Butterfly Books
(to buy online)

Here are some butterfly and moth books I recommend and which may be bought online. I get a small commission for any Amazon books bought via this site but you do not pay more for this! Some of the links below connect you to other bookstores. CLICK ON THE PICTURE OF THE BOOK TO BUY IT (but note - the links to American books take you to Amazon US).

My new book on the butterflies of Vilars-Gryon in the Alpes Vaudoises of Switzerland will be available in mid-November 2019.

Butterflies of Villars-Gryon

Click HERE for more details and sample pages.

PETE EELES, webmaster and owner of UK Butterflies, has published the new, definitive account of the lifecycles of British butterflies. Every stage from egg to adult, including all larval instars, is illustrated with amazing photographs. The full and detailed text incorporates the latest research as well as Pete's own, previously unpublished observations.

Pete Eeles Lifecycles

For more information, and a link to order the book, click HERE.

The outstanding, new field guide to Swiss butterfly identification by Vincent and Michèle Baudraz (French only):


Available from their excellent website, HERE, or through various online shops like PEMBERLEY BOOKS in the UK.

Sample pages:

Baudraz1   Baudraz2


JASON SARGERSON has produced a new booklet describing and illustrating some of the butterflies to be found in his favourite spots around the world. It is not a comprehensive guide to any particular region but more of a glimpse into a few selected sites, to inspire people to visit them or indeed look for their own favourite haunts.

Sargerson 1

sargerson 2Sargerson 3Sargerson 4

It costs £11, including postage to UK destinations, or £14 to overseas addresses, and is available from Jason Sargerson, 17 Muirfield Park, Westbourne Avenue, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU5 3JF
VOLUME 4 of Patrice Leraut's 5-volume, definitive series MOTHS OF EUROPE  is now out. This volume completes coverage of the Pyralids. 

Leraut 4 cover

Like the previous volumes, this one is superbly illustrated and contains excellent text and maps for each species. Highly recommended for moth-lovers. It can be ordered through the NapEditions website, HERE.

JASON SARGERSON, a butterfly enthusiast whom I have met in Switzerland a few times, has put together a booklet about Swiss butterflies which should whet the appetite of anyone planning a trip out here. It contains a lot of useful and well laid-out information on habitats and species, illustrated with 100 photos of butterflies and plenty more of their habitats.

(click to enlarge)

If you would like a copy, it costs £10 inc. p&p (to UK addresses - £13 to European addresses) and can be obtained directly from Jason Sargerson. Alternatively, it can be purchased from  Schuler Bücher in Chur, for CHF 15.

Schuler Bücher, Bahnhofplatz 3, 7000 Chur
Tel: +41 (0) 81 253 11 70
E mail: bahnhof@schulerbuecher.ch
Web: www.schulerbuecher.ch

This next one is not actually a book but a set of two DVDs. In July 2011 Paul Wetton visited Switzerland and recorded over one hundred species of our finest Alpine butterflies in glorious technicolour! The result is not just a wonderful romp through the Swiss mountains but a far better guide to identifying these species than you can possibly get from a book. Just click on the picture below to be taken to his pages.

VOLUME III of the 5 volume series MOTHS OF EUROPE is now out! RECOMMENDED!

Volume I of this amazing and much needed series covers Saturnidae to Arctidae, Volume II provides the first comprehensive treatment of all the European Geometridae and this third volume contains the Zygaenids (day-flying moths that attract the attention of many butterfly lovers) and some of the Pyralids.

The publishers write:
It is a great pleasure to announce the coming out of our new book:
Moths of Europe Volume 3 (Zygaenids, Pyralids 1)
Public price €86
Volume 3 of a series which covers most of the moths of Europe.
*This guide deals with zygaenids (Zygaenidae), Brachodidae and Pyralids (Crambidae).
*Precise descriptions of each species with information on their biology.
*Distribution maps
112 colour plates, more than 1000 species, 2300 colour illustrations, 200 line drawings.
*Available in English and French versions.

You can buy this new volume and the previous volumes HERE. French and English versions are available.

The next two books here, both of which came out in 2011, are excellent additions to the butterfly fanatic's library.

*** NEW ***

ISBN: 978-80-904900-0-0

544pp, pbk, 160x230mm

A new, comprehensive reference guide covering the 700 or so species found in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe. 

Sample page:

More information and sample pages of this stunning new book can be found HERE. For the beginner, this is not so much a field guide as an amazing reference book to use in conjunction with a field guide. The information is well researched and up to date and the collection specimens illustrate all subspecies and major forms. 

At present it can be obtained by contacting the author at rhopalocera.mediterr@gmail.com. The price is €85 + p&p.



Tari Haahtela, Kimmo Saarinen, Pekka Ojalainen & Hannu Aarnio

This is a truly excellent new field guide, covering all European butterflies, incorporating bang up-to-date information and including excellent hints for field identification. At the price it is very difficult to think of a reason not to buy it!

Publisher's description: This authoritative Guide covers all European species. Showcasing the stunning macro photography of the authors and many European experts, this is a photographic field guide of both detailed information and visual elegance. The text provides essential clues for identification, confusion species, habitats, lifestyles and larval host plants, accompanied by range maps. The photographs have been carefully selected to allow identification in the field. This comprehensive Guide is the ideal companion for anyone interested in European butterflies.

The authors are a team of dedicated Finnish naturalists, who have travelled the length and breadth of Europe to study butterflies. Having already written several books on butterflies in Finnish, this is their first English-language title.

Pub Date: May 2011

Price: £16.99

ISBN: 978-14081-04743

384pp, pbk, 190x115mm

Important New Publication - Moths of Europe Vol. 1 (of 3)

Available in French and English versions.

1000 species covered in Vol. 1.



"N.A.P Editions presents to you the work of editing and illustration on the Moths of Europe realised by Patrice Leraut. Recognised as an uncontested specialist on moths of Europe, Patrice Leraut works at the Natural History Museum of Paris and is the author of many books on Lepidoptera. This is the first of 3 volumes"
HERE is a link to the English edition.


is now available


(Tom Tolman and Richard Lewington)


This is the standard and best book for identifying European butterflies. The successor to Higgins and Riley, it belongs on every bookshelf next to the Bible, the Complete Works of Shakespeare and Russell's History of Western Philosophy. The French version linked here is a translation of the previous edition.
BUTTERFLIES OF EUROPE (Tristan Lafranchis)

This is a completely new field guide and identification key (published in 2004) containing copious photographs, paintings and diagrams and a text specifically designed to enable identification of any living butterfly. So far as I know, it is the only field guide with a dichotomous key to every species and should really help with difficult identifications. I only bought my copy in January 2005 but suspect I shall carry it together with Tolman on all my future trips.


Much smaller and not quite so comprehensive in range and the forms illustrated, this is an excellent book to carry in the back pocket. For 99% of amateur butterfly watchers it is quite adequate and because of its portability it is an excellent second book to have.


I only have a French copy of this book but the photographs and layout are obviously the same. The photographs of all the European species are fantastic and a superb complement to the traditional field guides. The French text is also very useful - I presume it is largely a straight translation of the English.

This book is comprehensive and an excellent companion to the Collins Field Guide (above, also by Tolman). Like the Chinery photo-guide, it illustrates some species superbly and others less well (indeed, some species are described but have no illustration, for no obvious reason). This book has the illustrations, text and map for each species on the same page, making it easier to browse than Chinery's book.

LES PAPILLONS DE JOUR de France, Belgique
et Luxembourg et leurs chenilles (Tristan Lafranchis)

An excellent, comprehensive, photographic guide to the butterflies of France and neighbouring francophone countries (omitting Switzerland), containing a substantial and informative introduction and an identification key. The main text is in French but the key is in English.

This book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of every species as well as being a detailed atlas of British butterflies. The sections on ecology and conservation are excellent.

I don't have this book but it is very highly recommended in reviews.

I have a copy of this comprehensive photographic guide and thoroughly enoy browsing it. It is very similar in style to the Chinery book (above) but with the annoying quirk of prefering English names to scientific names in the plates, so when I want to check the relationship of an illustrated species to its European cousins I have to flick back and forth through the book.

Not butterfly books, but random things people have asked me to get or that I like...

The Mind's I
Collins Bird Guide
The Four Gospels (Collins Educational)