There are probably millions of species of butterflies and some of them are of course quite rare. But these ten are the rarest of them all and if you do manage to see one you should consider yourself very lucky indeed. While they are not the biggest, nor the worlds most unusual butterflies, nor are they the most beautiful, they are probably the most important ones we should learn about…
The High Brown Fritillary Butterfly (Scientific name: Argynnis adippe)
I personally spent years of my life trying to increase numbers of this butterfly at my local butterfly Conservation area, but to no avail. While I have of course seen one they are located in such small areas that the chances of seeing one are millions to one. This is also down to their small size making them even harder to see.
The Grizzled Skipper Butterfly (Scientific name: Pyrgus malvae)
This species is so rare that for over 50 years it was thought to be extinct! But the good news is its numbers are now on the increase thanks to the National Trust and its efforts.
The California pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly (Scientific name: Battus philenor)
While I would like to say its increasing numbers are down to conservation efforts by a lot of people it is mostly down to one man called Tim Wong and his work with them. While its numbers are still rare his success raising them gives the species hope it never had before.
The Bhutan Glory Butterfly (Scientific name: Bhutanitis lidderdalii)
With its amazing tail, this is one of the most amazing butterflies of the swallowtail family, but sadly that also makes it one of the most collected and that has caused its numbers to drop drastically. While there are efforts to increase numbers it isn’t very much and could do with much more funding.
The Large Blue Butterfly (Scientific name: Phengaris arion)
This UK species is so rare that one man was actually jailed for collecting just 2 of them! While efforts to save this butterfly are on the rise it might be already too late for this once thought extinct species.
The Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly (Scientific name: Apodemia mormo langei)
This butterfly is rare not because of dwindling habitat or human intervention, but because it gets homesick! Found only in a small area of the Antioch Sand Dunes in California efforts to raise it elsewhere have failed and conservation of their species now takes place in their home turf.
The Tibetan Brimstone Butterfly (Scientific name: Gonepteryx amintha)
While numbers of this butterfly are hard to verify due to its colouring perfectly matching its environment it is thought to be the rarest butterfly in India and has only been seen a handful of times.
The Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly (Scientific name: Papilio aristodemus)
With numbers in the low hundreds, this butterfly is the rarest in Florida, USA and while there are some efforts to save them the increasing population and invasion of the Florida Keys is not in its favour.
The Island Marble Butterfly (Scientific name: Euchloe ausonides insulana)
There are new butterfly species found almost every day form all around the world, but when one is found in in a small patch of an island in Washington’s Puget Sound you know it is rare are rare can get and even though only one was found it was instantly put onto the endangered species list due to its unique markings.
The Miami Blue Butterfly (Scientific name: Cyclargus thomasi)
This might be the smallest butterfly on this list, but it is also the worlds rarest butterfly with numbers thought to be just in double digits (less than 100). The good news is there are several conservation areas set up all over the world to keep this little blue wonder from going extinct.