In France, nearly 5,000 different species have been counted. The majority are species of moths.

The butterflies wings are covered with colorful scales attached to a transparent membrane. They are arranged in rows like the roof tiles. The number and size are variable depending on the species that can have more than a million. If you touch the wings of the butterflies, they break off and are not replaced as you can see under a microscope in this photo. The scales give the wings the colors and patterns that allow them to attract a mate and repel predators or hide by camouflaging themselves in nature.

Ecailles des ailes de papillons au microscope – Dessous des ailes antérieures de l’Ecaille Chinée Euplagia quadripunctaria (Poda, 1761) © F. Mallard

The collection of photos of butterfly species in France is ranked by the dominant color of the upper surface of the wings of adult butterflies (or imagos).

White wings

Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pieris napi (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758) © explorecology.com
Aporia crataegi (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Melanargia galathea (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard

Yellow wings

Gonepteryx rhamni (Linnaeus , 1758) © F. Mallard
Colias alfacariensis (Ribbe, 1905) © F. Mallard
Colias crocea (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785) © F. Mallard
Iphiclides podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Papilio machaon (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pseudoips prasinana (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard

Blue wings

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est Cupido-alcetas-1024x768.jpg.
Cupido alcetas (Hoffmannsegg, 1804) © F. Mallard
Cupido argiades (Pallas, 1771) © F. Mallard
Lycaena phlaeas (Linnaeus, 1760) © F. Mallard
Lycaena tityrus (Poda, 1761) © F. Mallard
Phengaris alcon (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) © F. Mallard
Phengaris arion (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Polyommatus icarus (Rottemburg, 1775) © F. Mallard

Orange wings

Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg, 1775) © F. Mallard
Melitaea cinxia (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Melitaea didyma (Esper, 1778) © F. Mallard
Ochlodes sylvanus (Esper, 1777) © F. Mallard
L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est Vanessa-atalanta-1024x768.jpg.
Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard

Red wings

Hemaris fuciformis (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Zygaena fausta (Linnaeus, 1767) © F. Mallard
Zygaena filipendulae (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Zygaena sp. © F. Mallard
Zygaena loti (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) © F. Mallard

Brown wings

Erynnis tages (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Maniola jurtina (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pyronia tithonus (Linnaeus, 1771) © F. Mallard
Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pararge aegeria (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Pyrausta aurata (Scopoli, 1763) © F. Mallard
Pyrgus malvoides (Elwes & Edwards, 1897) © F. Mallard
Acherontia atropos (Linnaeus, 1758) © F. Mallard
Limenitis reducta (Staudinger, 1901) © F. Mallard
Euplagia quadripunctaria (Poda, 1761) © F. Mallard