Butterflies are among the most charismatic and alluring of invertebrate organisms. Their complex life histories and diverse habitat affiliations often produce regional variation and local adaptation among different populations. Unfortunately, numerous lepidopteran species are facing extinction. In this paper we address the importance of considering local adaptation in butterfly conservation and encourage investigations of regional specialization that may enhance the effectiveness of conservation strategies such as captive rearing, habitat restoration and the introduction of populations into new localities. We also give suggestions for dealing with problems arising from local adaptation in particular instances.