Apaturia ilia on a picture made by Chris van Swaay

Butterfly Monitoring in Europe – how you can help

The European Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (eBMS) was started in 2014 by Butterfly Conservation Europe and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. In December 2018 the eBMS was supported by a contract from the EU for a new project Assessing ButterfLies in Europe (ABLE).

So far 14 countries (18 partners) have joined and we are supporting the development of new schemes, focussing on countries of the Mediterranean and eastern Europe. Last year with the support of ABLE, 5 countries created their Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (BMS): Italy, Portugal, Austria, Hungary and Cyprus.

The eBMS database collects all the data from the different BMS in Europe and with the ultimate aim is to produce a suite of indicators for butterflies, much as the EBCC has done for birds.


The basic method in eBMS is to walk standardised butterfly transects once per week during the season during good weather conditions. This gives robust data on how populations are changing. However, walking a transect is quite a commitment, so we have developed a smartphone app so that recorders can conduct a 15 minute count of butterflies anywhere in Europe. The results are entered directly into the eBMS database, and are available to national experts. This is especially useful for monitoring in remote areas or in places where there are few recorders.


Map of butterfly monitoring schemes in Europe.


How you can help:

  1. Help walk transects in your country. Contact your country co-ordinator by checking the list at https://butterfly-monitoring.net/partners-ebms or, if no scheme exists, contact ebms@ceh.ac.uk
  2. Conduct some 15 minute counts of butterflies. Download the ButterflyCount app (for Apple and Android), register with your name, email address and password, and start counting. https://butterfly-monitoring.net/ebms-app

Via the eBMS website you can find the Transect Manual in different languages, Field Guides for identifying butterflies and more information about the network of eBMS.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Cristina Sevilleja cristina.sevilleja@vlinderstichting.nl

Martin Warren martin.warren@bc-europe.eu