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FAMILIAR BUTTERFLIES OF
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[Scientific name noted if certain]
Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon
Clodius Parnassian, Parnassius clodius
Eastern Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes
Eversmann's Parnassian, Parnassius eversmanni
Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes
Old World Swallowtail, Papilio machaon
Oregon Swallowtail Papilio bairdii oregonia
Palamedes Swallowtail, Papilio palamedes
Phoebus Parnassian, Parnassius phoebus
Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor
Polydamas Swallowtail, Battus polydamas
Schaus' Swallowtail, Papilio aristodemus
Short-tailed Swallowtail, Papilio brevicauda
Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio troilus
Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus
Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio multicaudata
Zebra Swallowtail, Eurytides marcellus
Becker's White, Pieris chloridice beckerii
Cabbage White, Pieris rapae
California Dogface, Colias eurydice
Checkered White, Pieris protodice
Chiricahua Pine White, Neophasia terlootii
Cloudless Giant Sulphur, Phoebis sennae
Common Sulphur, Colias philodice
Creamy Marblewing, Euchloe ausonia
Dogface Butterfly, Colias cesonia
Dwarf Yellow, Nathalis iole
Falcate Orangetip, Anthocharis midea
Great Southern White, Ascia monuste
Little Yellow, Eurema lisa
Mead's Sulphur, Colias meadii
Olympia Marblewing, Euchloe olympia
Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme
Orange-barred Giant Sulphur, Phoebis philea
Pima Orangetip, Anthocharis pima
Pine White, Neophasia menapia
Queen Alexandra's Sulphur, Colias alexandra
Sara Orangetip, Anthocharis sara
Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe
Statira, Phoebis statira
Tailed Orange, Eurema proterpia
Veined White, Pieris napi
White Angled Sulphur, Anteos clorinde
Acmon Blue, Plebejus acmon
American Copper, Lycaena phlaeas
Atala, Eumaeus atala
Blue Copper, Lycaena heteronea
Bog Elfin, Callophrys lanoraieensis
Bramble Green Hairstreak, Callophrys affinis apama
Bronze Copper, Lycaena hyllus
Brown Elfin, Callophrys augustus
Cassius Blue, Leptotes cassius
Colorado Hairstreak, Hypaurotis crysalus
Cycad Butterfly, Eumaeus minijas
Early Hairstreak, Erora laeta
Eastern Pine Elfin, Callophrys niphon
Eastern Tailed Blue, Everes comyntas
Edith's Copper, Lycaena xanthoides editha
Edwards' Hairstreak, Satyrium edwardsii
Gorgon Copper, Lycaena gorgon
Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus
Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus
Great Gray Copper, Lycaena xanthoides
Greenish Blue, Plebejus saepiolus
Harvester, Feniseca tarquinius
Henry's Elfin, Callophrys henrici
High Mountain Blue, Plebejus glandon franklinii
Lupine Blue, Icaricia icariodes
Lustrous Copper, Lycaena cupreus
Mormon Metalmark, Apodemia mormo
Moss Elfin, Callophrys mossii
Nelson's Hairstreak, Callophrys nelsoni
Nivalis Copper, Lycaena nivalis
Northern Blue, Lycaeides idas
Olive Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus
Orange-bordered Blue, Lycaeides melissa
Orange-veined Blue, Lycaeides melissa ?
Purplish Copper, Lycaena helloides
Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops
Ruddy Copper, Lycaena rubidus
Shasta Blue, Lycaena melissa
Silver-banded Hairstreak, Chlorostrymon simaethis
Silvery Blue, Glaucopsyche lygdamus
Sonoran Blue, Philotes sonorensis
Spring Azure, Celastrina argiolus
Swamp Metalmark, Calephelis muticum
Tailed Copper, Lycaena arota
American Painted Lady, Cynthia virginiensis
Amymone, Cystineura amymone ?
Atlantis Fritillary, Speyeria atlantis
Baltimore, Euphydryas phaeton
Banded Daggerwing, Timetes chiron ?
Bog Fritillary, Proclossiana eunomia
Bordered Patch, Chlosyne lacinia
Buckeye, Precis coenia
California Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis californica
California Sister, Limenitis bredowii
Compton Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis vau-album
Crimson-patched Longwing, Synchloe janalis ?
Diana, Speyeria diana
Edwards' Fritillary, Speyeria edwardsii
Eighty-eight Butterfly, Diaethria clymena
Empress Louisa, Asterocampa sp.
Fatima, Anartia fatima
Florida Leafwing, Anaea floridalis
Florida Purplewing, Eunica tatila tatilista
Gillette's Checkerspot Leanira, Chlosyne leanira
Goatweed Butterfly, Anaea andria
Gray Comma, Polygonia comma
Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele
Gulf Fritillary, Dione vanillae
Hackberry Butterfly, Asterocampa celtis
Harris' Checkerspot, Chlosyne harrisii
Julia, Anthocharis sara julia ?
Lorquin's Admiral, Limenitis lorquini
Malachite, Siproeta stelenes bipalgiata
Meadow Fritillary, Boloria bellona
Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Aglais milberti
Mimic, Hypolimnas misippus
Monarch, Danaus plexippus
Mountain Emperor, Chlorippe montis
Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa
Nokomis Fritillary, Speyeria nokomis
Painted Crescent, Phyciodes picta
Painted Lady, Cynthia cardui
Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos
Phaon Crescent, Phyciodes phaon
Queen, Danaus gilippus
Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
Red-spotted Purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Regal Fritillary, Speyeria idalia
Ruddy Daggerwing, Marpesia petreus
Satyr Anglewing, Polygonia satyrus
Silver-bordered Fritillary, Boloria selene
Snout Butterfly, Libytheana bachmanii
Tawny Emperor, Asterocampa clyton
Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia
Viceroy, Limenitis archippus
Waiter, Marpesia coresia
West Coast Lady, Vanessa carye
White Admiral, Limenitis arthemis
White Peacock, Anartia jatrophae
Zebra, Heliconius charitonia
Arctic Grayling, Oeneis bore
Chryxus Arctic, Oeneis chryxus
Common Alpine, Erebia epipsodea
Creole Pearly Eye, Lethe creola
Eyed Brown, Lethe eurydice
Gemmed Satyr, Cyllopis gemma
Georgia Satyr, Neonympha areolatus
Little Wood Satyr, Megisto cymela
Mitchells' Marsh Satyr, Neonympha mitchelli ?
Northwest Ringlet, Coenonympha sp.
Ochre Ringlet, Coenonympha sp
Pearly Eye, Lethe portlandia
Prairie Ringlet, Coenonympha sp
Red Satyr, Megisto rubricata
Red-disked Alpine, Erebia discoidalis
Common Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus communis
Dakota Skipper, Hesperia dacotae
Horace's Duskywing, Erynnis horatius
Lace-winged Roadside Skipper, Amblyscirtes
Least Skipperling, Ancycloxypha numitor
Long-tailed Skipper, Urbanus proteus
Sandhill Skipper, Polites sabuleti
Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus tityrus
Whirlabout, Polites vibex
Yehl Skipper, Poanes yehl
Yucca Giant Skipper, Megathymus yuccae
Peterson & Pyle (1993) noted that, Watching butterflies is a visual activity; like birdwatching or birding. it trains the eye. But we can usually approach butterflies more closely than we can birds. We do not need binoculars to see them well.
Most of you who are fascinated by butterflies, if you live in the eastern or central parts of the United States or Canada, will want to own A Field Guide to the Butterflies. Or, if you live in the West.... A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. These guides offer shortcuts in recognizing even the most confusing butterflies, using little arrows that point to the special features or marks by which one kind of butterfly may be known from another. Some, like the Monarch, are readily distinguished from all other butterflies except for one-- its mimic, the Viceroy. In the Field Guide an arrow points to the black line across the lower wing, a line that the Monarch lacks.
Even a person who is colorblind can become skilled at identifying most butterflies by the shape of the wing, the pattern, venation, and even the manner of flight; but, for most of us, color is the first step....
Many groups of butterflies are basically similar in color. Sulphurs are usually yellow, fritillaries orange, blues blue, wood nymphs brown. Basic color is a useful first clue when putting names to them, but color alone is not enough to identify most butterflies on the species level. Most sulphurs, for example, are yellow. You must also look at other details to narrow your butterfly down to a Common Sulphur, a Dogface, and Orange Sulphur, or whatever. Nevertheless, color is step number one.
There are literally hundreds of species of butterflies in North America..... Some of the most familiar butterflies are those that feed on the nectar offered by the common roadside flowers.
Parts of a Butterfly. The diagram shows the makeup of a typical butterfly. You need to become familiar with its parts for identification. Every butterfly has four wings, each with an upper side (above) and an underside (below). The wings may be held in an open or closed position, depending upon what a butterfly is doing-- basking in the sun, hiding from predators, or courting, for example. The colors on the wings come from scales. These are tiny shingles that cover both butterflies and moths, setting them apart from all other insects. Some of these scales are colored by pigments, others are shaped so they bend the light like a prism to create iridescent or metallic colors. Because scales fall off or fade as a butterfly ages, its colors may change somewhat. The patterns on the wings serve many functions-- camouflage (such as false eyespots to fool predators), attracting mates, and so on. These patterns may vary from place to place and often differ between sexes.
Peterson & Pyle (1993) refer to the upper- and undersides of the wings; to the base, cell, tip, and margins or borders of wings, and to forewings and hindwings. All these are labeled on the diagram. The wings and legs attach to the thorax, the middle of the body between the head and the abdomen. On the head are the large, many-faceted eyes, the knobbed antennae (moths have pointed ones), and the coiled, drinking-straw tongue or proboscis. Usually the body parts are brown or black, but they may be covered with colorful, furry scales.
Life History. Butterflies have four life stages. The adults mate and the female lays eggs, which hatch into tiny caterpillars or larvae. These, feeding on particular kinds of host plants, grow and shed their skins. Finally, out comes the chrysalis or pupa. Within this case, one of the greatest miracles in nature takes place as the larval material rearranges itself to become the adult butterfly. When it is ready, the butterfly emerges, spreads and dries its wings, and begins the cycle once more.
Identification. Just like birds, most butterflies possess field marks-- special features that will help you in telling them apart..... Other facts-- such as locality, plant association, and flight period-- help in identification as well.
Observing Butterflies. First you must find butterflies. The most important factor is sunshine. While some butterflies come out on cloudy days, most are sun worshipers. Different species fly at different times, from early spring to late autumn, and a few even fly in midwinter as long as the days are sunny and warm. Butterflies seek flowers, so you must do the same. Not all gardens and wildflowers have nectar that is equally attractive to butterflies, so you will want to learn which flowers in your area are their favorites. Phlox, thistle, milkweed, butterfly bush, and dandelions are always good. Butterflies also love tree sap, rotting fruit, carrion, and animal scat. Damp patches of sand or mud attract butterflies-- swallowtails, sulphurs, blues, and skippers are avid mud-puddlers. When you can identify the plant on which the butterfly's caterpillar feeds, you have another good clue to finding it.
Having once found butterflies, you then must approach them very gently. Move quietly and make no quick movements. This way you can creep very close-- close enough to take a butterfly onto your finger or to observe it with a hand lens. Binoculars are useful for spotting butterflies that are too high, far, or wary to approach.
Butterfly Diversity. Diversity refers to how many different kinds there are. In North America, butterflies are about as diverse as birds, much less so than flowers. Most that accompany this section are common species. Others are especially beautiful or interesting for their natural history. Their colors and patterns range from brilliant and striking to soft and simple.
Scientists do not all agree on how many butterfly families there are. Within the brush-footed family there are several groups that others consider to be separate families. Regardless of family names, you will quickly see how all longwings fit together but differ from fritillaries, for example. It is more important to get to know the butterfly itself as a living creature than to worry about classification. With common sense and open eyes, you will gain a feel for evolutionary relationships among butterflies. Observing them and coloring their pictures are useful ways of getting started.
Butterfly Conservation and Delight. Many butterflies can live only in certain places..... If those places are destroyed, the butterflies die out. .....several endangered species that prove this point-- Schaus' Swallowtail, Atala, Mitchell's Marsh Satyr, and the Dakota Skipper. Rarities like these should be collected sparingly, if at all. But for the most part, it is habitat destruction rather than collecting that threatens rare butterflies. If you go on to study insects in depth, you will probably form a collection. With care and common sense, insect collecting need not be damaging and it is necessary for the progress of entomology (the scientific study of insects). But most butterfly lovers would prefer to enjoy butterflies alive. They do so by watching, photographing, or gardening for butterflies.
The largest and some of the most colorful butterflies belong to the family Papiliionidae, which includes the swallowtails. Most swallowtails have tails on their hind wings that serve to distract birds from the butterfly's body. The family also includes the very unique waxy white and red-spotted parnassians, which live in mountains of the northern states. Swallowtails occur in most parts of the world.
This butterfly occurs in the eastern United States, its name coming from the caterpillar's host plant. Often found in fields and gardens, especially near woods. Here it gathers nectar on bush honeysuckle. The velvety black wings and body are yellow -spotted. Two rows of bright orange spots enclose starry clouds of blue or green scales on the hindwings.
Small greenish spots run around the edges of the wings. The forewings are jet black, but the hindwings with their tails shimmer with a brilliant blue or blue-green iridescence. The caterpillars feed on poisonous pipevines, which give the adults an awful taste. Birds avoid them and several other butterflies that have come to mimic the Pipevine. The example here is on Japanese honeysuckle.
Common in every eastern city, this big bright swallowtail prefers phlox and thistle for nectar. A similar species lives throughout the western United States. Both are lemon-yellow with black tiger-stripes. The underside, as shown in the drawing, has a field of blue patches along the outer part. Orange spots run along the outer edge of the hindwing. Here it is on garden phlox.
This species is especially abundant in the southeastern woods of the United States. Palamedes has very broad wings enabling it to fly well. The lower surface is generally dark brown with yellow spots. A row of orange chevrons crosses the hindwing, each lined with brilliant blue. Orange-red spots edge the wing to below the long, rounded tail.
This is the largest butterfly in North America, reaching almost 6 inches across. The huge, saddled caterpillar, known as the Orange Dog, feeds on citrus. It resembles the dropping of a bird, so that predators usually avoid it. The wings are mostly black with yellow bands above, yellow with black bands below. Both sides have an orange spot near the tip of the body, with blue crescents. Two Giants are shown feeding on the nectar of lilac.
This species has the most pronounced tail of all North American swallowtails. Black stripes alternate with creamy white bands, and a scarlet streak crosses the middle of the hindwing. A pair of red spots, then two blue ones, lead down to the long tail. This striking butterfly is found only where pawpaw grows as the larvae feed on this plant.
This species and its relative differ from the Tigers by having yellow bands across black wings instead of black stripes on yellow. Blue spots rim the hindwings, leading down to the black-pupilled orange spot inward from the black tails. Anise Swallowtails commonly seek mates on mountaintops.
It sports a pair of tails on each hindwing. The bright yellow wings and abdomen carry narrow black stripes. A field of blue liens inside the marginal yellow spots, and the two spots below the tails are red-orange. Two-tailed Tigers soar through western canyons where wild cherries provide nectar and host-plant forage. The picture shows one visiting teasel.
This species occurs only in the Maritime region of Canada. Like other black swallowtails, its larval host plants are in the carrot family. Its color is very black, with yellow spots, giving each spot an orange flush toward the outer edge. There is some blue between the yellow spot rows of the hindwing.
This is a common swallowtail in gardens, meadows and wetlands of the Rockies. Bright orange spots parallel the yellow spots below, with clouds of blue scales between them. Only the corner spot near the body is orange above. It occurs commonly in gardens around carrots.
Sometimes called the Ponceanus Swallowtail, it is an endangered species. Destruction of its tropical hardwood hammock habitat in Florida has brought it near extinction. Efforts have been made to save it. The general color below is mustard yellow with brown bands. The large patch on the hindwing is rusty-red, lined by sky-blue on its outer edge. It is shown feeding on nectar of red hibiscus.
Mostly an arctic butterfly in North America, it is common in Europe and Asia. The black wings have broad yellow bands and are peppered with yellow scales near the body. A row of blue-scaled patches runs around the hindwing above the black tails, ending in a large orange spot that is rimmed with black and capped with blue. Also called Artemisia Swallowtail
A denizen of the hot basalt canyons of the Columbia River, this beauty is the official Oregon State Insect. It has the same pattern as the Anise and Old World Swallowtails, but its bands and spots are deeper yellow. The orange spot with a blue cap on the hindwing has a flattened black dot in it. The dot is round on the Anise and missing in the Old World.
Although the parnassians only slightly resemble swallowtails, they are indeed closely related. Phoebus is waxy white in color, with charcoal edges to the forewing, black spots near the base, and two or three ruby spots in between. Each hindwing, inwardly edged with black, bears a bright red spot near the middle.
Also called the Gold Rim because its black-velvet wings are neatly margined with yellow spots above. The underside shows red spots on wings and body. These are thought to warn birds away because the Polydamas acquires the bad taste of pipevines, its caterpillars' host plants. Shown here feeding on lantana nectar.
This butterfly occurs only in Alaska and Northwestern Canada in America. It is the only yellow parnassian. The male is brighter yellow with two red spots on each wing below, while the female is paler and has its red spots running together into a streak on the underside of the hindwing.
Parnassians occur in the western United States. Clodius flies lower in the mountains than Phoebus and differs by lacking any red spots on the forewing. It is scarlet appearing only in the central spots of the hindwings. Otherwise it is mainly milky white with black spots. Females are dusky and largely transparent, and have more red spots underneath. Caterpillars feed on bleeding hearts.
The family Pieridae includes many common and familiar butterflies. Sulphurs tend to live on plants in the pea family, while most of the whites have mustard family host plants. Several pierids migrate in huge numbers, often out to sea. While some are farm and garden pests, whites and sulphurs add a great deal of color to the world. The marblewings and orangetips also in this family are among our most beautiful butterflies.
An autumn flier in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona, this white occurs around the ponderosa pines. Its larvae feed on the needles. The males appear distinctly different from the females. The underside of the male is white with black veins and large black forewing patch. The female is Halloween-colored: bright reddish orange with black veins, wing margins and forewing cells.
Another browser on pine needles, the Pine White is found throughout much of the western United States. Its upper side is all chalky white except for an intricate pattern of black around the outer part of the forewing. The underside of the female hindwings is wreathed in red. During some years this species erupts into vast flights of millions of individuals.
This butterfly occurs over much of the Northern Hemisphere. Individuals can vary greatly in appearance. It is a typical spring Veined White with heavily marked veins below. The veins appear olive-gray against a white background. Also called Mustard White after the family of its chosen host plants. One of these is cardamon, on which it is shown nectaring.
It receives its name from the hooked wing tip, which is surrounded by orange in the male. Otherwise white above with a black spot in the forewing cell. The female is shown with her underside in view. She is delicately but beautifully marbled with yellowish green scales. It is found in spring in the East around cresses, mustards and nectar flowers.
This large butterfly of the Southeast is mostly white, with black triangles pointed in along the forewing margins. A very dark form of the females occurs, most often in summer. Usually fairly numerous, the Great Southern White at times builds up into huge masses of butterflies which move out in search of fresh food.
Occurs in every garden where plants of the cabbage family are grown. They flutter about these plants in summer. A European species, it was introduced over 100 years ago to North America. Ever since it has spread to nearly every part of the continent. Mostly a pure, creamy white, it has black spots on the forewings, charcoal forewing tips, and a yellow underside hue.
In flight this species appears as two little orange flags fluttering on the breeze. There is a white part connecting them. A delicate spring butterfly of the West, it lives from the sea to the high mountains. The male has milky white wings with brilliant orange tip bordered with black. He sips nectar from wild strawberry. The female has pale yellow wings, also with orange tips, and her hindwing undersides are delicately marbled with grass-green scales.
This is a common butterfly of open spaces. Through the seasons it varies greatly in appearance, but it always has a white base with darker markings. Females tend to be more heavily spotted than males. Marks on the underside of the forewings are charcoal-black, while those on the hindwing are olive-green. The drawing shows it taking nectar from spreading dogbane.
It is found mainly in western mountains. The top of the wings are creamy white with black markings near the tips. The undersides have a spring-green marbled pattern against a white background. The butterfly's large round eye is bright green, and the furry scales on its head have a greenish sheen.
This attractive butterfly inhabits the hot, dry dusty sagebrush desert of North America. It is clear white above with a crisp pattern of black marks. The forewing cell spot stands out as a thick black square. These spots are repeated below, along with a pronounced network of yellow-green scales around the veins.
This species inhabits the open plains and Prairie of North America. The narrow, rounded wings are linen-white, with a sparse network of marbled yellow-green bars crossing the hindwing beneath. A delicate rosy flush radiates out from the base of some individuals.
This bright butterfly, common in summer over much of North America, has followed the spread of alfalfa. Hence it is often known as the Alfalfa Butterfly. The picture shows a female upper side, sunny orange with yellow-spotted black borders, black spot on forewing, and a red one on the hindwing. The males's underside shows orange yellow with a row of brown dots and a silver spot. Drawing shows a pair on the flower of red clover.
The name comes from the poodle shape on the forewing of this California State Butterfly. The face shimmers with a rosy purple, surrounded by inky black. A rich shade of tangerine orange colors the hindwings. It is also known as the Flying Pansy.
Also called the Dainty Sulphur, this species is a strong migrant. It flies northward in spring, sometimes hundreds of miles. The dark form female is pictured. Lemon-yellow above with black tips and edging to the forewing, olive-green below except for orange inner forewing and dark marks.
Butterflies probably got their name from a species such as this. The upperside is truly buttery, with a coal-black margin. Below it resembles the Orange Sulphur, with which it shares the alfalfa fields.
This is similar to the California Dogface, except the poodle-heads are orange or else the whole upperside is bright yellow with black borders. With a yellow forewing and green hindwing below, it resembles a leaf when at rest. It is common in the California deserts.
This large sulphur deserves the name. It is clear sulphurous yellow above. The underside has a greenish tone and varying amounts of reddish dots and speckling. Great numbers gather in the South during some years, then make mass movements toward the North. Some individuals reach destinations well beyond their breeding range.
This species in fact does not seem sleepy when chased, shifting into a rapid zigzag flight. The upperside is deep burnt orange with irregular black borders. The orange carries over to the forewing below. The underside of the hindwing is golden, with rusty speckling ranging from light bands to heavy clouds.
A sulphur of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas. The very bright yellow wings of the male are set off by sharp black margins. The female is a paler shade of yellow, and has only a bit of charcoal dusting around the forewing tips. Underneath, this butterfly is colored a cool green. It perches on a host plant, the golden banner.
This species is common in the Sonora Desert in early springtime, where it feeds on wildflowers. The Pima is as colorful as any flower. The combination of bright yellow wings with intensely orange wingtips gives a memorable impression. The orange patches are bounded by black markings, and the hindwings are green-marbled below.
This species obtained its name from a lepidopterist who discovered it in Colorado. This brilliant sulphur flies in high mountain tundra. The wings are colored deep orange with jet black borders. The eyes are green, and the furry scales around the head are bright pink, as is the fringe of the wings. The showy daisy is a favorite nectar flower.
Also called the Proterpia Orange. The tails are longer in winter generations of this southern species. The male underside, as shown, should be colored golden-orange with rusty mottling. The top edge of the forewings is banded with black above. Shown nectaring on butterfly weed.
One of the tropical giant sulphurs, Statira just makes it into the southern tips of the United States. The upperside is largely yellow, with a broad white outer border. The underside is yellow, with white crossing the middle of the forewing. Sometimes seen migrating in great numbers out at sea.
Like its relatives, this big beauty flies rapidly but dallies at flowers or to lay eggs on sennas. The upperside is rich lemon-yellow, with a bright orange bar on the forewing. Any combination of mottled pink and orange, with pearly spots in the middle of the hindwing, may be shown by the variable underside. The female is deep yellow with black marks on an orange band across the bottom of the hindwing.
A common immigrant from the South along the East Coast, the Little Yellow is found in all kinds of open places. This mating pair show their undersides-- yellow with some black over scaling, rusty smudges, and a sooty mark near the upper edge of the hindwing.
A very large, unique butterfly, also called Clorinde. It is resident in Texas but strays northward. The broad wings are like white cotton sheets. Each has a black spot in the cell, ringed with red. A bright yellow bar stands out on the forewing, extending from the upper edge toward the middle.
Mostly small and fast-flying, the gossamer wings tend toward metallic colors and iridescence. The Gossamer Wing family Lycaenidae includes hairstreaks and elfins, coppers, blue, the carnivorous Harvester, and the metalmarks (sometimes put in their own family, ARiodinidae). Most people overlook these tiny fliers, but they are well worth paying attention to for their brilliance and fascinating behavior.
Its other name, Great Blue Hairstreak, may be more suitable. The upperside is the deepest, most brilliant iridescent blue, on the body as well as the wings. A black border on the wings and greenish reflections may show, especially in the spots near the long tails. Our largest hairstreak. Its caterpillars feed on mistletoe, parasites of oak trees.
A beautiful Bahamian butterfly. Once common in Florida, Atala became nearly extinct in the United States due to habitat changes and development. Just a few small colonies are known now, where the larvae feed on coontie. On the underside, the wings are matte black with several rows of sapphire blue spots and a large fire-engine red spot that extends onto the abdomen as well. The upperside is black on the edges and veins, otherwise bright shiny green with a green thorax and red abdomen.
This close cousin of Atala looks like it except for having more black above, the iridescence bluer green, and the hindwing row of spots lime green. Beneath, the fringe and spots are blue-green, except for the red patch and abdomen. Found in North America only in Texas.
Famous for its rarity and mystery. Some collectors believe it lives mostly in the canopy of the eastern hardwood
forest. The basic color beneath is a cool bluish green. All of the spots as well as the wing fringes are brick-red with white edges.
Sometimes called Sarita. The chartreuse wings are crossed by silvery-white bands. Farther out there is a wavy chestnut brown area, next a row of frosty brown patches, finally the white wing fringes and white-tipped brown tails.
One of a number of green hairstreaks in the West. The wings below are bright apple green with a warm brown band across the forewing and small white spots on the hindwing. Caterpillars feed on lotus and buckwheat, become butterflies in springtime.
Here is a hairstreak of the East, often common around its host, red cedars. The complex pattern of the underside involves a bright olive-green background crossed by rows of clear white bars. Regions around the bars are reddish brown, and the outerband of spots is frosty.
Different groups of Nelson's Hairstreaks feed on different western cedars and may be separate species. Their coloration varies also. The one shown is deep purplish with a flush of rusty through much of the forewing, white bars, black dots, frosty margin of the hindwing.
A large spectacular hairstreak, the Colorado darts around scrub oaks in the Southwest. Deep amethyst purple covers the upperside except for black margins, a black bar outside the forewing cell and bright orange spots in the corner of each wing. The underside is warm bray-brown crossed by black-edged white bands, with orange spots and a band of sky blue around the outer edge.
Common countrywide, with a broad diet from hops to beans. The wings range from a clear, dove gray to dark slate gray, above and below. Rows of white bars are edged inwardly with black.. Just in from each tail lies a red-orange spot with a black pupil. The tails and bright spot distract birds from the head and body of the hairstreak.
This pretty hairstreak abounds in the South. Gray-brown wings are crossed by a broad red band, lined with white and with white hoops in the thickest red part. Black spots run around the rim, and the one between the tails is often ringed with red. A blue patch lies below the longer tail.
Here two of these active butterflies are jostling for territory. Most of the wing surface is tan, and most of the markings are black with white edges. Inside the fringe a row of red-orange diamonds runs down to the tails. Below the tails shine a sky-blue patch and a bright red streak.
Like a very similar western species, this elfin feeds as a caterpillar on pine needles. The colors below are different shades of brown and gray, with white streaks. Brown triangles point inward from the frosted and checkered margins.
Although quite widespread in the East, this little butterfly is not common. It is strongly two-toned below. The inner part of the hindwing is chocolate, that of the forewing cinnamon, and the outer half of both is toasty brown.
The western elfin was named for a Mr. Moss, but it also frequents mossy rock faces and outcrops. The caterpillars feed on stonecrop. The inner part of the wings is dark brown, the outer part reddish brown, margin is white. Shown here on pearly everlasting..
This species occurs in moist, peaty places with Bog Coppers and Bog Fritillaries. The zigzag markings below are smudged, and dark brown patches alternate with cocoa bands. White scales run through the middle and margin of the underside. Shown here nectaring on pearly everlasting.
Both the larvae and adults frequent blueberry flowers. Common in many kinds of places over much of North America, Brown Elfins vary in color. The one shown is dark brown above and mahogany, reddish brown, below. The inner half is darker than the outer part.
This species is also found in Europe, where in England it is known as the Small Copper. The forewing above is fiery orange with dark brown spots and borders. The pattern is reversed on the hindwing, with red spots and bands against dusky brown. The coloration beneath is similar except the orange is paler and the brown lighter and grayer with inky black spots.
The most brilliant of our coppers is wholly copper except for tiny black dots and narrow black and white margins. The female is duller and spottier. As it flies, the male Ruddy flashes copper and silver because the underside is silky white. It predominates in the western half of North America.
Shown here basking with its wings partly open, as is common posture for coppers. This species has orange tails with orange and black markings next to them, like hairstreaks. This male's upper forewing is brown. The underside has alternating bands of cream and cocoa-color, and a broad orange streak through the forewing.
The upperside is deep brown with purplish highlights, black dots and a flaming orange zigzag band around the edge of the hindwings. The orange border repeats below, and the dots are black, against the silvery white hindwing and the clear, pale orange forewing with its light gray edge. A favorite habitat is the swamplands of the East.
This is a relative of the coppers with a unique life history. Its caterpillars are predators of certain woolly aphids. The adults may visit the aphids also for honeydew. The irregular, interior area of the forewings and the lower halves of the hindwings are pumpkin orange: the rest is black, with thin white fringes.
The color is bluer than any true blue, yet its wing veins and other structures prove it to be an unusual kind of copper. With the exception of the thin white fringe and black border, the male's entire upper surface shimmers metallic blue. There are also greenish and silvery highlights, which are the effects of prism like scales. This is strictly a western species.
An alternative name is the Lilac-bordered Copper, referring to the broad, irregular band of soft lilac-purple that surrounds the underside of the hindwing. Orange crescents run through the lilac field. The rest of the lower surface is a rich orange yellow, with black spots. Nivalis refers to snow. The insect inhabits the cool mountains of the West.
A California copper that is associated with wild buckwheat, as are many gossamer-winged butterflies. The male is purplish brown, but the female shown here has a complicated pattern of pale yellow-orange, black spots, and dusky brown borders and patches. Light orange hoops run along the lower margin of the hindwing. Shown here nectaring on false dandelion.
With the proper lighting, the brown wings of the male shine with a stunning irridescent purple. The forewing borders are brown, the hind wing edging is orange and dots are black. The underside of the hindwing is cocoa-brown with orange zigzags, the forewing light orange, with brown dots over all. A common adaptable species whose larvae feed on docks. Adults visit flowers such as balsamroot.
Edith was the sweetheart of an early lepidopterist, who named this pretty butterfly for her. It lives in the West, occurring in both Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks. The female shown is dusky brown with pale orange patches bearing black spots. A pale orange pattern encirciles the bottom edge of the hindwing. Shown here probing forget-me-not.
Except for a black dot on the forewing, a touch of orange on the hindwing crescents, and the thin white fringe, the Great Gray Copper is just what the name implies. The shade of gray is dark and brownish. It is most abundant in the Midwest where it is found near wtercourses and milkweed flowers.
A very metallic and bright little copper, and one of a number of butterflies that occur mostly on high mountain rockslides above timberline. It is all clear, fiery orange-copper except for black dots and a black border with a white fringe.
The color is not truly blue but deep brown, its veins lined with coppery orange scales. A broad orange band along the lower part of the hindwings has black spots running into the blackish border, itself surrounded by a pale fringe. This species occurs only in the mountains of Southern California.
A favorite herald of spring. An early-season female is shown with deep violet-blue and prominent black borders on the forewings and marginal spots on the hindwings. As is true with many blues, its fringe is whitish. Because its caterpillars feed on buds and blowers of many kinds of native shrubs, the Spring Azure occurs very widely. Shown here examining Indian plum.
There is also a western species. In both the wings are the clearest deep silvery blue above on the males, though the female is gray. The male shown also has black spots around the edge, the one nearest the little tail being orange-capped. Beneath, the color is light gray, with spots of charcoal and two of orange by the tail. The body, fringe, and tails are white. Often found around clover.
Another name is the Emerald-studded Blue, because of shiny green-blue spots on the underside. The one shown is a male, bright blue with black borders. Broad, wavy, orange bands with black spots line the hindwings. Feeds on wild buckwheat over a wide range in North America.
The black body and brown wings of the female shown are speckled with metallic blue scales. Orange borders are scalloped with brown dots, edged by a white fringe. It is also known as the Melissa Blue, and a famous endangered race in New York State is called the Karner Blue.
The host plant is mainly wild buckwheat and not lupine. The silvery gray underside has black spots, orange hoops with black caps enclosing gemlike blue dots. The iridescent blue upperside is black-margined and white-fringed with orange hoops.
This wanderer of the Deep South has a complicated pattern interplay of gray-brown and cream. The two largest spots are black with blue centers and orange rims.
A mountain-loving species whose name comes from its range around the Northern Hemisphere. It haunts trailsides and creeks, nectaring as shown in the drawing on yellow wild daisies and other wild flowers. The color is deep indigo blue with a narrow black border and white fringe and body fur.
Found in the high country and arctic climates of North America. It is colored above a gray-brown, shot with pale blue, while the warm gray underside has outstanding white spots. The fringes are white with borders and a discal spot black.
A light shiny blue uniquely marked with orange patches on the fore- and hindwings, black spots and checkered fringes. It inhabits the mountains and deserts of California and Baja California. It is memorable for its lovely pattern.
Also called the Hawaiian Blue, this is one of only two butterflies native to those islands. The pure grass-green underside and contrasting deep blue upperside with black edging make it very attractive in flight, but difficult to find at rest.
The male has bright blue wings with greenish reflections. Shown here is a female, with her soft brown, black-dotted underside. She is perching on white clover, a common host plant.
This female's wings are dark coppery brown with white fringes and orange zigzags, and with bright blue scales invading from the blue furry thorax outward. Shasta Blues fly high in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. They are also found on prairies, but are scarce in between.
This species is among the very bluest of blues. It flies over much of the North American continent, where it occurs in man y habitats. The color is a light, sky blue with metallic highlights, black edge, and white fuzzy fringe.
The Pixie does not look like the other metalmarks although it belongs with them. It is mostly jet black and sports a bright red spot near the base of each wing, a row of scarlet around the hindwings, and yellow forewing tips. It is especially common in Texas.
Metalmarks are sometimes placed in their own family, Riodinidae. The Ares is brown with black spots, its hindwings orange-flushed. It flies in the Southwest, and like other metalmarks, it frequently perches with the wings spread out.
A tropical butterfly that may reach to South Texas. Its body and wings are metallic blue with black bars and spots, and its eyes are yellow. The white fringe is checkered with black.
A brightly colored small butterfly of the drier parts of the American West. It varies greatly, but is typically dark brown, banded with deep orange, spotted and checkered with clear white. Shown here visiting western wallflower. The wild buckwheat is a favorite host plant of the larvae as well as a nectar source for adults.
Found commonly in swamplands of the East, it is one of three northeastern metalmark species. Shown is the group's typical metallic silvery bars. It is otherwise a rusty brown crossed by rows of dark brown dots and marks.
The Nymphalidae is the largest and most diverse butterfly family, numerous all over the world. They range from small to large, and most are bright and colorful, with striking patterns. Some, such as tortoiseshells, hibernate through the winter as adults; others migrate. Traditionally, milkweeds (including the Monarch) longwings and snouts have been placed in separate families Danaidae, Heliconidae and Libytheidae. But they all have the tiny forelegs that give the family its name and show other signs that they are related.
The Baltimore is the official State Butterfly of Maryland. It has black wings with red-orange spots near the base and all around the edges, white spots and crescents in between. Shown here on turtlehead, favorite food plant of the caterpillar.
This is the only checkerspot of the West which is easy to identify. Its broad, orange-red bands alternating with rows of white spots and black filling make its appearance unique. Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are favorite areas.
The mountain forms and males are darker than females and checkerspots of the dry basin and range country of the West. The ground color of the male is dark brown, its spots vanilla except for the outermost ones, which are orange. Orange bars occur near the forewing tip. The female's underside forewing is light orange, with yellow spots. The hindwing shows a black chain and veins against a creamy yellow background.
This species haunts moist meadows in the Northeast where irises and asters grow. Shown here visiting an aster, the butterfly has broad black borders, orange spot-bands across the middle, and black and orange networks near the base. Frequently numerous.
The name comes from the pale crescent-shaped marking along the outer edge of the hindwing below. Here shown on a favorite nectar source, the beggar's tick. The rest of the hindwing is pale cheesy colored with brown marks and orange spots. The forewing is orange with black and yellow patches.
A familiar butterfly, known for its habit of flying out at other insects. It frequently visits mud and flowers. Here it is shown taking nectar from showy daisy. The amount of blackish marking varies with sex and season, but the open orange middles of the wings typify most Pearl Crescents. Frequently seen in sunny, flowery places during summer.
This crescent is shown visiting alfalfa for nectar. The hindwing is pale, clear yellow with a dark mark by the crescent. The forewing is orange painted with black and white patches and a yellow tip. These bright crescents fly along ditches and roadsides, laying their eggs on asters.
Its black wings holds a small galaxy of white spots. On the hindwings, great scarlet patches occur. Like many other butterflies resident in Mexico and farther south, the Janais patch colonizes southern Texas until a cold winter drives it back. It is attracted to the sweet nectar of yellow and pink lantana.
This is a checkerspot. Its forewing has orange spots alternating with black, and a row of white dots along the edge. Black lines encircle the white spots and bigger red patches on the hindwings. The Definite Patch lives in thorny places in the Southwest.
Also called Scudder's Patched Butterfly, it is widespread and common in the Southwest and Mexico. The patch varies from place to place, the one shown here being a female from Texas that is visiting a favorite food plant, the sunflower. Her borders are black with an outer row of yellow spots, an inner row of white dots. There is a broad area of fiery orange, and black bases with orange spots.
A large and rather rare fritillary of the southwestern mountains. Because it occurs around moisture in generally arid areas, drainage and water diversion threaten its survival. The female shown is taking nectar from a thistle, a favorite activity of the fritillaries. The wings are olive green, banded with pale yellow toward the outside. The spots in rows are shining silver, and the forewing is flushed with pink at the base.
The upperside of the male and underside of the female are shown in the drawing.. Both are nectaring on scarlet cardinal flower. The male is brilliant golden-orange, with a intricate pattern of black spots. The female's hindwing is rich reddish-brown with a yellow outer band, the Aspangles being the silvered spots scattered across the wing and running around its rim. A common species in the East and a favorite with butterfly gardeners.
This is the largest fritillary and also one of the most specialized. It prefers virgin prairies, which has made it rare ans such have been disturbed in the Great Plains and to the east. The drawing shows it perching with its wings closed and showing an olive hindwing spattered with large silver spots. The forewing is very bright orange with black marks and more silver around its edges
Named after a great pioneer American lepidopterist, this is another large fritillary of the West. Its larvae feed only on violets. The adults shown are visiting purple horsemint. The underside is mostly bluish green, studded with big, metallic silver orbs. Toward its base, the forewing has a pretty pink flush.
This is not a true fritillary, lacing silver spots. The name comes from a complex pattern of brown, white, and orange scaling on the underside. Frosty white areas and veins run through the tan base color, while the inner part of the forewing is bright orange. Eyespots are bluish-black. The caterpillars feed on many kinds of plants, not common in most butterflies. Every spring this resident of the South populates the northern states, only to die back with the frosts of autumn.
Diana, named for the Green goddess of the woods, is one of the most strikingly dimorphic butterflies. The males and females look entirely different. Here the male pursues the female on the wing. He is fiery orange beyond a large coal-black wingbase. The female has the same black middle part, but outside of it has pale bluish spots on the forewing and deep blue patches and bars on the hindwing. It is believed that the blue coloration, unique among fritillaries, evolved to help her mimic the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail. This causes birds to avoid her.
There is a lot of variation in the Atlantis over geographic areas. This species ranges across the northern part of the United States. Eastern individuals will sometimes visit gardens, attracted by black-eyed Susans or other flowers. It is hard to draw but simple to color, the border and all the spots being black. The rest of the body is pumpkin-orange.
This is a lesser fritillary that is especially fond of bogs. The forewing is pale orange with black marks and two rows of yellow spots. These rows carry over onto the hindwing, where bands of pale yellow alternate with bands of brick red. It is shown on a plantain.
The tip of the forewings have a snipped-off appearance . Another lesser fritillary, it is light orange with black markings. A denizen of wet meadows, in the East and the West. The one in the drawing is shown visiting a violet, on which the caterpillars feed and the adults may gather nectar.
A widespread fritillary of bogs and meadows, this one also occurs in Europe. It is a lesser fritillary, but like the greater fritillaries it has silver spots on its underside. The spots alternate with rows of reddish brown and tawny.
Milkweed butterflies, such as the Queen and Monarch, are often placed in the family Danaidae. The Queen has rich cinnamon wings with black borders and clusters of small white spots. The black patches on the hindwings produce chemical perfumes, and show that this individual is a male. He is nectaring on milkweed, the same plant that served as host to the caterpillar. In Florida, Viceroys have evolved a dark race to mimic the Queens.
This is our best known North American butterfly, but it still holds many mysteries. The bright orange Monarch has black veins and borders, with white spots around the edges and peach-colored patches in the black forewing tip area. Common milkweed is its host plant which nourishes adults and larvae, and makes the Monarch poisonous to birds. Viceroys mimic Monarchs, so birds ignore them as well. Monarchs breed all across North America, but in autumn they migrate like birds. A large proportion fly to Mexico or to California, where they spend the winter in huge clusters among the foliage of trees. In springtime they return to their breeding grounds in the North.
Frequently placed in the family Heliconidae to distinguish them from brush-footed butterflies, the longwings live in the American tropics and feed on passion flowers. This species is sometimes found in Texas, here shown feeding on lantana. It is jet black, the forewings have crimson patches, the hindwings a yellow streak along the top.
The Julia's long wings are almost entirely clear. They deep orange above except for a black spot along the upper edge. The body is clothed in furry orange scales. The caterpillars feed on passion flower vines. It occurs in southern Texas and Florida, sometimes occurring in swarms.
This longwing is considered a fritillary because as with most butterflies it has brilliant metallic silver spots beneath. On the hindwing and the tip of the forewing, these spots are set in a field of olive-gold. The rest of the forewing changes to crimson-pink. It is common across the South and all around the Gulf of Mexico. It prefers flowers of the beggar's tick and lantana, and the caterpillars feed on passion vine..
Occurring in the Southeast, this longwing haunts hammocks in the Everglades. It is common where passion flower vines grown in woody spots, even in towns, as these are food for the caterpillar. It is a beautiful sight to observe numbers of Zebras gathering in a tree for their evening's roost. The color scheme is simple: yellow stripes and spots against a black velvety background.
The Viceroy looks very much like the Monarch, although it is not closely related. This mimicry gives it protection from birds that have learned to avoid the distasteful Monarchs. Its deep orange color, black veins and borders, and white dots are like those of the Monarch. But it also has a black line around the hindwing past the middle. Viceroys occur around willows, especially along watercourses. The banded admirals are close relatives.
This species occurs on the West Coast. The upperside is basically blackish brown, crossed by bands of large creamy spots. It is distinguished from the other banded admirals by its orange forewing tips. The males establish and defend territories, often on willow branches. The one in the drawing is shown visiting spreading dogbane, a preferred nectar source for many butterflies.
Occurring in southern Canada and the northeastern United States, it is also known as the Banded Purple. However, its color is not really purple, but its black is rich and deep. Beyond the milk-white bands lie rows of bright blue crescents, the innermost of these on the hindwings being capped with russet. The preferred host plant is birch.
This species derives its name from the black with white bands that reminded someone of a nun's habit. However, the wings also have a bright orange patch on the tip of the forewing. Rusty orange bars highlight the wings, especially beneath, and the underside has purplish blue bands along the border and body. Rotting plums and other fruits are sought out by Sisters.
It closely resembles Banded Purples, minus the bands, and is often regarded as the same species. The upperside, shown in the drawing, is shiny blue-black, with blue concentrated toward the edges of the hindwings. The underside is blackish brown with brick-red spots, blue-barred along the margins.
Patterned like the admirals, this species is actually related to the hackberry butterflies. Dusky whitish bands cross the wings, which shine deep purple when struck by direct sunshine. The patches near the forewing tips glow bright orange. Very different, the underside is light tan with a white band, black eyespots, and brown lines. This species occurs primarily in Mexico, but occasionally drifts into Texas.
Tortoisshells have decidedly different upper and lower surfaces. Milbert's above is chocolate brown with a two-toned band-- yellow inside, orange outer-- orange basal spots, and blue dots in the dark margin. Below there is no such fire-rim pattern, just a dark brown basal half, tan band, and dark border. Thus it blends exactly into tree bark. It is widespread in North America, here shown on western sneezeweed.
The name tortoishell comes from the blending of orange, tawny and black above. There is one white spot on each wing, near the upper, outer edge. The Compton lives in cooler woodlands, where it is camouflaged against tree trunks. Predators are startled when it flies because of its bright colors.
In some years this species swarms in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains. The perch shown in the drawing is a common posture for brush-footed butterflies. It shows part of the orange-brown upperside with its black patches and borders and white spots near the tips. The underside is mottled brown, tan and frosty.
There are two seasonal forms of the eastern anglewing. In summer forms the hindwings are almost completely black. In the autumn form both the fore- and hindwings are bright reddish orange with heavy brown markings. Both forms have a lilac-purple border, narrower on the black-spotted summer butterflies. The autumn generation survives the winter as adults, which in turn produce the summer form generation.
Similar to the tortoiseshells, anglewings possess ragged wing margins that help their dull undersides blend in with leaves and bark. The Satyr is a butterfly of the West and the brightest of all anglewings. It is fiery light orange turning to golden toward the tails of the hindwings, marked with inky spots and reddish brown borders. The spiny caterpillars eat stinging nettle.
Commas and Question Marks are really anglewings. The names refer to tiny silver marks on the underside of the hindwing. Otherwise the underside is grayish brown with darker striations and a frosty forewing tip. The upperside is reddish tawny, brown spotted and bordered, with orange dots in the broad hindwing border. Commas fly away quickly, but usually return to one spot.
This species is easily identified by sight if not by name, as it has a unique coloration and pattern. The body and the larger part of the wings are deep chocolate brown with maroon reflections. Long rows of deep blue spots run all around the wings just inside the light yellow borders. This species is really a tortoishell that flies all over and prefers elms and willows.
A common tropical species that is occasionally found in southern Texas. The upperside is dark brown. Beneath, as shown in the drawing, the crisp white inner half of the wings contrasts with the brown outer part. A reddish streak lines the white part, another runs around the outer edge to the shorter of the tails, ending in a blue spot. This pattern resembles a waiter's uniform.
The wings have a strange shape that ends in daggertails. They are colored ruddy orange, with dark brown stripes and tails. It is a resident of southern Florida. The caterpillars feed on fig leaves and the adult on fig fruit. Close relatives are the Ruddy Daggerwing and Waiter.
This is a tropical brush-foot that lives as far north as Texas and Florida. The outer half of the underside is reddish tan, with two violet bands running across. The inner half has rusty lines across a silky white background. The body is white.
This brilliant butterfly may be found in southern Florida woodlands where croton grows. The upper side is flaming red-orange, making it startling when it flies nearby. Then, when the Leafwing alights, the bright color disappears. The underside is colored like a dead leaf, and the wing shape enhances the camouflage.
The caterpillar's host plant is goatweed, from which the name derives. It occurs commonly in the Southeast. The female shown is tawny orange above with brown along the edges and invading the wings. Individuals in the rainy season have longer tails that are colored violet, and more pointed wingtips than those of drier months. Goatweed Butterflies are rapid flies, but are attracted to baits of rotting fruit.
The large eyespots giving this species its name have yellow rims and black, blue, and violet centers. Most of the remaining upper side is warm brown, but there are two orange bars on each forewing, a buff band outside them, and orange below the hindwing eyespots. Among the many flowers visited by this rapid flier is plantain, on which the caterpillar also feeds. Migrations occur in autumn.
The caterpillars are jade green and confined to leaves of hackberry trees for food. Both caterpillar and chrysalis blend beautifully with the foliage. When the adult closes its wings you may see a complicated pattern of brown lines on a purplish white background and rows of black, white-centered, yellow-rimmed eyespots.
This species is more common in the Southeast than elsewhere, feeding on hackberry. Its forewings are colored rich reddish tawny, with black bars and bands and rows of golden spots. The hindwings are tawny at the base, becoming black outwardly with rows of tawny-ringed black spots. The individual shown in the drawing is visiting rotting orange persimmons.
Discovered during the second half of the 20th Century, this hackberry butterfly occurs in South Texas and Mexico. Her wings are a warm, light brown with blackish around the tips where there are white spots. The unpupilled black eyespots around the hindwings have tan rims, and the hindwing scalloping is dark brown.
This species occurs in canyons of the Southwest where hackberry trees occur in the wild. The Mountain Emperor has the usual pattern for a hackberry butterfly which is lighter toward the body and darker outward, with white spots and black eye like circles. However, its color is a richer, more red brown than that of most of its relatives.
The Snout also feeds on hackberries. It is outstanding by having a long snout that is formed by its palpi sticking straight out in front of its face. It also goes through great migrations. The upper side is dark brown with creamy spots toward the clipped wingtip and large tawny patches on each wing. Beneath, the hindwing and forewing tip are mottled with mauve and cocoa. The forewing base is orange. The drawing shows it feeding on nectar of Florida dogwood.
One of two native Hawaiian butterflies, its name commemorates the former Hawaiian king. The largest and brightest of the painted ladies, it may be found in forests and clearings on all the major islands of Hawaii. The outer tip of the forewings is black with white spots. The rest is brilliant red-orange with black markings. Long brown hairs make the part of the wings near the body more ruddy than the rest.
This caterpillar feeds on nettle almost everywhere from the sub-Arctic well into the tropics. Red Admirals are frequently found basking in the sun and visiting rotting fruit and fresh flowers, such as the gumweed shown in the drawing. The wings are deep velvety black. The bands are vermilion red, with black dots in the band on the hindwing, ending in two blue spots near the body. The forewing tips have white spots, and white crescents run all around the wing margins. The species is commonly observed throughout North America.
Resembling the Painted Lady, this is a Pacific Slope species. The field marks with which to distinguish it are: The bar in a black area at the end of the cell on the upper forewing is orange, the eyespots on the upper hindwing are large and blue, and the brown and white mottling below has a yellowish cast. Otherwise the color above is orange-peel orange, with black markings and white spots. The orange shows on the base of the forewing beneath. The drawing shows it visiting cheeseweed.
Similar to the other ladies except more pink, especially below on the lower half of the forewing. The hindwing has blue spots which are prominent on the upper side and very large below, where they have black and yellow rings around them. It is generally light brown below with white bands and network. It is also known as the Hunter's Butterfly. It is most common in the East. The individual in the drawing is shown on red zinnia.
The larval host plant is thistle, where adults frequently are found. Painted Ladies cannot withstand northern winters, but will fly north every year from milder climates to the south. Because it can be found all over the world, the Painted Lady's other name is Cosmopolitan Butterfly. The main color is salmon orange, more pink on the underside of the basal forewing. White spots stand out on the black tips, and blue spots run around the hindwing. The underside is mottled brown and white.
This is a frail-looking little butterfly that sometimes flies long distances in great numbers. It usually is found around the Gulf of Mexico and farther south. The upper side is mostly gray, but the underside is usually shown because it perches with wings closed. The underside is a pretty ochre-orange, crossed by bands of pearly white.
In South Texas, the Fatima flies in early spring and again in late autumn. The ground color is blackish brown. White spots lie in the forewing tips. Vanilla bands sweep across all wings, ending in red spots. More crimson spots make up an inner band on the hindwings.
It may be found in South Texas, but is more rare than the Fatima. Its simple, striking pattern is beautiful. The velvety black wings have no markings other than the wavy, bright crimson band, and thin white crescents enhancing the scalloped edge of the hindwings. It is shown here nectaring on beggar's tick, favored by many southern butterflies.
This is a very unusual, exotic butterfly that is thought to have come to the West Indies with the slave trade. It is found in much of the Old World. The female shown in the drawing mimics the African Milkweed Butterfly, a relative of the Monarch. Her wings are bright orange rimmed with black. There are white patches in the black tips and white dots around the black margin. It is sometimes called the Blue Moon because of the male's white orbs surrounded by iridescent blue, all set against a night-black background. Shown here nectaring on lantana.
The wings shimmer with an ultraviolet iridescence when extended in light. In the shade they appear brown, the color of the outer, white-spotted parts in all lights. It is common in the Everglades woodlands of south Florida.
A species of the Deep South and American tropics, it occasionally wanders north. It normally perches warily with its wings closed. The background is pearly white. Pinkish-brown bands and orange lines and crescents mark the wings. Two blue-centered, orange-rimmed eyespots lie in a brown band. The outer margin is salmon orange.
Indigo bands of the wings alternate with black. The color is deeper than the pale blue of the water hyacinth on which it is shown perching. White spots tip the forewings. Although other kinds of blue wings occur farther south, this species barely reaches South Texas.
The species was named for the mineral malachite, which has a lacy green pattern similar to that on the butterfly's wings. They are colored pale jade, mixed with the dark brown that forms the border. Malachites visit Florida and the West Indies, and sometimes in occur in Texas. The individual in the drawing is visiting a spiderwort.
Another tropical species that turns up in Florida on rare occasions. Its name derives from the black A88" pattern on the white underside. The base of the underside forewing is pinkish red, the tip black-banded white. The black upper side has light green bands on each wing.
The family Satyridae may be a subgroup of the brush-footed butterflies. Most of them are colored softly with browns and grays and rusts. Most bear eyespots on their wings. These false eyes serve as targets for birds. Aiming for the eyes, they miss the butterfly's body. Satyrs haunt woodland glades and meadows where their caterpillars feed on grasses. Almost everywhere grasses grow, some browns fly, including in the high arctic.
This species inhabits woods of the East where it perches on tree trunks and flies rapidly among the dappled shadows. The color underneath is light brown, with a lilac hue and a pearly sheen. Brown lines cross the wings, and an orange-like line runs around the rims. The brown eyespots lie in a loose buff band and have orange rings around them and blue or pearly pupils.
The female rarely shows her upper side except in flight. It is a light buckskin brown, with a pale tan area toward the edge. A long row of black-brown spots runs through this lighter field. The female will lay her eggs on maiden cane after the male locates her within the cane brake.
The pair of Eyed Browns shown perching on a sedge head, are typical satyrs. They occur in moist meadows of the Northeast and Midwest. The upper side presents a warm cocoa-brown aspect with lighter tan patches and blue-black, white-centered, yellow-rimmed eyespots. The pattern repeats below but the color is darker brown with still darker lines and more distinct eyespots.
Sometimes called the Blue-eyed Grayling, its eyespots are indeed blue and white, centered within black and yellow rings. This species flies over much of the continent and exhibits many forms. The one shown here has the forewing eyespots embedded in a large patch of canary yellow. The rest is light brown striated with dark brown, the outer half of the hindwing paler. It may be found in woods at their grassy edges, at sap or fruit or taking nectar on such flowers as alfalfa.
The individual shown is visiting yellow sweet clover. It is dark brown with a lighter fringe and pale yellow rings around its black eyespots. The eyespots target bird attacks away from the body of the butterfly. Sagebrush desert and dry, open woodland are is preferred habitats.
The main color of this brightest ringlet is ochre, i.e., a rich, reddish-gold. The upper side is all ochre, as is most of the forewing below. Its tip beyond the yellow-ringed black eyespot is grayish. The hindwing is olive-gray, except for the buffy lightning-streak across it. The Ochre Ringlet is very abundant in the Rocky Mountains.
Common in the grasslands of the Pacific Northwest, it is colored like the Ochre Ringlet, except that the ochre is paler and the olive grayer. It usually lacks the small eyespots.
This species is closely related to the Ochre and Northwest ringlets. The forewing has an orange streak inward from the eyespot, and the hindwing is very olive. Like other satyrs, the caterpillars feed on grasses.
This species dodges and darts through tall grass with speed and skill. It is the most common and widespread of the wood or grass satyrs. It is warm brown overall with yellow-ringed, blue-black eyespots inside darker brown lines that edge the wings.
This beautiful small satyr has long oval eyespots with yellow rims and blue-dotted centers, each located within an ellipse of brick-red lines. More red lines run along the edge and the base of the wings. It occurs in the Southeast on grasses.
Named after the blue and silver eyespots, gold-rimmed, that run together, all set in a metallic silver patch on the hindwing. Faint reddish lines run around the silver patch and across the reddish tan wings. The Gemmed Satyr flies in grassy woods of the Midwest and South.
The species is found in oak woodlands of the arid Southwest. The wings on the upper side are broadly copper-red with thick brown SKETCHs. Each wing bears one eyespot, black with yellow rim and pale bluish center.
Because the bogs and marshy meadows that this butterflies requires have been drained or developed, the species is endangered. Only in a few spots south of the Great Lakes does it survive. Its color is like the Georgia Satyr except that the eyespots are rounder and more numerous.
Arctics are a group of satyrs prevalent in the Far North and in high mountains. They blend well with their backgrounds of rock, lichen and grass. The species here lives in Labrador and Greenland. Its forewing is olive-tan, the tip frosty gray like the hindwing with brown speckles. A darker brown band crosses the hindwing, and the veins stand out crisply white. The upper side of females is dull gray-brown, lighter tan on the outer hindwing.
The species flies from the arctic-alpine peaks all the way down to sagebrush land along the Rocky Mountains. The female shown here, with her wings spread, is bright tawny, paler toward the olive-brown margins. Her eyespots are black with tiny white pupils.
This species haunts the arctic tundra from Sweden to Siberia to Hudson Bay. The forewing is reddish tawny with a frosty tip. The frostiness overs much of the hindwing, which has a tan band near the outer edge and a brown one across the middle.
This is the only all-black, unmarked butterfly in North America. The color may weather to a soft brown plush. Magdalena lives only on high mountain rockslides, where males fly up and down in search of females. They pause to sip nectar from pink moss campion, which is where they may frequently be found.
Sometimes named Butler's Alpine, it has a pattern typical of many alpines of the European Alps: chocolate brown wings ringed by clack, white-centered eyespots lying in cinnamon patches. Newly emerged alpines shimmer with a purplish green iridescence. They live in mountain meadows and clearings of the American West.
Bearing the common alpine color scheme of deep brown and rusty-red, this species lacks the eyespots of most other alpines. The rusty disk shows below, but the brown is clouded with frosty gray scaling, especially the outer portions of the wings. An Asian and Alaskan species, it also flies across Canada and southward to the Great Lakes. Here is is shown nectaring on a dandelion.
The drawing shows two Theano Alpines confronting one another on leaves of marsh marigold, a perching site favored by these smallest of our alpines. The high-country colonies tend to be tight but well populated. Russet rings of spots surround the dark brown wings. Beneath, the hindwing spots are yellow.
A large satyr, mostly found in Mexico, it inhabits pine woodlands on the edges of deserts. There it flies in late summer and autumn. The scalloped, velvety brown wings run to cocoa on the outer forewing, cinnamon-red on the hindwing border.
Skippers resemble moths in some ways, with thick, hairy bodies and short wings. Most are small and rapid flies, with a skipping motion. Skippers that are triangular and tawny tend to be grass feeders, while the others use many host plants. Skippers succeed in many sorts of habitats and love flowers and mud. The belong to the family Hesperiidae. The fast flying Giant Skippers have their own family, Megathymidae.
This species is common in the East. The female shown is visiting blue violet for nectar. Her wings are rusty red, heavily speckled with violet on the outer half. The fringe and body are also reddish.
This skipper of the Southwest flashes by in a golden blur. Perched, it looks very orange, with pale yellow spots and orange legs. Its gold-tipped antennae are short and hooked, as on most skippers.
The manner in which this skipper is perching, with the hindwings in one plane and the forewings in another, is typical of many skippers. Both the fore- and the hindwings are tawny orange with dark edges, and black dashes across the forewings.
This is one of our tiniest butterflies. Its forewing is bright orange; hindwing, yellow-gold with light veins. The orange repeats on the upper abdomen. Otherwise the body is white and eyes black.
Another golden tawny skipper, brown about the edges, but orange fringed. The black dash on the forewing is called a skipper's stigma. The name refers to its speedy, orbiting flight. It is common in Southeastern woodlands.
This skipper is very common in fields and vacant lots. The wings are charcoal checkered with white; and the fringe is white and black checked. There ire iridescent bluish furry scales on the body.
The wings are soft in color but bear a complex pattern. Generally they are chestnut brown, with pale spots around the hindwings, black patches and glossy white dots on the forewings. The caterpillars feed on oak.
Skippers occurring along the roadside all are rather similar in appearance. However, this species is distinctive for the lacy pattern of creamy markings intersected by white veins against olive-gray wings.
The wings above are tawny basally, brown marginally, with a black stigma on the forewing and light fringes. The gold pattern on the upper side is repeated in bright silvery marks underneath. This species is found in many forms and many habitats across the Norther Hemisphere and always among grasses.
This uncommon skipper is closely linked to native prairie grasslands. It has become rare by the plowing and grazing of the prairies. It survives in a number of nature reserves, where it visits purple coneflower. Caterpillars feed on native grasses.
Larvae of this heavy Latin American skipper feed on the leaves of guava. The adults like the fruits. It is colored with matte-black wings highlighted by white fringes, two scarlet spots on the forewing edge, and shiny blue-green streaks and reflections. The red is repeated on its head, the blue on its body.
A large and fast flier, this skipper is common in parks and gardens. Here is is shown visiting Japanese honeysuckle. There is a large silver patch on the underside of the hindwing, and a gold one on the forewing. Otherwise the wings are a bright brown.
This spectacular skipper is common in the South. It is so prevalent that it flies in vast migrations. The wings are brown, the spots and head are golden. Tails are gold-rimmed. Long furry scales clothe the body, rendering it and the bases of the wings iridescent turquoise in sunlight. Here is is shown nectaring on pickleweed.
This tropical beauty has a turquoise body, and its head is blue-green. The wing bases shimmer metallic sky-blue, and the outer forewing bars are opalescent, white but reflecting green. All of this color is against a basic black.
The various species of giant skippers that live in the Southwest all feed on yucca or agave as larvae. The caterpillars burrow into the roots of those plants. Giant Skippers fly at considerable speed. The color is usually blackish brown with yellow patches and a white bar.
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