowtails and Festoons, Orange Tips, Hairstreaks and Blues, Emperors and Tortoiseshells, Fritillaries, Ringlets, Skippers, and many other delicately
winged delights.


All who find butterflies beautiful will treasure this authoritative guide. Whether already afield or still at home dreaming of that trip to Europe, they will feel what the great literary lepidopterist, Vladimir Nabokov, did as a schoolboy in Russia, when, as he once recounted, he so yearned to identify one of those "delicate little creatures that cling in the daytime to speckled surfaces, with which their flat wings and turned-up abdomens blend."


  • Comprehensive field guide to the 440 butterflies found in Europe

  • Each species fully illustrated with paintings of the male, female, and, where appropriate, all major forms

  • Over 2,000 color illustrations and more than 400 distribution maps--one for every widespread species

  • Text covering taxonomic nomenclature, distribution, flight period, variation, habitat, behavior, life cycle, food plants, and conservation

  • All information researched from original sources

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

About the author (2001)

Tom Tolman has published several papers on European butterflies. Since his retirement as a research chemist more than a decade ago, he has undertaken extensive field work, studying and photographing butterflies and their habitats while camping for months at a time throughout Europe. Richard Lewington studied graphic design in the UK and has been a full-time natural history illustrator since 1971. His paintings of insects have appeared in a number of field guides and academic publications, and he has designed and illustrated wildlife stamps for countries including Fiji and the Seychelles.

Bibliographic information