Insect logo



Home Who We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Adult Butterflies of Order Lepidoptera — Examples
For adult moths, click here.
For moth/butterfly caterpillars and pupae, click here.


Families represented below:
Hesperiidae Lycaenidae Nymphalidae Papilionidae Pieridae Riodinidae

Papilionidae, the swallowtails

Great Mormon (Papilio memnon)
Great mormon, female, Papilio memnon, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ Female great mormons have a tremendous amount of variation. Some are mainly white (as shown here), but others are mainly black, and one form even has a long swallowtail. To see some of the variation, click on Figure 4 here.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Lamma Island, Hong Kong. Date: 18 May, 2019.
Scarlet Mormon (Papilio rumanzovia)
Swallowtails in the genus Papilio, likely the scarlet mormon, Papilio rumanzovia, mating pair, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The scarlet mormon is a large butterfly with a wingspan that reaches about 5.5 inches (14 cm). One way to tell males from females is to look at the hind wings. Females have red markings on both the upper and lower sides of her hind wings, while the male only has the red markings on the bottom of his hind wings. This species is found in the Philippines.
Photographed by: Bob Carpenter. Identified by: Bill Mertz. Thank you, Bill! Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
Western tiger swallowtails are found in the western half of the United States, and extend a bit into far southwestern Canada and far northwestern Mexico.
□ Due to the pale yellow coloration of this specimen, it’s possible that western tiger swallowtail is actually a hybrid between a western tiger swallowtail and a pale tiger swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon).
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 22 May, 2017.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ This eastern tiger swallowtail is showing off its underwings and its black-striped body. The photo at right gives a view of the shimmering light-blue patches on the top side of the hind wings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 28 August, 2018.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
Eastern tiger swallowtails are found in the central and eastern United States. Other than their location, they are difficult to distinguish from western tiger swallowtails, which seen elsewhere on this page.
Photographed by: Gene Fleszar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Finland Gardens, Livonia, Michigan, USA. Date: July 2013.
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
Anise swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The anise swallowtail gets its name from what its caterpillars like to eat: the fennel plant, which also known as wild anise.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 20 July, 2016.
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)
Palamedes swallowtail, Papilio palamedes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The palamedes swallowtail has a distinctively striped body. In this photo, its straw-like proboscis is extended to draw up nectar from the flowers. When not in use, the proboscis is coiled up. Its wings may be brown, as shown here, or black.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)
Palamedes swallowtail, Papilio palamedes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ One of the stand-out features of the palamedes swallowtail is the yellow slash on each hind wing (seen in this photo). This slash sets it apart from the very similar-looking Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius). The Palamedes Swallowtail is native to the southeastern United States. This specimen was photographed in a butterfly house.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 24 July, 2018.
Sheldon says, “I find it amazing that they can coil the proboscis so symmetrical.”
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ This photo shows the topside of the wings of this giant swallowtail, which are brown and decorated with rows of yellow markings.
Photographed by: Barb Bradley. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near Dexter, Michigan, Washtenaw County, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 August, 2013.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The undersides of the giant swallowtail’s wings (shown here) and the body are mainly this pale-yellow color. Compare the body in particular with that of the Palamedes Swallowtail, which is pictured elsewhere on this page.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The caterpillars of the giant swallowtail are called “orangedogs” because they have a penchant for citrus leaves.
Photographed by: Manzeal Khanal. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Uvalde, Texas, USA. Date: 17 August, 2019.
Manzeal found the swallowtails on yellow lantana flowers in the office garden.
Torquatas Swallowtail (Papilio torquatas)
Torquatas swallowtail, Papilio torquatas, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The torquatas swallowtail has a wide band of cream to yellow through each forewing (as shown) with a smaller band running perpendicularly at the tip of each forewing. This species is found in from Mexico to far northern Argentina. This individual was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Black swallowtail, male, Papilio polyxenes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The male black swallowtail’s has two prominent lines of yellow markings on his forewings, and minimal blue splotches at the base of his hind wings. The female has a large splash of blue on her hind wings.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Black swallowtail, female, Papilio polyxenes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ Both male and female black swallowtails have a large, black-centered, red eyespot on each hind wing. Similar butterflies include the dark form (or morph) of the eastern tiger swallowtail and the spicebush swallowtail, but neither have the black spot in the center of the red eyespot.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Black swallowtail, female, Papilio polyxenes, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The caterpillars of the black swallowtail’s can be quite numerous on plants, and occasionally will eat nearly every leaf.
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Lime Swallowtail, also known as Lemon Swallowtail or Checkered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)
Lime swallowtail, also known as lemon swallowtail or checkered swallowtail, Papilio demoleus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The lime swallowtail, also known as a lemon swallowtail, is so-named because is often found on lemon or lime trees. Many swallowtails have a long and narrow extension on their hind wings, but some species (like this one) do not.
Photographed by: Spoorthi Sv. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Shivamogga (Shimoga), Karnataka state, southwest India. Date: 29 September, 2020.
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Spicebush swallowtail, female, Papilio troilus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The spicebush swallowtail has similar underwing coloration to the black swallowtail (pictured elsewhere on this page), but the markings aren’t as large or numerous. The caterpillars do favor the leaves of spicebush, but will also eat the leaves of other shrubs and trees, including sassafras trees.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ Like many butterflies, this spicebush swallowtail often sits with its wings folded, but will open them to soak up some warmth from the sun. Insects are poikilothermic which means that their body temperature varies based on the surrounding temperature. The term “cold-blooded” is sometimes used instead, but insects are only cold when the surrounding temperature is cold.
Photographed and identified by: Gail E. Rowley. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 2020.
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ This spicebush swallowtail is a bit unusual in that it shows all seven of the larger orange spots on the hind wing — the spots that are followed by the blue “comet tail.” In most individuals, the third spot from the bottom shows little if any orange at all and just the blue comet tail (as seen in the previous photo).
Photographed by: Lisa M. Walden. Location: upstate New York, USA. Date: 30 July, 2021.
Lisa says, “A recent visitor to my petunias!”
Red Helen (Papilio helenus)
Red helen, Papilio helenus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The red helen almost looks like the veins are dusted in gold in this photo. The long and rounded swallow-tails and the red and black eye spots are two other features of this beautiful butterfly. The hind wings also have large white splotches, but they are hidden behind the forewings in this photo.
Photographed by: Margaret Minor. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lamma Island, Hong Kong. Date: 18 May, 2019.
Common Mime (Papilio clytia)
Common mime, Papilio clytia, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The pupa of this common mime looks almost exactly like a twig, so its name of “mime” is a good one. The adult comes in a couple of different patterns. One, like this photo, is a bold arrangement of black and white stripes. The other is mostly black with white patterns relegated mainly to the edges of the wings.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Tai O Fishing village, Hong Kong. Date: 12 May, 2019.
Citrus Butterfly (Papilio demodocus)
Citrus swallowtail, Papilio demodocus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ From the top view, the citrus swallowtail has a beautiful pattern of ivory-colored spots on a black background, and the hind wings each have two eye spots in deep red, shimmering light blue and black. The bottom view has even more color!
Photographed and identified by: Natalie Rowles. Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 29 March, 2020.
Natalie says, “I just love these colourful Citrus Swallowtail butterflies they are like Mother Nature flying jewelry!” This one was sitting on a wild garlic herb next to a wormwood herb in her garden.
Citrus Butterfly (Papilio demodocus)
Citrus swallowtail, Papilio demodocus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The citrus swallowtail gets its name because its caterpillars will eat the leaves of citrus trees. An interesting feature of the caterpillar is that when it is threatened — for instance, when a spider or some other predator tries to bite it — the caterpillar will evert a fleshy, Y-shaped organ from its prothorax (right behind the head). Called an osmeterium, this organ emits a repelling odor, so it is a good defensive mechanism.
Photographed and identified to order by: Joni Thavar. Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 6 April, 2020.
Add your photo here! Blue mormon (Papilio polymnestor)
Blue mormon, Papilio polymnestor, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The blue mormon is a very large butterfly. Its wingspan can reach 15 cm (5.9 inches).
Photographed and identified by: Alfa Rasak. Location: Kerala, India. Date: 17 July, 2020.
Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae)
Common rose, Pachliopta aristolochiae, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ Native to southern and southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand, the common rose has forewings are mainly black with gray streaking, as shown. The underside of its hind wings may either have all red markings (as shown here) or both red markings and white blotches.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Butterfly Garden (exhibit), Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Add your photo here! Golden Birdwing (Troides rhadamantus)
Golden birdwing, Troides rhadamantus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The golden birdwing has black forewings with their veins outlined in yellow or white. The hindwings are yellow with black veins. Some individuals have considerably more black on the hind wings.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Golden Birdwing (Troides rhadamantus)
Golden birdwing, Troides rhadamantus, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The golden birdwing is found in southeastern Asia from northern India to China and Taiwan and south to Malaysia. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Bob Carpenter. Identified by: Bill Mertz and KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Common Bluebottle, or Blue Triangle, butterfly (Graphium sarpedon)
Common bluebottle, also known as blue triangle, male, Graphium sarpedon, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The neon blue to green patches are stunning in this common bluebottle, and are seen on both the upper and lower side of the wings. The male, shown here, has red spotting on the hind wing (the female does not).
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Kam Shan Country Park, Hong Kong. Date: 20 July, 2019.
Margaret says, “My favorite!”
Tailed Jay (Graphium agamemnon)
Tailed jay, Graphium agamemnon, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ Gorgeous in green, the tailed jay has very short “tails” on its hind wings (they aren’t evident in this photo). This butterfly drinks a lot of mineral-rich water, filters out the minerals, and expels the water back onto the ground, where it helps to dissolve more minerals. It is found in southeastern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to southern China, and south all the way to Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas)
Polydamas swallowtail, Battus polydamas, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ This view of the underside of the polydamas swallowtail’s wings shows rows of white heart-shaped markings on its forewings, and small orange markings on the margin on its hind wings — all on a dark brown, nearly black background. The top side of the wings looks about the same, except that both the forewings and hindwings have have margins of white hearts.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 14 August, 2019.
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Pipevine swallowtail, also known as a blue swallowtail, Battus philenor, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The pipevine swallowtail has black forewings with tiny white spots toward the outside edge (barely visible here), and shimmering blue hind wings with a row of larger white spots. From the underside, the forewings look about the same, but the hind wings have seven large orange spots.
Photographed and identified by: Gail E. Rowley. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 1 June, 2012.
Gail reports that this one was nectaring on butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Butterflies do love to visit this plant!
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Pipevine swallowtail, also known as a blue swallowtail, Battus philenor, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ This pipevine swallowtail is obviously a female — she is laying eggs!
Photographed and identified by: Gail E. Rowley. Location: Texas County, Missouri, USA. Date: 19 July, 2014.
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Pipevine swallowtail, also known as a blue swallowtail, Battus philenor, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The pipevine swallowtail can be found throughout much of the eastern and southern United States. A separate subspecies in northern California has a hairier body and is known as a California pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsuta).
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Pipevine swallowtail, also known as a blue swallowtail, Battus philenor, subfamily Papilioninae, family Papilionidae.
□ The pipevine swallowtail has a wingspan that can range from 3-5 inches (about 7.5-10 cm).
Photographed by: Manzeal Khanal. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Uvalde, Texas, USA. Date: 17 August, 2019.
Manzeal found the swallowtails on yellow lantana flowers in the office garden.

Nymphalidae, the brush-footed butterflies

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This gorgeous gulf fritillary is found in Mexico, Central America, parts of South America, and the southern United States, extending up to northern California (where this one was photographed). It is also occasionally seen in the east-central United States.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 15 August, 2016.
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The gulf fritillary is often found on passionflowers, but in this photo, it is shown on bi-color lantana.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: Garden City, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The gulf fritillary has wings that are just as pretty from the bottom side as they are from the top side!
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 1 August, 2017.
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The photographer saw this gulf fritillary hovering around a lantana flower garden.
Photographed and identified by: Manzeal Khanal. Location: Uvalde, Texas, USA. Date: 17 August, 2019.
Add your photo here! Red Lacewing (Cethosia biblis)
Red lacewing, Cethosia biblis, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The red lacewing is a fairly large butterfly with a wingspan of more than 3 inches (7.6 cm or more). Some individuals in this species are more orange than red, and some have more intricate white markings on the forewings, as seen here (Butterflies of India website).
□ The red lacewing is found in India, as well as much of Southeast Asia and East Asia.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with the help of the Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest website. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Tiger Longwing (Heliconius hecale)
Tiger longwing, Heliconius hecale, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Female tiger longwings feed on nectar as well as pollen, which is associated with an increased number of eggs. This one could be a male or female. The sexes look similar.
Photographed by: Gene Fleszar. Identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Detroit Zoo Butterfly Garden, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Zebra longwing, also known as a zebra heliconian, Heliconius charithonia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Butterflies can be very difficult to photograph, but persistence pays off as is evidenced by this photo of a zebra longwing and the photographer”s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Marv Goldberg. Location: Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 12 May, 2019.
Marv says, “I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of a zebra longwing for years. They flap around endlessly and never seem to land on anything for more than a second (and even then, it’s nothing that they could eat). Yesterday, this one was on a tree outside my window for at least 10 minutes.”
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Zebra longwing, also known as a zebra heliconian, Heliconius charithonia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The adult male of the zebra longwing can distinguish the pupa of a male from that of a female, based on chemicals emitted by the pupa. Once he knows it’s a female pupa, he will sit right on the pupa, so he can mate with the female as soon as she emerges and sometimes even before she emerges.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Zebra longwing, also known as a zebra heliconian, Heliconius charithonia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underside of the wings of the zebra longwing mimic the stripes on the upper side. In other species, the wings can look considerably different from the upper side to the underside.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Zebra longwing, also known as a zebra heliconian, Heliconius charithonia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This pair of wonderful photos show the full wings — from both the top and the bottom — of this zebra longwing.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 18 June, 2019.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)
Zebra longwing, also known as a zebra heliconian, Heliconius charithonia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Although most people focus on the wings, the pattern on the abdomen of the zebra longwing is also quite lovely.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 29 July, 2019.
Sheldon says, “This image shows some small details that I had not seen before.”
Antiochus Longwing (Heliconius antiochus)
Antiochus longwing, Heliconius antiochus, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The antiochus longwing has two broad white (sometimes yellowish) bands on each forewing, and a very narrow white border on all four wings. On the underside, the hind wings have streaks of red at the base, similar to those seen in the photo of Hewitson’s longwing (seen elsewhere on this page). The Antiochus Longwing is native to northern South America and as far north as Panama.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 30 December, 2019.
Sheldon says, “This butterfly is resting on a very unusual flower.” Such a pretty pink and purple bromeliad (Aechmea)!
Postman (Heliconius melpomene)
Postman, Heliconius melpomene, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The numerous species within the genus Heliconius have so much variation that it is difficult to figure out which species is which. To make matters worse, the different forms within a species mimic forms seen in other species. This one appears to be a postman in the form that has forewings with solid black tips, a cream-colored band, and a few black spots; and hind wings that are orange with a large black patch.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 29 December, 2019.
Small Postman (Heliconius erato)
Small postman, also known as a red postman and common longwing, Heliconius erato, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The small postman is a species with a lot of variation. All are mainly black, but the red patterns are different between individuals, and not all of them have white patches (see next photo). These photos show this exquisite small postman from the top and bottom sides. It is native to Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. Occasionally, one shows up in southern Texas.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with the help of Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest website. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Mexican Longwing (Heliconius hortense)
Mexican longwing, Heliconius hortense, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
Mexican longwings range from southern Mexico to Central America. It is also known as a mountain longwing because it often lives at high altitudes. (This individual was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States).
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Crimson Patched Longwing (Heliconius erato cyrbia)
Crimson-patched longwing, Heliconius erato cyrbia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This crimson-patched longwing is a subspecies of the small postman (shown elsewhere on this page). One of the reasons subspecies are named is that they have a noticeably different look. This subspecies has the reddish patched on its forewings. In this individual, the patches are more of a peachy-pink color.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 29 December, 2019.
Hewitson’s Longwing (Heliconius hewitsoni)
Hewitson’s longwing, Heliconius hewitsoni, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The males of the Hewitson’s longwing are so interested in mating that they break into the female’s pupa and mate with her before she can even emerge. This species is found in Costa Rica and Panama. This individual was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
□ Hewitson’s Longwing looks quite similar to the Antioch longwing (also shown on this page), and even shares the red streaking at the base of the underside of the hind wing, but Hewitson’s longwing has an additional white or yellow band on the hind wing.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Cydno Longwing (Heliconius cydno)
Cydno longwing, Heliconius cydno, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The irridescent blue-black wings and wide white bands help to distinguish this as a cydno longwing, but this species has a lot of variability. Some populations of this species have much thinner white bands and occasionally two bands on each forewing instead of one. It is believed that the irridescence of the females’ wings helps to attract males for mating. This species is found from Mexico south into northern South America (this individual was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States).
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Numata Longwing (Heliconius numata)
Numata longwing, Heliconius numata, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The numata longwing is one of a number of species that share this orange and black striped “tiger” pattern. Others include several species in the genus Melinaea. To see some of these mimics, click here.
□ All of these similar-looking butterflies taste bad to predators, and this provides a reinforcement to predators to leave them alone. This is called Müllerian mimicry. Other insects exhibit Müllerian mimicry, such as certain stinging wasps that share a similar appearance. Likewise, it reminds would-be predators that they should leave the wasps alone.
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified by: Bill Mertz. Thank you, Bill! Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2018.
Add your photo here!
Julia Heliconian or Julia Longwing (Dryas iulia)
Julia heliconian or julia longwing, Dryas iulia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The amount of black striping in the julia heliconian varies considerably among individuals. The males often have small black markings (more small triangles than stripes), so this is likely a female. This species is found from Mexico south into northern South America (this individual was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States).
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Julia Heliconian or Julia Longwing (Dryas iulia)
Julia heliconian or julia longwing, Dryas iulia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This julia heliconian has only two small black flecks on each forewing, suggesting that it is a male. Females have more black on the forewings, as seen in the previous photo.
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly exhibit in Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore)
Tawny coster, Acraea terpsicore, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Each of the tawny coster’s hind wings has a bold black border with orange spots. Each forewing has numerous black spots, usually including one row of four, closely spaced spots (as seen here). Note: This species is sometimes classified by the species name of Acraea violae instead.
□ The Tawny Coster is native to southeastern Asia, but a 2014 research paper notes that it “has recently become established in northern Australia where it is spreading rapidly.”
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 August, 2019.
Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore)
Tawny coster, Acraea terpsicore, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The tawny coster is native to southeastern Asia, but a 2014 research paper notes that it “has recently become established in northern Australia where it is spreading rapidly.”
Photographed and identified to order by: Kishan Rajah. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Malaysia. Date: 12 August, 2020.
Leopard Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)
Leopard lacewing, female and male, Cethosia cyane, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This shows the female leopard lacewing (left) and two males (right). They look very similar, except that the female is a very pale yellow where the male is a rich orange, and the black sections are a bit paler in the female than in the male. In other words, the female looks rather washed out in comparison to the male. This butterfly is native to Southeast Asia, and its caterpillars are found on passionflowers (Passiflora).
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Clipper (Parthenos sylvia)
Clipper, Parthenos sylvia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The clipper is has hues of sky blue in this photo, but other individuals may be different colors, such as light tan to deep orangish-tan, or green (see the next photo for the light-tan form). All of them have the same intricate black patterning, including those H-shaped markings along the rear of the hind wings. This butterfly is native to southern Asia, and is also found in South Africa.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Clipper (Parthenos sylvia)
Clipper, Parthenos sylvia, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Compare this clipper, photographed in South Africa, to the adjacent photo of a Clipper, which was taken at a butterfly exhibit in the United States. This one has the same patterning on its wings, but instead of light-blue coloration, it is more of a light-tan to yellow coloration.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 2016.
Indian Fritillary (Argyreus hyperbius)
Indian fritillary, Argyreus hyperbius, subfamily Heliconiinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Found in India, Indonesia, China and Japan, the Indian fritillary is almost leopard-like in the varied black, orange and white spotting of his underwings (as seen here). The upper side of its wings look quite different: orange with black spots for the hind wings, and a blend of orange with black spots, a large swath of white, and a white-speckled black tip for the forewings.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong. Date: 28 September, 2019.
Popinjay, (Stibochiona nicea)
Popinjay, male, Stibochiona nicea, subfamily Cyrestinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The male popinjay has a velvety look with the deep purple-black background accompanied by blue touches here and there. The tiny white flecks on the forewings, and bue-and-white arabesque shapes on the hind wings complete this beautiful package. The female looks similar, but has a greenish tint. To see a female, look for the greenish one posted here (ifoundbutterflies.org).
Photographed and identified to order by: Rakshanda Yadav. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: India. Date: 30 January, 2021.
Giant Owl Butterfly, aka Pale Owl (Caligo memnon)
Giant owl butterfly, also known as a pale owl, Caligo memnon, subfamily Morphinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The giant owl butterfly has a huge eyespot on each of its two rear hind wings. The upperside of its wings are much different: tan/bluish tan to blue and black. See the top and bottom sides of this butterfly here. This butterfly is found from Mexico south through Central America and to the Amazon rainforest. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Common Baron (Euthalia aconthea)
Common baron, male, Euthalia aconthea, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The female common baron has a row of fairly large white spots running down the center of the forewings, which are brown. The male, shown here, is more olive in color overall, and has forewings with either tiny flecks of white or no white at all.
Photographed and identified to order by: Rakshanda Yadav. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: India. Date: 30 January, 2021.
Gaudy Baron (Euthalia lubentina)
Gaudy baron, Euthalia lubentina, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The white areas really stand out against the green forewings of the gaudy baron. Some individuals are more blue than green.
Photographed by: Spoorthi Sv. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Shivamogga (Shimoga), Karnataka state, southwest India. Date: 29 September, 2020.
Lorquin Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)
Lorquin admiral, Limenitis lorquini, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The Lorquin admiral is a fighter: The males will defend their territories, not only attacking other intruding males, but also buzzing large birds that venture into their turf.
□ The Lorquin admiral gets its name from entomologist Pierre Joseph Michel Lorquin. Originally from France, he traveled the world from 1849-1869, going to northwestern Africa, Spain, China, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Colombia, New Guinea and the western United States.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 25 July, 2016.
Sailor butterfly (Neptis spp.)
Sailor in the genus Neptis, possible a common sailor, Neptis hylas, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Several similar species of sailors exist in warm climates. This one might be the common sailor. Note: The almost-identical-looking hill sargeant (Athyma opalina) has an obvious light-colored band across the middle of the abdomen and a slightly different shape to the forewings. To see the hill sargeant, click here (ifoundbutterflies.org).
Photographed by: Sharon Graca Pinto. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: North Goa, India. Date: 29 September, 2020.
Autumn Leaf Butterfly (Doleschallia bisaltide)
Autumn leaf, also known as a leafwing, Doleschallia bisaltide, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underwings of this autumn leaf butterfly are beige, and when they are folded, they do look like a fall leaf. This butterfly is found in Australia, and southern and southeast Asia.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with the help of Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest website. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
(American) white peacock, Anartia jatrophae, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The overall coloration with one dark spot on each forewing, and two dark spots on each hind wing are characteristics of the white peacock butterfly.
□ Note the four-legged stance of this white peacock butterfly. This is typical of butterflies in this family. They do indeed have six legs, but the front two are reduced and they cannot use them for walking.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by Amanda Maran. Thank you for the ID, Amanda! Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August 31, 2017.
Gaudy Commodore (Precis octavia)
Gaudy commodore, Precis octavia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The gaudy commodore is an interesting species, because individuals exhibit seasonal variation. Those born in the dry-season (seen here) have shimmering purplish-blue hues and a broad orange band. To see the wet-season form, which has a pinkish-orange color with black spots and border (click here learnaboutbutterflies.com).
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Ashley, Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 2016.
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The white comma-shaped marking is clearly visible on the underside of one wing in this photo of a comma butterfly.
□ Two butterfly species go by the common name of comma. This photo shows the comma (Polygonia c-album), which lives in temperate Europe and Asia, and in northern Africa. The eastern comma (Polygonia comma) is found in North America, and is shown elsewhere on this page.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker.. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 5 July, 2018.
Eastern Comma Butterfly (Polygonia comma)
Eastern comma, Polygonia comma, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The eastern comma is a North American butterfly. It is very similar to the question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), and the two often live in the same areas of North America. The Question Mark is pictured elsewhere on this page. There is also a different species of Comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, that lives in most temperate regions of Europe and Asia, and in northern Africa. All three species have a light-colored, crescent-shaped marking on the underside of each hind wing.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
Eastern Comma Butterfly (Polygonia comma)
Eastern comma (underwings), Polygonia comma, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Look carefully at the hind wing to see if you can spot the silver “comma,” marking, which gives this species its common name of comma.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Perrysburg, Ohio, USA. Date: July, 2015.
Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)
Question mark, Polygonia interrogationis, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ One of the ways to tell the difference between the question mark and the comma butterflies (see the Comma above) is to look at the row of spots in the middle of the forewing. The comma has three round spots in a row, whereas the question mark has four spots (three round ones, and a fourth that is more elongate).
□ The question mark also has a silver marking shaped like a little question mark on the hind wing. The comma butterfly usually has a comma-shaped marking, but sometimes it looks very similar to the question mark’s marking.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Luce County, Michigan, USA. Date: 24 May, 2012.
Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)
Question mark, Polygonia interrogationis, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ These images show the considerable differences in the upper and lower wings of a question mark butterfly.
Photographed and identified by: Jeff Goff. Location: near Munising, Alger County, Michigan, USA. Date: 1 September, 2017.
Orion Cecropian (Historis odius)
Orion cecropian, Historis odius, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The Orion cecropian has the distinguishing white marking on the leading edge of the forewing, as shown in this photo of the underwings. (See the photographer’s comment below.) The upper side of the forewings (not shown in this photo) are dark brown with a big swath of orange through the center as seen here.
Photographed by: Denise Frank. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Belize. Date: 30 July, 2018.
Denise says it “looks SOOO much like a leaf... unreal!”
Mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Mourning cloak, Nymphalis antiopa, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The mourning cloak is often the first of the year in northern climates. That’s because the adults hibernate instead of migrating. When the temperatures warm up, they emerge from their overwintering spots under bark and in other protected areas.
Photographed and identified by: Charles Rice. Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 June, 2016.
Charles says, “It was inside the bar I work at. I used a thin piece of paper to release her back outside.”
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Small tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This lovely orange small tortoiseshell has beautiful patterning: three short black bars at the leading edge of each forewing, the small metallic-blue crescents at the border of all wings, and the light-yellow patches here and there. When its wings are closed and only the undersides show, however, its appearance is much different. See the underside here.
□ Note: This species was formerly listed under the scientific genus Nymphalis.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Near Neuschwannstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany. Date: 13 August, 2009.
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais urticae)
Small tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The male and female of the small tortoiseshell butterfly look similar. One of the best ways to tell them apart is during mating when the male will approach a female and drum his antennae on her hind wings as part of the courtship. The drumming is soft, but a careful person can actually hear the drumming.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 1 September, 2013.
Add your photo here! Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
European peacock, Aglais io, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Characteristics of the European peacock butterfly include: the big eye spots (one on each wing), that row of star-like white specks on the edge of each forewing, and the wormy striped pattern at the leading edge of the forewings. This European Peacock is a different species — even a different genus — from the American Peacock butterflies (see photos elsewhere on this page).
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 31 August, 2016.
Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
European peacock, Aglais io, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This European peacock shows quite a bit of purple in the eyespot on its hind wing. Not also the gold metallic wing scales near the body and the thin dark outline at the edge of each wing — just a beautiful butterfly from the top side. The underwings are shades of dark brown and dark gray that would be perfect for blending into the bark of a tree.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Coopers Alley, Headington, England, UK. Date: 8 August, 2013.
Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
European peacock, Aglais io, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This European peacock butterfly sometimes has a deep coloration, as shown here (see the photographer’s comment below). Most butterflies overwinter as eggs, but the European peacock spends the cold winter months as an adult, so when the weather warms, it is ready to fly out. It is one of the first butterflies to be spotted each year — a beautiful harbinger of spring!
Photographed by: Martin Towers. Location: Fakenham, Norfolk, England, UK. Date: 28 March, 2020.
Martin says he thinks it has just emerged from its pupa, as it was drying out when he spotted it. He adds, “I had to move it, as where it was, it would have certainly been killed. But when I picked it up (very gently), it started to move more rapidly. I think it was the warmth from my hand.”
Malachite (Siproeta stelenes)
Malachite (underwings), Siproeta stelenes, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underwings of the malachite are quite different from the top (dorsal) side of the wings, as seen in the next photo.
Photographed by: Gene Fleszar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Detroit Zoo Butterfly Garden, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA. Date: 2014.
Malachite (Siproeta stelenes)
Malachite (upper wings), Siproeta stelenes, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Although yellowish green in this photo, the markings on many malachites are vivid green. The vivid green is the color of the mineral malachite, which is how this butterfly gets its name.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Add your photo here!
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Common buckeye, Junonia coenia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This colorful common buckeye has two eyespots on each hind wing, one much larger than the other; and another large eyespot plus a much smaller one on each forewing.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Common buckeye, Junonia coenia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
Common buckeyes are common in the southern United States all year, but will spend a short time in northern states, even reaching southern Canada, in warmer months. This one was photographed in Indiana in October.
Photographed and identified by: Kyle Lengerich. Location: Greenwood, Indiana, USA. Date: 19 October, 2019.
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Common buckeye, Junonia coenia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underside of the common buckeye’s forewings show the large eyespot that can be seen from the top side, but the underside of the hind wings give no indication of the eyespots on their topsides.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 30 October, 2019.
Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita)
Chocolate pansy, also known as a chocolate soldier, Junonia iphita, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The soft brown-on-brown patterns on the chocolate pansy’s wings make for a very attractive butterfly.
Photographed by: Ambika Bhatt, a student at Garhwal University in Uttarakhand State in northern India (guide: Dr. P.Tiwari). Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fatehpur district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Date: 1 March, 2018.
Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita)
Chocolate pansy, also known as a chocolate soldier, Junonia iphita, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ A 2013 study of the habits and ecology of the chocolate pansy showed that it takes less than a month for a newly laid egg to go through its caterpillar and pupal stages and become an adult.
Photographed and identified to order by: Margaret Minor. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, Hong Kong. Date: 3 August, 2019.
Natal Pansy or Brown Pansy (Junonia natalica)
Natal pansy, also known as a brown pansy, Junonia natalica, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The orangish brown and brown hues of the natal pansy offer up a subtle but beautiful butterfly.
Photographed by: Natalie Rowles. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 17 April, 2020.
Natalie says she rescued from underneath the shade-net “and now he/she is so tame that I can touch it, and (it) sort of always flies around me whenever I go near the Outdoor Insect Studio.”
Natal Pansy or Brown Pansy (Junonia natalica)
Natal pansy, also known as a brown pansy, Junonia natalica, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The background color of a natal pansy is usually brown (as shown here), but is sometimes gray instead. Either way, it has the same orange striped and circular markings, and four noticeable white spots at the edge of each forewing.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Margaret Minor. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arusha, Tanzania. Date: 24 May, 2019.
Natal Pansy or Brown Pansy (Junonia natalica)
Natal pansy, also known as a brown pansy, Junonia natalica, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This photo shows the underside of the natal pansy’s wings.
Photographed and identified by: Natalie Rowles. Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 2 May, 2020.
Natalie says, “(It) fluttered all around me, flying away but kept on coming back, quite tame, but restless.”
Little Pansy or Little Commodore (Junonia sophia)
Little pansy, Junonia sophia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The little pansy is found in central Africa. Small groups of these butterflies are often seen flitting among the flowers in gardens and meadows. The close-up shows the speckled eyes of this species.
Photographed and identified to genus by: Margaret Minor. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Arusha, Tanzania. Date: 24 May, 2019.
Add your photo here! Mimic Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus)
Mimic eggfly, also known as danaid eggfly, male, Hypolimnas misippus, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The mimic eggfly is also known as a danaid eggfly, because some of its female forms (there is a lot of variety in this species) mimic a couple of toxic species in the Danaus genus, including the monarch. Males have two elongated white spots on each forewing and one round white spot on each hind wing (as shown).
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with the help of Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest website. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Danaid Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus)
Mimic eggfly, also known as danaid eggfly, female, Hypolimnas misippus, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This is one of several forms of the female mimic eggfly. She is a mimic of another species found in her area: the plain tiger (Danaus chrysippus). The plain tiger is toxic, so the mimicry allows this form of the female mimic eggfly to avoid predation.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 22 May, 2020.
Danaid Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus)
Mimic eggfly, also known as danaid eggfly, male, Hypolimnas misippus, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This male mimic eggfly is deep black with brilliant white spots and just the tiniest bit of white along the wing edges. It looks nearly identical to the male of another species: the great eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina). The difference between the two species is that the white spots of the male great eggfly are ringed in shimmering bluish-purple, while those of the mimic eggfly are not.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 8 March, 2020.
Great Eggfly butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
Great eggfly, also known as the blue moon, female, Hypolimnas bolina, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The upper side of the male great eggfly’s wings are black with two elongated white spots on each forewing and one round white spot on each hind wing. The spots are ringed with an irridescent bluish-purple, which is especially noticeable on the hind-wing spots. The upperside of the female’s wings, on the other hand, have much more brown and have white spots and markings along the edges. See the top and bottom sides of this variable butterfly here. This butterfly is found from Australia to India and Madagascar. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
West Coast lady, Vanessa annabella, subfamily Nymphalinae, Nymphalidae.
□ A good resource for distinguishing this West Coast lad and the other three species of Vanessa butterflies in the United States is at this Iowa State University website. Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 10 September, 2016.
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
West Coast lady, Vanessa annabella, subfamily Nymphalinae, Nymphalidae.
□ Photographed on an Arbutus ‘Marina’ Multi evergreen tree, this image shows the underwings of this West Coast lady.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 28 December, 2016.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, subfamily Nymphalinae, Nymphalidae.
□ The red admiral is found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia and North America. This photo was taken in the UK. See the others on this page taken in the U.S.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 8 September, 2015.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, subfamily Nymphalinae, Nymphalidae.
□ This spectacular close-up photo shows a red admiral feeding. It also provides a great view of details that often go without notice: the bristles on the legs, the hairs the body, and the pattern of the eyes.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 30 October, 2019.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red admiral (underwings), Vanessa atalanta, subfamily Nymphalinae, Nymphalidae.
Red admirals will drink nectar, but are very fond of tree sap and fruit, and are sometimes seen dining on fresh dung. To each his own!
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 29 November, 2016.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Painted lady, Vanessa cardui, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The painted lady is one of the migrating butterflies. Some migrate from northern Africa up as far as the United Kingdom and Sweden when the weather warms in the spring, and head back south with autumn”s chill.
□ Notice the white tips on the antennae, a common feature of many species in this genus.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Headington, Oxford, UK. Date: 18 October, 2009.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Painted lady, Vanessa cardui, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Compare this painted lady to the very similar American lady (Vanessa virginiensis) pictured elsewhere on this page.
□ The painted lady is found on five of the seven continents: North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 1 September, 2013.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Painted lady, Vanessa cardui, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ One way to tell this painted lady from the very similar American lady is to look at the forewing for a tiny white spot in the orange section of the wing. The spot is present in the American lady, but not in the painted lady. The simplest way to tell them apart, however, is when their wings are closed and their underwings are visible — see the description in the underwing photo of the American lady elsewhere on this page. A great comparison of the two species is available here.
Photographed and identified by: Kyle Lengerich. Location: Greenwood, Indiana, USA. Date: 19 October, 2019.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
American lady, Vanessa virginiensis, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The American lady is primarily a North American species, although it is also found on the Canary Islands (off the northwestern coast of Africa), in far northern South America, and occasionally in southwestern Europe.
□ The two large eyespots on the underside of the hind wings (as seen here) help to distinguish this species from the closely related and quite similar-looking painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui), which has four much smaller eyespots on each hind wing.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 17 June, 2012.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
American lady, Vanessa cardui, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The American lady has intricately patterned and beautifully colored underwings. The white tips on the antennae are clearly visible.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Hartwick Pines, Grayling, Michigan, USA. Date: 19 July, 2017.
Add your photo here!
Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia)
Bordered patch, Chlosyne lacinia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The bordered patch has a wide band of orange across both hind wings with tiny white — or sometimes orange — dots behind the band, and a border row of white rectangles on both the forewings and hind wings. In some individuals, the tiny dots are even tinier than those in these photos.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here, and his slow-motion insect videos here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 8 June, 2019.
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
Pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This is a great photo of a pair of pearl crescents with open and closed wings! Nice job, Kelly! The butterfly in front is a male, which is determined by the all-black club on the end of each antenna.
Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Ohio, USA. Date: 9 August, 2015.
Kelly says, “A beautiful pair of Pearl Crescent, sharing some ‘whitewash’ at the marsh. ;-)”
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
Pearl crescent, female, Phyciodes tharos, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underwing pattern of pearl crescents can have a considerable amount of variability. One characteristic feature, however, is the ivory-colored crescent marking seen at the rear edge of the hind wing — in this specimen, the crescent is right in front of a similar-sized, but oval-shaped marking.
Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 18 September, 2018.
Crescent (Phyciodes spp.)
Crescent in the genus Phyciodes, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The northern crescent and pearl crescent both occur in the region where this photo was taken. The two species were considered the same species until rather recently, and they are difficult to tell apart. If it has all-black clubs on the ends of its antennae, it is a male Pearl Crescent. Female pearl crescents and both sexes of northern crescents have orange tips on the clubs, as the one in this photo has.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Michaywé, Otsego County, Michigan, USA. Date: 18 June, 2015.
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
Phaon Crescent, Phyciodes phaon, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ A feature of this phaon crescent is the line of ivory or cream markings on each forewing. Compare this butterfly to the Pearl Crescent shown elsewhere on this page. They are almost identical!
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 4 June, 2018.
Baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)
Baltimore checkerspot, Euphydryas phaeton, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underside of the wings on this Baltimore checkerspot have beautiful patterning. The topsides of the wings have a bit less patterning, but are equally beautiful.
Photographed and identified by: Jeff Goff. Location: Munising, Michigan, USA. Date: 9 August, 2016.
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)
American snout, Libytheana carinenta, subfamily Libytheinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ (Be sure to read the photographer’s comment below.) Note the long “snout” on this American snout. It is actually composed of a pair of labial palps (close-up at right), which are scale-covered appendages that are located on each side of the mouthparts. All butterflies actually have labial palps, but they are much, much smaller in most butterflies. This individual is perched on a wildflower called thoroughwort (Eupatorium serotinum).
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here, and his slow-motion insect videos here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 24 May, 2015.
Rob says, “This butterfly swarms every few years in South Texas. In 1995, I flew into Monterey, Mexico, in a small plane. The pilot came from Longview, Texas, and picked me up at Kerrville, Texas. He said the butterflies were swarming there, too. We never got out of them all the way to Monterey, with a few of them flying over 4,000 feet high. I estimated the swarm to be in the billions.”
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Queen, Danaus gilippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The queen butterfly’s orange wings are speckled with white spots, almost like a constellation of stars, and bordered with black/dark brown. From the underside, the wings look similar except that the veins are highlighted with black/dark brown (rather like the underwings of a Monarch butterfly).
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Monarch Butterfly, male, (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch, male, Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Male monarchs have scent glands, which are visible as oval thickenings in the veins of the hind wing. Do you see them in this specimen?
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Benzie County, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 June, 2010.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch (underwings), Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The wings get all the attention, but the body of a monarch is also quite beautiful with the white pattern on a black background.
Photographed and identified by: Leslie Mertz. Location: Kalkaska County, Michigan, USA. Date: 28 May, 2012.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch (underwings), Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
Monarchs are known for their mass migrations. Every fall, thousands of them leave their summer homes in the United States and Canada, and fly south more than a thousand miles — many as far as 3,000 miles! Those in the eastern/central U.S. and Canada overwinter in the mountain forests of central Mexico, while those in the Pacific Northwest overwinter in southern California.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: Key West, Florida, USA. Date: October, 2015.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch (underwings), Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The photographer captured this pair of mating monarch butterflies. A male monarch will pursue a female in the air, and then push her to a solid surface for mating. Here, a pair is perched on a milkweed leaf.
Photographed and identified by: Annette Raper. Location: Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, USA. Date: 22 August, 2019.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch (underwings), Danaus plexippus, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ During their mass migrations (see previous entry), monarchs fly during the day, and bunch together at night in trees. These “bunches” can include thousands of monarchs that fill tree branches — an amazing sight!
Photographed and identified by: Maggie Merriman. Location: Ringgold, Georgia, USA. Date: 28 August, 2020.
Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe)
Paper kite, also known as a rice paper butterfly or Large Tree Nymph, Idea leuconoe, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The intricate black pattern really shows up on this beautiful white butterfly. The paper kite is a large butterfly with a wingspan of up to 4.5 inches (about 11.4 cm). This species is found in Southeast Asia, northern Australia and Taiwan. (This one was photographed at a butterfly exhibit in Florida.)
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace)
Blue tiger, female, Tirumala limniace, subfamily Danainae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The blue tiger has sky-blue, sometimes almost white areas on its wings. The caterpillars of this butterfly eat a plant called twisting dregea (Dregea volubilis), which is poisonous to would-be predators. The male has a small pouch on the underside of its hind wing; females don’t have it. The male’s pouch contains scent that attracts females for mating purposes.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Kam Shan Country Park, Hong Kong. Date: 20 July, 2019.
Red-Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Although “purple” is in the red-spotted purple’s common name, this butterfly is more blue than purple. This is one of two subspecies within the species (Limenitis arthemis). The other is the white admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis), which has a wide white band that is clearly visible on the top and bottom sides of each wing (see the photo elsewhere on this page).
Photographed and identified by: Mireille Weiland. Location: Red River Gorge, Kentucky, USA. Date: 3 September, 2017.
Red-Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Red-spotted purple (underwings), Limenitis arthemis astyanax, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
Photographed by: Kathy van Bommel-Pol. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mississippi bordering the state of Louisiana, USA. Date: August or September, 2000 or 2001.
Kathy says, “We walked just into this forest and I saw this butterfly. I had my camera with me fortunately (hanging around my neck). I had never seen this size butterfly before (and yes, everything IS bigger in America!!!)” Kathy is from The Netherlands :-)
Red-Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Red-spotted purple (underwings), Limenitis arthemis astyanax, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ When resting, the red-spotted purple typically sits like this with the orange-spotted underside of the wings showing, and the blue of the uppersides hidden.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
White admiral, Limenitis arthemis arthemis, subfamily Limenitidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The white admiral is a subspecies of the red-spotted purple shown previously. These photos show both the dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) sides, and both show the wide white band across the wings.
Photographed and identified by: Celia Godwin. Location: eastern Ontario, Canada. Date: 11 August, 2014.
Add your photo here!
Flame Bordered Charaxes (Charaxes protoclea)
Flame-bordered charaxes, female, Charaxes protoclea, subfamily Charaxinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The flame-bordered charaxes is named for the orange edge on its wings. The female (as shown here) has a white, almost see-through central patch with a thin orange edge on each of her four wings. The male is mainly black with a wide orange edge to its wings. To see the male, click here. This butterfly is native to sub-Saharan Africa.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Jazzy Leafwing (Hypna clytemnestra)
Jazzy leafwing, Hypna clytemnestra, subfamily Charaxinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The jazzy leafwing has a broad white band on each of its otherwise black forewings, and small reddish swallowtails on its hind wings. From the underside, the wings are a jumble of brown, gray and white patches, which would provide excellent camouflage when its wings are folded. This butterfly is native to North and South America.
Photographed by: Bob McCarthy. Identified by: Bill Mertz. Thank you, Bill! Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Banded King Shoemaker (Archaeoprepona demophon)
Banded king shoemaker, also known as a one-spotted prepona, Archaeoprepona demophon, subfamily Charaxinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ When viewed from the top (like this one), the banded king shoemaker is brilliant blue and black. When its wings are folded, however, it looks completely different: beige to light gray with a few thing, black lines. This butterfly is found from northern South America up through Mexico.
Photographed by: Bob Carpenter. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly exhibit, Arizona, USA. Date: 2019.
Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
Speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The speckled wood butterfly varies in its appearance in certain areas. Depending on the region where it is found, the spots may be a different color (e.g., orange instead of cream), and the background color of the wings, which is brown in this specimen, may be more orange in color.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 6 May, 2013.
Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
Speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ This speckled wood butterfly has slightly more orange in the brown of its wings than some individuals of this species.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 8 August, 2016.
Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
Speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ These photos show the upper and lower sides of this speckled wood butterfly’s wings. The lower side shows the characteristic eyespot on the forewing, and the series of tiny white dots on the hind wing.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Oxford University Botanic Garden and Arboretum, Oxford, England. Date: 24 September, 2017.
Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus)
Gatekeeper, also known as a hedge brown, Pyronia tithonus, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ A simple way to the difference between the gatekeeper and the similar meadow brown (pictured elsewhere on this page) is to check the eyespots. The Gatekeeper has a pair of similar-sized, white eyespots on each forewing, while the Meadow Brown a single large eyespot on each forewing (sometimes with a second, neighboring tiny eyespot).
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 8 August, 2016.
Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus)
Gatekeeper, also known as a hedge brown, Pyronia tithonus, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Some gatekeepers, as seen here, have no spots on their hind wings.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 26 July, 2019.
Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus)
Gatekeeper, also known as a hedge brown, Pyronia tithonus, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ When its wings are folded, as shown here, the gatekeeper’s forewing shows off a black eyespot with two small dots of white within; and a brown and cream-colored hind wing punctuated with a few small white dots.
Photographed and identified to family by: Jean-Louis Metzger>. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Headington, Oxford, UK. Date: 8 July, 2017.
Common Ringlet butterfly (Coenonympha tullia)
Common ringlet, Coenonympha tullia, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The common ringlet has a quite variable appearance. This one has some typical features: the small eyespot on each forewing (it is larger in some individuals), slightly redder forewings than hindwings, and zigzig white bar running through each hindwing. For scale, the photographer notes that the flower is about 10 mm (0.4 inches) in diameter.
Photographed and identified to order by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size image here. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California. Date: 14 October, 2019.
Thomas says, “I have never seen this butterfly before and I was only able to get an image like this of it before it flew away.”
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Meadow brown, Maniola jurtina, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The meadow brown butterfly is quite common throughout suitable habitat in the United Kingdom.
Photographed by: Yvonne Ugarte. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. Date: 17 October, 2016.
Yvonne says, “So beautiful. Tried giving this one some sugar water off a spoon, but it was too late for this one.”
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Meadow brown, female, Maniola jurtina, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The female meadow brown has swaths of orange color on the wings around the eyespot. The male typically has much less orange around the eyespot.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 8 August, 2016.
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Meadow brown, Maniola jurtina, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underside of the meadow brown’s wings are quite lovely with the blush of red-orange on the forewing that is set off by the eye spot, and the dark and light coloration on the hind wing.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 23 June, 2020.
Bryan says, “There are a lot of Meadow Browns about at the moment.” They were his first sightings of the year of this butterfly.
Little Wood Satyr (<i>Megisto cymela</i>)
Little wood satyr, Megisto cymela, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The yellow-rimmed black eyespots are a characteristic of the little wood satyr.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 10 August, 2012.
Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The photographer notes the “nice bright outline on the edges of the spread wings” of this ringlet. See the next photo for a view of the underside of the wings.
□ The pattern of eyespots on the hindwing help to identify this ringlet. The photographer notes, “The markings on the underside show why the butterfly is named as such.” This was Bryan’s first experience seeing a Ringlet — so exciting!
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 5 July, 2018.
Pale-Brand Bushbrown (Mycalesis orcha)
Pale-brand bushbrown, Mycalesis orcha, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The pale-brand bushbrown has a nearly straight white line running down the middle of both wings when it perches as it is here in this photo. This line, plus the pattern of eye spots, helps identify this species.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 February, 2020.
Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda)
Common evening brown, Melanitis leda, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underwings of the common evening brown can look quite different between individuals and from one season to another. The one at left is a dry-season form: mostly light brown with some dark-brown highlights. In the wet season form, shown at right, the underwings are covered with brown, curved lines and include several white-centered, black eyespots. To see some of the variation in this species, click here. Although not definitively identified as a Common Evening Brown, the specimen in the center appears to be another dry season form of a Common Evening Brown.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 2019-20.
Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides)
Blue morpho, also known as the Peleides blue morpho or emporer, Morpho peleides, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The beautiful blue morpho is a huge butterfly with a wingspan that reaches up to 7.9 inches (20 cm), although some individuals may have wingspans as small as 3 inches (7.6 cm) — that’s quite a range!
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides)
Blue morpho, also known as the Peleides blue morpho or emporer, Morpho peleides, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The underwings of the blue morpho feature large and small eyespots. It is found in Mexico, Central America and northern South America, but this one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa)
Mexican bluewing, Myscelia ethusa, subfamily Biblidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ Gorgeous in black and shimmering blue, the Mexican bluewing is a large butterfly with a wingspan that reaches 3 inches across (7.6 cm). This butterfly is found in Mexico and Central America, sometimes reaching into Colombia in South America, and southern Texas in the United States. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Starry Night Cracker (Hamadryas laodamia)
Starry Night Cracker, or Starry Cracker, Hamadryas laodamia, subfamily Biblidinae, family Nymphalidae.
Starry night cracker is a perfect name for this butterfly — the blue flecks look like stars on a crisp moonless night. This butterfly is found in the Caribbean, sometimes reaching into Mexico or the Amazon rainforest region of South America. This one was photographed in a butterfly exhibit in the United States.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Butterfly Rainforest, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Common Castor (Ariadne merione)
Dakhan common castor, Ariadne merione, subfamily Biblidinae, family Nymphalidae.
□ The Dakhan common castor’s orangish tan wings are festooned with narrow zigzag lines, and each forewing is decorated with a single white spot. Many individuals have a very thin white border on the edge of the forewings and hindwings, as can be seen in this photo.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 August, 2019.

Hesperiidae, the skippers

Common Checkered Skipper female (Pyrgus communis)
Common checkered skipper, female, Pyrgus communis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ Through some investigative work on Bugguide.net, the photographer found that female common checkered skipper (shown here) has less of a bluish cast on the upperside of the body head, compared to the male (shown in next photos).
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 18 August, 2016.
Common Checkered Skipper male (Pyrgus communis)
Common checkered skipper, male, Pyrgus communis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ See the photographer’s comment below about the blue cast on this male common checkered skipper.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 17 August, 2020.
Thomas says, “When I first saw this guy, the blue color was very striking and I thought I had something other than a common checkered skipper, until he opened his wings to catch the early morning sun.”
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
Northern cloudywing, Thorybes pylades, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The male of the northern cloudywing has a small fold on each forewing, and inside are “scent scales.” Beneath the scales is a scent organ that releases an odor to attract females. The scent scales have tiny hair plumes that waft the scent into the air.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 31 October, 2018.
Rocky Mountain Duskywing (Erynnis telemachus)
Rocky Mountain duskywing, Erynnis telemachus, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The duskywings can be difficult to tell apart, but we think this is a Rocky Mountain duskywing based on the the early time of year when this photo was taken.
Photographed and identified as a duskywing by: Bill Flor. Location: Los Alamos County, New Mexico, USA. Date: 22 March, 2015.
Bill says he took this photo “on a warm early spring day that had teased some of the flowering trees to bloom almost two months before our frost-free date.”
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
Juvenal’s duskywing, Erynnis juvenalis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The male juvenal’s duskywing has very tiny white hairs here and there on the wings. The female lacks the white hairs.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 10 August, 2012.
Juvenal's duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
Juvenal’s duskywing, Erynnis juvenalis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
juvenal’s duskywing looks very similar to the mottled duskywing. Both have dark wings, including some mottling on the forewings and small cream-colored markings, but the pattern of the markings is a bit different. In addition, the forewings of the mottled duskywing are often described as having a purplish sheen, while the forewings of the juvenal’s duskywing are not purplish.
Photographed by: Denise Rulason. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 17 May, 2018.
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
Funereal duskywing, Erynnis funeralis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The funereal duskywing has just a narrow white border on its hind wings, much of which has worn away in this individual. The name funereal comes from its nearly all-brown, rather somber color that might be fit for a funeral.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 28 March, 2020.
Robert says he found this duskywing on the “Guadalupe River Arcadia Loop crossing, feeding on southern dewberry.”
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
Duskywing, quite possibly funereal duskywing, Erynnis funeralis, subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The funereal duskywing is a dark skipper. Its hind wing is nearly solid dark brown, but with a sharp, white border. The forewings are also dark brown but some individuals may have just a bit of mottling, and each forewing has four tiny white spots: three grouped together and one slightly separated from the three. A close look at this photo shows the four tiny spots.
Photographed and identified to family by: Margaret Minor. Identified to genus and tentative species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, California, USA. Date: 24 July, 2019.
Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
Peck’s skipper, Polites peckius, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed by: Kyle Lengerich. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Indiana, USA. Date: 2018.
Kyle says, “These little guys loved this plant and my English lavender. They would rest on my peach tree saplings in the day and come over the the garden in the evening. I didn’t realize till after I took this picture you could see its proboscis.”
Sandhill Skipper (Polites sabuleti)
Sandhill skipper, Polites sabuleti, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: Arthur Shapiro, who runs “Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site.” Thank you, Dr. Shapiro! See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 13-14 July, 2016.
Common Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
Common roadside skipper, Amblyscirtes vialis, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Michigan, USA. Date: 10 August, 2012.
Umber Skipper (Poanes melane)
Umber skipper, Poanes melane, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: Arthur Shapiro, who runs “Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site.” Thank you, Dr. Shapiro! See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 10 September, 2016.
Pale Palm Dart (Telicota colon)
Pale palm dart, Telicota colon, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The pale palm dart is orange and dark brown. The top side of its wings have noticeable brown veining, a wide dark-brown border on all four wings, and a dark brown swath of color on each forewing. From the inderside, the wings are mainly orange with a thin brown line near the edge of the wings.
Photographed and identified to subfamily by: Margaret Minor. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong. Date: 28 October, 2019.
Common Grass Dart, Taractrocera maevius
Common grass dart, Taractrocera maevius, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ This is a typical posture of skippers, which does not show the upper side of the wings. The photographer guessed it was an Indian palm bob (Suastus gremius gremius), but butterfly expert Krushnamegh Kunte of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bengaluru, India, determined it to be a sparsely marked specimen (perhaps from a dry season) of the common grass dart. Thank you, Dr. Kunte!
Photographed and identified to family by: Priya Sharma. Identified to species byL Krushnamegh Kunte. Location: Himachal Pradesh, India. Date: 9 June, 2018.
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Fiery skipper, male, Hylephila phyleus, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Date: 22 August, 2012.
Fiery Skippers (Hylephila phyleus)
Fiery skipper, mating pair, Hylephila phyleus, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The photographer caught this pair of fiery skippers mating, and in different views! The male is the one that is more orange; the female is more gray-brown. He describes the play-by-play in his comments below.
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size images here, here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 25 October, 2019.
Thomas says, “This whole event lasted about 55 minutes; I was there at the beginning! They were at the angled position for about 35 minutes and then straightened out until they separated. They flew off to a close branch where they landed about a foot apart, but stayed for only a few seconds before they left.”
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Fiery skipper, male, Hylephila phyleus, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by Arthur Shapiro, who runs “Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site.” Thank you, Dr. Shapiro! See Thomas’ full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 13-14 July, 2016.
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Fiery skipper, male, Hylephila phyleus, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The male fiery skipper (shown here) has mainly orange wings with brown markings. The female has considerably more brown on its wings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 13 January, 2019.
Long-Tailed Skipper (Urbanus spp.)
Long-tailed skipper in the genus Urbanus, subfamily Eudaminae, family Hesperiidae.
Long-tailed skippers (in the genus Urbanus) have long sweeps on the trailing edge of their hind wings, giving these small butterflies an elegant look.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 24 September, 2018.
Long-Tailed Skipper (Urbanus spp.)
Long-tailed skipper in the genus Urbanus, subfamily Eudaminae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The color variation of this long-tailed skipper is beautiful.
Photographed and identified by: Ron Andrew. Location: St. Lucia. Date: 23 November, 2020.
Sachem's Skipper (Atalopedes campestris)
Grass skipper, possibly Sachem’s skipper also known as a field skipper, Atalopedes campestris, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
Sachem’s skipper has mainly orange underwings, as seen here. If the uppersides of the wings were visible, the male of the species is distinguishable by a black, rectangular marking (called a stigma) in the center of each forewing.
Photographed by: Maggie Merriman. Location: Ringgold, Georgia, USA. Date: 28 August, 2020.
Sachem's Skipper/Field Skipper (Atalopedes campestris)
Sachem’s skipper also known as a field skipper, Atalopedes campestris, subfamily Hesperiinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ This mating pair Sachem’s skippers (male behind the female in the left photo) gives an excellent look at the bluish-tinged hair on the body, as well as the white border on the wings.
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Thomas Langhans. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 13-21 September, 2020.
Thomas says, “This pair of skippers fluttered around together for at least 20 minutes; wherever the one went the other one would follow and land behind it. The leader would feed but the follower never did.
Silver-Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Silver-spotted skipper, Epargyreus clarus, subfamily Eudaminae, family Hesperiidae.
□ This view of a silver-spotted skipper shows the orange stripe on the top wing as well as the white blotch on the underside of the lower wing.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 31 August, 2017.
Oriental Common Banded Awl (Hasora chromus)
Oriental common banded awl, Hasora chromus, subfamily Coeliadinae, family Hesperiidae.
□ The hind wing of the Oriental common banded awl has a little fold with a black marking, which is just barely seen in this photo. The closely related Plain Banded Awl, Hasora vitta, looks similar, but the white band on the wings is usually a bit broader.
Photographed and identified by: Raj Bhuvan. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 February, 2020.
Unidentified Skipper
Unidentified skipper, family Hesperiidae.
□ This is a typical posture of skippers. Such a posture can make it very challenging to determine species, however!
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 12 December, 2017.
Unidentified Skipper
Unidentified skipper, family Hesperiidae.
□ If you recognize the species, please let us know!
Photographed and identified as a skipper by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 8 September, 2018.
Unidentified Skipper
Unidentified skipper, family Hesperiidae.
□ If you recognize the species, please let us know!
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 6 October, 2019.

Pieridae, the whites, yellows and sulphurs

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Cabbage white, male and female, Pieris rapae, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ Female cabbage whites have two, circular, black spots on each forewing; the male has one on each forewing. To see the eggs and caterpillars of this species, here.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 14 July, 2016.
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Cabbage white, mating pair, Pieris rapae, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ These wonderful photos show a mating pair of cabbage whites from two angles.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size images here and here See the photographer’s comment below. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 5 July, 2019. Thomas says, “I saw a really weird-looking and weird-flying butterfly and didn’t realize what it was exactly until they landed.”
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Cabbage white, Pieris rapae, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The cabbage white gets around: This shot was taken on a different continent from the butterflies shown in the previous photos.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 8 August, 2016.
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Cabbage white, Pieris rapae, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The underside of the cabbage white’s wings are primarily white or very light yellow. Each forewing has a single black spot, and the hindwings may (or may not) have a small smudge of black (barely seen in this photo).
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: England UK. Date: 19 July, 2015.
Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
Checkered white, male, Pontia protodice, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ This Checkered White looks similar to the cabbage white butterfly (elsewhere on this page), but the checkered white lacks the single, heavy-black patch on the tips of its forewings. The female checkered white has more gray and black markings on its wings than the male (shown here).
Photographed and identified to family by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 24 March, 2018.
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)
Great southern white, male, Ascia monuste, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The great southern white has light-blue tips on its antennae, as seen in the close-up. The male has a series of black triangles along the border of its forewings, as seen here. The females have darker border markings, often with smoky gray mottling in the hindwings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 22 April, 2020.
Great Orange Tip (Hebomoia glaucippe)
Great orange tip, Hebomoia glaucippe, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The well-named great orange tip is found in India, as well as much of Southeast Asia and East Asia.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with the help of Florida Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest website.
□ The greater orange tip and orange tip (shown elsewhere on this page) are different species.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, Gainesville, Florida, USA. Date: 25 May, 2018.
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Orange tip, male, Anthocharis cardamines, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The male orange tip has orange tips on its wings, as shown here. The female has no orange coloration. The undersides of the wings in both males and females are mottled with black. To see the female and the underside of the wings, click here (learnaboutbutterflies.com).
□ The orange tip and great orange tip (shown elsewhere on this page) are different species.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 30 April, 2021.
Bryan spotted this butterfly after a morning walk. He says, “Eventually settled and I could get this shot. Really pleased because, although it's not a rare insect here, it was the very first time I’ve managed to get a photo of one.” Very exciting, Bryan!
Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)
Sleepy orange, Abaeis nicippe, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ The sleepy orange, sometimes known as a sleepy sulphur, gets the “sleepy” part of its name from its rather lazy flight. Note: This species was formerly listed under the genus name Eurema.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 29 December, 2016.
Robert found this butterfly on the shrub known as silver dalea. He also has wildflowers posted here.
Common wanderer or Indian wanderer (Pareronia hippia)
Common wanderer, also known as an Indian wanderer, Pareronia hippia, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ When its wings are open, the top side of the common wanderer’s forewings are visible — they are pale blue with wide, dark brown edges. In this photo, the butterflies wings are closed, and little chunks of its hind wings and forewings are missing, so although it may look like the forewing has an eyespot at the edge, that is actually part of the top side of the other forewing. Note: This species is sometimes listed as a subspecies of Pareronia valeria.
Photographed and identified by: Raj Bhuvan. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 February, 2020.
Red-spot jezebel (Delias descombesi)
Red-spot Jezebel, Delias descombesi, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
Photographed by: Gosal Das. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Agartala, Tripura, India. Date: 1 May, 2017.
Red-base jezebel (Delias pasithoe)
Red-base Jezebel, Delias pasithoe, subfamily Pierinae, family Pieridae.
□ This red at the base of the hind wing gives this red-base Jezebel its common name. The yellow patches in the hind wing as well as the black banding on both wings can be quite vivid.
Photographed and identified by: Margaret Minor. Location: Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong. Date: 29 July, 2019.
Orange-Barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea)
Orange-barred sulphur, Phoebis philea, subfamily Coliadinae, family Pieridae.
□ Like many other members of this family, the orange-barred sulphur usually poses for photos with its wings closed (as shown here). That is unfortunate, because the upper side of this butterfly’s are a lovely lemon-yellow with a single, large, soft-orange spot on each forewing, and the rear half of each hind wing also in orange.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 8 September, 2018.
Cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Cloudless sulphur, Phoebis sennae, subfamily Coliadinae, family Pieridae.
□ This photo shows cloudless sulphurs on a blue-flowered plumbago. According to the University of Florida, some of the cloudless sulphur’s favorite plants are scarlet creeper, cypressvine, scarlet sage, and Texas sage. To read more about this beauty from the University of Florida, click here.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 8 August, 2017.
Cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Cloudless sulphur, male, Phoebis sennae, subfamily Coliadinae, family Pieridae.
□ Another gorgeous cloudless sulphur. The male has less obvious white spots on the hind wings than the female has, and he has a nondescript brown marking on the forewing, which is much more pronounced in the female. To compare the sexes, click here.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 24 April, 2016.
Sulphur (Phoebis spp.)
Sulphur in the genus Phoebis, subfamily Coliadinae, family Pieridae.
□ This Sulphur lacks any distinguishing markings on its hindwing, which makes identification problematic. The photographer guessed that it is a cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae), which has a wingspan of up to 3.2 inches (8 cm). Another possibility is the closely related large orange sulphur (Phoebis agarithe), which can be slightly bigger with a wingspan of up to 3.4 inches (8.5 cm).
Photographed and identified by: Manzeal Khanal. Location: Uvalde, Texas, USA. Date: 18 August, 2019.
Manzeal says this sulphur is feeding on a buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). He adds, “The light green background is the water surface of a stream which is flowing very slowly about 3 feet (1 meter) below the flower.”

Lycaenidae, the coppers

Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)
Bronze copper, male, Lycaena hyllus, subfamily Lycaeninae, family Lycaenidae.
□ Male and female bronze coppers have a different appearance. The male is shown here. In the female, the topside of each of her forewings has a large, yellow to orange patch with dark spots.
Photographed and identified by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Location: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio, USA. Date: 29 August, 2015.
Kelly says, “First Bronze Copper of the year anywhere for me. Really cool-looking male here. Check out slight purple FW (forewing) iridescence.”
Bronze Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Small copper, Lycaena phlaeas, subfamily Lycaeninae, family Lycaenidae.
□ This is a handsome small copper was found in the UK. In the U.S., where it also lives, it is called the American Copper instead of the Small Copper.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: South Devon, England, UK. Date: 31 July, 2017.
Common Cerulean (Jamides celeno)
Common cerulean, Jamides celeno, subfamily Lycaeninae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The common cerulean typically perches as seen here: with its wings folded and the striped underside showing. When it opens its wings, however, the pale lavender-blue of the upper side of the wings is visible. To see the upper side of the wings, click here.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Date: 23 February, 2020.
Silver Forget-Me-Not (Catochrysops panormus)
Silver forget-me-not, Catochrysops panormus, subfamily Lycaeninae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The silver forget-me-not often sits in this pose, showing off the red and black eyespot and white-barred lines on the underside of the wings. The upper side of the wings are pale silvery-blue and the body is covered with short blue fur. To see the upper side of the wings, click here (Butterflies of India).
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Location: Robertsonpet, Karnataka, India. Date: 22 May, 2020.
Golden Sapphire (Heliophorus brahma)
Golden sapphire, also known as Himalayan Golden Sapphire, Heliophorus brahma, subfamily Lycaeninae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The golden sapphire actually has quite a bit of variation — some have less of the white outline on the wings, some have large orange blotches on the forewings. Note the small and thin “tail” dangling from the end of each hind wing.
Photographed by: Ambika Bhatt, a student at Garhwal University in Uttarakhand State in northern India (guide: Dr. P.Tiwari). Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Fatehpur district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Date: 18 February, 2018.
Add your photo here! Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Common blue, Polyommatus icarus, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The common blue has a hairy, blue thorax, and blue to almost lavender wings with a thin brown border and white fringe on the edges.
Photographed and identified by: Jean-Louis Metzger. Location: Burford, UK. Date: 30 July, 2018.
Reakirt’s Blue (Echinargus isola)
Reakirt’s blue, Echinargus isola, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ From the top side, Reakirt’s blue pale blue wings often mixed with some brown, and noticeable brown veins. From the underside, as seen here, the forewings have a row of white-bordered spots, and each hind wing has a trio of eye spots toward the wing’s rear.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 24 August, 2019.
Robert spotted this one probing raccoon feces. The normal diet for Reakirt’s Blue, however, is flower nectar, and they are often seen feeding on clover blooms.
Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly (Brephidium exile)
Western pygmy blue, Brephidium exile, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ With a wingspan of only a half-inch (1.2 cm), the western pygmy blue is one of the smallest butterflies in the world.
□ The pattern on the underside of the lower wings (photo at left) includes a row of black, heart-shaped markings along the edge.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Thomas’ full-size images here and here. Location: South San Francisco, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 24 November, 2017.
Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly (Brephidium exile)
Western pygmy blue, Brephidium exile, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ This wonderful series of photos shows the tops and bottoms of the wings, as well as a pair of western pygmy blues. The oranges and blues in these individuals are quite vibrant.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See Thomas’ full-size images here, here and here. Location: South San Francisco, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 17 November, 2019.
Thomas says, “In 2017 (see his other photos of this species on this page), I only remember seeing one butterfly. This year there were so many that I never would have be able to count they all; they were just flying all over the place.”
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)
Cassius Blue, Leptotes cassius, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ Blues can be difficult to tell apart, especially from the underwings alone, but the cassius blue has a this eye-catching pattern, along with the two metallic-blue eye spots to set it apart. See the upper wings in the next photo.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: Audrey Maran. Thank you, Audrey! Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 17 October, 2017.
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)
Cassius blue, Leptotes cassius, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The cassius blue usually rests with its wings closed, but occasionally a diligent observer sees one sitting with its upper wings showing. The blue thorax is characteristic, but the amount of blue on the upper wings varies by the individual. This one has a small patch of blue on the upper forewings.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 29 June, 2019.
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
Marine Blue, also sometimes called a striped blue, Leptotes marina, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ From the top side, the marine blue has a blue to purplish-blue sheen mainly near the body and often a paler gray to brown toward the outside of the wings. The top side of each hind wing also sports a black spot (as seen in this photo). The underside of the wings are white with many bands of light brown. This banding gives it its alternate common name: Striped Blue.
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here. Location: Guadalupe River, Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 28 March, 2020.
Brown Argus (Aricia agestis)
Brown argus, Aricia agestis, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The brown argus is identified in part by the row of orange, boomerang-shaped markings on the hind wings.
Photographed and identified to order by: Syed Gazanfar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Kashmir, India. Date: 22 July, 2018.
Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus)
Ciliate blue, Anthene emolus, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ This ciliate blue has a beautiful blue/purple color on the upper side of the wings. Its striped antennae are also quite pretty with the orange tips.
Photographed by: Gosal Das. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Agartala, Tripura, India. Date: 1 April, 2017. Gosal found the insect at his home.
Ciliate Blue
Ciliate blue, Anthene emolus, subfamily Polyommatinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The underside of the wings in the ciliate blue are a striking contrast in color to the blue on the topside.
Photographed by: Gosal Das. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Agartala, Tripura, India. Date: 1 April, 2017.
Add your photo here!
Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus)
Purple hairstreak, Favonius quercus, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ Depending on the light, the purple hairstreak can be more of a bluish-purple, or a reddish-purple (as seen here) with a thin white border on the wings. Just inside the white border is a wider dark band.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England UK. Date: 10 July, 2020.
Bryan spied this pretty butterfly while on a birding hike. He says, “hardly any birds around, but a variety of butterflies, which included this Purple Hairstreak.”
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Gray hairstreak, Strymon melinus, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
Gray hairstreaks typically rest in this posture — with only a slight peek of the upper side of the wings visible. To identify this species, look at the underside of the forewing to find a large red and black eyespot, as well as a broken white line, which is underscored with orange and black.
Photographed by: Kyle Lengerich. Location: Greenwood, Indiana, USA. Date: 2018.
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Gray hairstreak, Strymon melinus, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The “hairstreak” part of the gray hairstreak’s comes from the tiny, hair-like extension that is seen on the rear of the hind wings in some species, including this one.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 10 September, 2016.
Thomas says, “The butterfly was always head down whenever I saw and photographed it.”
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Gray hairstreak (underwings), Strymon melinus, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
Photographed and identified by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size image here. Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 10 September, 2016.
White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)
White M hairstreak, Parrhasius m-album, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ Compare this to the gray hairstreak pictured elsewhere on this page. The white M hairstreak has a large white M design on the underside of the hind wing (evident in this photo), and this sets it apart from the Gray Hairstreak.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 7 April, 2018.
Red-Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
Red-banded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ As seen here, a red band runs across the underside of both the hind wings and forewings in the red-banded hairstreak. This one also has a evident black outline to the thin slice of red on the forewing near the head — the black outline is not present in all Red-Banded Hairstreaks.
Photographed and identified by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Location: The Villages, Florida, USA. Date: 15 June, 2019.
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
Juniper hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ This is one of several subspecies of the juniper hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus); the photographer identified it as an olive juniper hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus gryneus). Subspecies are named when they have distinctive features, such as different patterning, or live in specific geographic locations. (The third name in a species name denotes that it is a subspecies).
Photographed and identified by: Robert E. Carpenter. See Robert’s collection of butterflies of Texas here. Location: Kerrville, Texas, USA. Date: 12 April, 2018.
Robert says, “This beautiful insect is common in the Texas Hill Country. It is easily photographed on wildflowers and fruit tree blossoms.”
Atala (Eumaeus atala)
Atala, Eumaeus atala, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ The tiny atala is shown here sitting on the tip of a finger. It is found on the Carribean islands and up into southeastern Florida. The photographer says this one was being released in a butterfly house in South Carolina.
Photographed by: Sheldon L. Boyd. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org with help from the Florida Museum. Location: Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, USA. Date: 24 July, 2018.
Sheldon says, “This butterfly remains small for its lifespan.”
Atala (Eumaeus atala)
Atala, Eumaeus atala, subfamily Theclinae, family Lycaenidae.
□ Although the atala was very common in Florida back in the mid-20th century, it almost went extinct when its host plant — a cycad called a coontie (Zamia integrifolia) was over-harvested. Thanks to conservation efforts, the Atala has made a comeback. Although still rare in the wild, they are showing up in small populations here and there in Florida.
□ More information about this little gem is available by clicking here and here.
Photographed and identified by: Marv Goldberg. Location: near Tamarac, Florida, USA. Date: 16 December, 2018.
Add your photo here! Add your photo here!

Riodinidae, the metalmarks

Red-Bordered Pixie (Melanis pixe)
Red-bordered pixie, Melanis pixe, subfamily Riodininae, family Riodinidae.
□ The red-bordered pixie is found in Central America, Mexico, and barely up into the United States in the southernmost part of Texas (where this photo was taken). The caterpillars are yellow with black lines and spots, and have long hairs. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of different pea-family plants and trees, while the adults drink nectar from the flowers of those trees, as well as the flowers of lantana, citrus, coffee plants, and manjack trees.
Photographed by: Syvian Faith. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: near South Padre Island, Brownsville, Texas, USA. Date: 12 October, 2018.
Syvian says, “I have a very tropical backyard that I work very hard on in order to get as many birds, especially hummingbirds, and butterflies as I can.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Sounds beautiful!”
Add your photo here! Add your photo here!


I would like to return to the start of this key.



HomeWho We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, request it here.

Photos at the top of this website are by: Leslie Mertz, Ph.D., LMERTZ@nasw.org.

Reproduction of material from any KnowYourInsects.org webpages without written permission is strictly prohibited.