pictures of common Types of Butterflies

These pictures of butterflies will help you name some of the types of butterflies you may see where you live.

It's fun to identify the butterfly types.

Pictures of Common Types of ButterfliesIdentify Common Butterflies

Swallowtail Butterflies have long tails.

Identify Sulphurs and Whites by their colors. 

Longwings are in the group of Brush-footed Butterflies.

Monarchs are Milkweed Butterflies. 

We often see Skippers flitting from flower to flower.

Is it a butterfly of a Moth?



Swallowtail Butterflies

Swallowtails probably are the most remarkable of the many types of butterflies.

They are fairly large (3" to 6") and they have an elongation on the end of their hind-wings.

eastern black swallowtail

Black Swallowtail Butterfly PhotoEastern Black Swallowtail

They are common throughout the eastern United States and down to South America. They are  2 1/2" to 3 1/2".

The male and female Black Swallowtails may differ somewhat in coloring.

picture of Eastern Black Swallowtail ButterflyMale Black Swallowtail
female Black Swallowtail Butterfly pictureFemale Black Swallowtail
Pictures of Common Types of ButterfliesIdentify Common Butterflies

Swallowtail Butterflies have long tails.

Identify Sulphurs and Whites by their colors.

Longwings are in the group of Brush-footed Butterflies.

Monarchs are Milkweed Butterflies. 

We often see Skippers flitting from flower to flower.

Is it a butterfly of a Moth?






Swallowtail Butterflies

Swallowtails probably are the most remarkable of the many types of butterflies.

They are fairly large (3" to 6") and they have an elongation on the end of their hind-wings.


eastern black swallowtail

Black Swallowtail Butterfly PhotoEastern Black Swallowtail

They are common throughout the eastern United States and down to South America. They are  2 1/2" to 3 1/2".

The male and female Black Swallowtails may differ somewhat in coloring.

picture of Eastern Black Swallowtail ButterflyMale Black Swallowtail
female Black Swallowtail Butterfly pictureFemale Black Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Giant Swallowtail pictureGiant Swallowtail Butterfly

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly is around 6" in length.

It is found east of the Rockies, all the way to South America.

It has bright yellow and black markings on the top of the wings.

The underside is pale yellow with black.

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly

Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly picturePalamedes Swallowtail Butterfly

It is seen in the swampy areas along the eastern United States and down into the gulf coast.
4 1/2" to 5 1/8"

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

Beautiful butterfly photo od the Pipevine SwallowtailPipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

This beautiful butterfly is seen from the Great Lakes to Southern California and down into Central America.
2/3/4" to 3 1/2"

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Zebra Swallowtail, a Florida butterflyZebra Swallowtail Butterfly

The Zebra Swallowtail is found in much of the eastern part of the United States.

It may be confused with the Tiger Swallowtail, but it is noticeably smaller.

It is black and white with no yellow on it.
2 1/2" to 3 1/2"

Spicebrush Swallowtail butterfly

Spicebrush Swallowtail Butterfly pictureSpicebrush Swallowtail

The Spicebrush may be distinguished from the Black Swallowtail by the orange spot on the hind-wing.

The Black Swallowtail's orange spot has black in the center. The Spicebrush's spot is totally orange.

The blush on the hind-wings may be blue or white.
3 1/2" to 4 3/4"


Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

picture of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Butterfly Bush flowersEastern Tiger Swallowtail --- Male

One of my favorite types of butterflies - it is stunning.
3 1/2" to 5 1/2"

picture of Western Tiger Swallowtail ButterflyWestern Tiger Swallowtail Is A Bit Smaller

It has blue and orange spots on the end of it's hind-wings.
3" to 4"

female Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly pictureEastern Tiger Swallowtail - Female

The female has a bluish blush on bottom of her hind-wings.

photo of the dark form of a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail ButterflyDark Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Female

There is a dark form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail female.


Sulphurs and Whites

Sulphurs and Whites are the most common types of butterflies.

They are just like their names imply, either white or sulphur yellow. They are smaller than the large swallowtails, but more numerous.

cabbage whites

Cabbage White Butterfly photoCabbage White

I would always see the whites in the farm fields of California.
1 1/4" to 1 7/8"

Life Cycle of a Butterfly

great southern white

Butterfly picture of the Great Southern WhiteGreat Southern White

In Florida I see them on the roadside plants. You can tell it by the distinctive blue tip on their antennas.
1 3/4" to 2 1/4"

Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly pictureCloudless Sulphur

When they fly, they don't float, they are always flapping their wings.
2 1/4" to 2 3/4"


Longwing types of Butterflies

The wings of the Longwings are much longer then they are wide.

Longwing types of butterflies are part of the Brush-footed Butterflies, but who looks at their feet. It is easier to see their long wings.

julia butterfly

Picture of the Julia Longwing Butterfly also known as the Orange Longwing ButterflyJulia Butterfly

The Julia is sometimes called the Orange Longwing.
3 1/4" to 3 1/2"


Zebra Longwing Butterfly

Zebra Longwing Butterfly is the Florida state butterflyZebra Longwing Butterfly

They are the Florida State Butterfly. They live several months, longer than other butterflies.
2 3/4" to 3 1/2"

More Butterfly Facts

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly photoGulf Fritillary Butterfly

Another longwing butterfly is the Gulf Fritillary. It is a common type of butterflies in Florida.

They have orange wings with dark spots, but they have no definite vein markings.
2 1/2" to 3 3/4"

gulf fritillary underside

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly underside photoUnderside

You may think they are different types of butterflies
until you see both sides.

They have large silvery spots on the underside of their wings.



Brush-footed butterflies

The front legs of the Brush-footed Butterflies look a bit like a brush.

They walk and stand mainly on their back legs.

Painted Lady Butterfly

Picture of the Painted Lady ButterflyPainted Lady Butterfly

This lovely little butterfly is seen thru out many parts of the world.
2" to 2 1/4"


painted lady underside

Photo of the Virginia Painted Lady ButterflyPainted Lady Underside

They have very interesting patterns on the underside of their wings.


Great Spangled Fritillary

Picture of the Great Spangled Fritillary ButterflyGreat Spangled Fritillary

The Great Spangled Fritillary is common throughout much of the eastern United States.
2 1/8" to 3"

American painted lady

Picture of the American Painted Lady Butterfly, sometimes called the Virginia Painted LadyAmerican Painted Lady

The American Painted Lady has a large eye-spot on the back wings.

The Painted Lady lacks this eye-spot.
2" to 2 1/4"

White Peacock Butterfly

Picture of the beautiful White Peacock ButterflyWhite Peacock Butterfly

The White Peacock Butterfly is seen in south Texas, parts of Florida and down thru Mexico, Central America and into Venezuela.
2 1/8" to 2 3/4"

Plant some Butterfly Flowers

Red Admiral butterfly

Red Admiral Butterfly photoRed Admiral

The first time I saw a Red Admiral Butterfly I was amazed at their brilliant red coloring.

It is seen thru out the United States, Europe, central Asia and north Africa.
1 3/4" to 2 1/4"

Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Butterfly photoBuckeye Butterfly

I often see Buckeyes and they are one my favorites because I see them so often.

They reside thru out the United States into southern Canada and some of the Caribbean islands.
2" to 2 1/2"


Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Pearl Crescent Butterfly picturePearl Crescent Butterfly

The Pearl Crescent Butterfly is seen in the eastern United States.
1" to 1 1/2"

Viceroy Butterfly

Florida Viceroy Butterfly photoViceroy Butterfly

The Viceroy may be confused with Monarch, but it is smaller.

And it has a heavy black band across the hind-wing.

No such band exists on Monarchs.

It is seen in the United States east of California.
2 1/2" to 3"

red spotted purple

picture of a Red Spotted Purple ButterflyRed Spotted Purple Butterfly

This beautiful butterfly is seen in much of the eastern United States.

It mimics the Pipevine Swallowtail which is toxic to birds. But it is has no swallowtail.
3" to 3 3/8"

question mark butterfly

picture of a Question Mark ButterflyQuestion Mark Butterfly

The Question Mark Butterfly gets it's name from a question mark on the underside of it's hind-wing.

It is seen from southern Canada and in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding Florida.
2 3/8" to 2 5/8"


Milkweed Butterflies

Milkweed butterflies are one of the best known types of butterflies.

They get a chemical from milkweeds that make them taste bad to predators.


Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly photoMonarch Butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly resides in southern Canada, across the United States and down to South America.
3 1/2" to 4"

picture of a Monarch Butterfly with folded wingsMonarch Underside

I had the privilege of seeing masses of them migrating in Mexico one year.

Learn more about the mighty Monarch Butterflies.


Queen Butterfly

Queen Butterfly photoQueen Butterfly

The Queen Butterfly is seen from southern California to south Georgia, into Florida and south to Argentina.

Top side of the Queen Butterfly lacks the black veins of the Monarch.
3" to 3 1/2"

picture of a Queen ButterflyQueen Butterfly underside

Underside of Queen resembles the Monarch.

But the Monarch doesn't have white spots out in the middle of the orange fore-wing.


Skippers

Skippers ‘skip’ in a hurry from flower to flower.

They are one of the small types of butterflies. Their wings are small in proportion to their body, so they have to fly in a hurry.


picture of a Skipper ButterflySkipper Butterfly

There are hundreds of skippers that are difficult for the amateur to distinguish. Below are three outstanding types that are easy to identify.

Silver-spotted Skipper

picture of a Silver-spotted Skipper ButterflySilver-spotted Skipper

Seen from southern Canada and down to Florida and northern Mexico.
1 3/4" to 2 3/8"

Long-tailed Skipper

picture of Long-tailed Skipper ButterflyLong-tailed Skipper

They are brown or dark with a blue-green iridescence.

Seen in southern United States to Argentina.
1 3/4" to 2 1/4"

Checkered Skipper

picture of a Checkered Skipper ButterflyCheckered Skipper

Seen from southern Canada to Argentina.
3/4" to 1 1/4"


is it a butterfly or a moth?

Some facts about butterflies and moths that are different.

They both have scales on their wings, but moth's scales stand up on their body and wings.

  • This causes moths to look fuzzy or furry.
  • Butterflies usually are bright colored.
  • Moths usually have duller colors.
  • Moths sit and rest with their wings outstretched.
  • Butterflies generally hold their wings up after landing.
  • Butterflies are active during the day and rest at night
  • Moths are mostly nocturnal. We see them flying around night lights
  • Butterflies make a chrysalis during metamorphosis.
  • Moths spin cocoons with silk.
Is it a moth or a butterfly?IO Moth (Peacock Moth)

Luna Moth

Luna Moth photoLuna Moth

The Luna Moth is a beautiful green color.

It is seen across the United States and Canada.
up to 5 1/2"

Sphinx Moth

Sphnix MothSphinx Moth

Sphinx Moths are a large group of moths.

They are fast flyers and may range in size up to 4".

It is fun to learn the different butterflies in your yard!

But whether you know the names and types of butterflies when you see them is not as important as enjoying these beautiful gifts from God.




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