Of the Forest's 34 species of butterfly, the most spectacular, the Purple Emperor, is rare and difficult to see. Another speciality, the Silver-studded Blue, is widely but thinly spread over the heaths, the main food plants of its caterpillars being gorses and heathers. Commonly seen are the Small Heath, the Small Copper, the Common Blue, the Holly Blue, the Brimstone, the Silver Washed Fritilliary, the Specked Wood, the White Admiral, the Comma, the Red Admiral and the Peacock.
Silver-studded blue butterflies are on the wing in July and August where they flit around heathy rides and other areas of short heather. Their green caterpillars have a very close relationship with certain species of ant which provide protection in exchange for sugary secretions.
There are also numerous moths such as the emperor moth. This moth is one of the great entomological features of the Forest. The male, with its orange tinted lower wings and richly patterned brown and white forewings can be seen in its fast and twisting flight over the heathland in April and May.