We sampled extant (and extinct) populations of Euphydryas aurinia to examine the phylogeography of the species in the UK. We were interested in whether the genetic structuring of populations reflects anything other than a single recent post-glacial colonization event. Four hundred base pairs of the mitochondrial Cytochrome b gene were sequenced from individuals from populations throughout the UK, as well as populations in France and Portugal and seven polymorphic allozyme loci resolved. The mean number of allozyme alleles per locus was 4 and isolation by distance was shown not to be a factor in the geographic structuring of genetic diversity either with or without the inclusion of the French data (Mantel statistic Z = 0.015 and 0.112 respectively, P>0.5). Cytochrome b nucleotide diversity (average number of nucleotide differences per site between two sequences) was low overall (0.003, n= 63) but mean cytochrome b gene diversity over all populations was 0.77. The presence of the Portuguese and French haplotype in Scottish populations indicates that the Iberian peninsula was likely to be one glacial refugium for E. aurinia populations. The pattern of mitochondrial DNA found in the UK could be interpreted in one of two ways: (1) two separate colonization events or (2) a single slow colonization event. Allele frequency distributions followed a similar geographical pattern as mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. An AMOVA assigned just 2.68% of allozyme genetic variation to the grouping tested, providing more support for the single colonization event theory.