Home
Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

Click on arrows to show pull-down menus:

                Archived by-Date Pages

  If you know your butterfly classifications and want to look one up, go to the Butterfly Index   

Butterflies and Skippers (superfamilies Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea, order Lepidoptera, infraclass Neoptera, subclass Pterygota, class Insecta, subphylum Hexapoda, phylum Arthropoda, kingdom Animalia)

This page provides an introduction to butterfly classification by presenting information on some of our most common butterflies.  (If I've seen them, they're common!)

There are 35 superfamilies in the Lepidoptera order, and butterflies are members of only two: 1) the "true" butterflies (Papilionoidea) and 2) the skippers (Hesperoidea).   Members of the other 33 superfamilies are considered to be moths.

These classifications constitute valid taxa according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

True Butterflies (Papilionoidea superfamily)

The five families of "true" butterflies are 1) Brushfoots (Nymphalidae), 2) Swallowtails (Papilionidae), 3) Blues and Hairstreaks (Lycaenidae), 4) Whites, Orangetips and Sulphurs (Pieridae), and 5)  the Metalmarks (Riodinidae).  

Brushfoots (Nymphalidae family)

This is the most diverse butterfly family of all in appearance.  However, what they all have in common is something you'll easily overlook: their forelegs are shorter than their other legs.

Nymphalini tribe

Ladies (Vanessa genus)

         
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC, 4/8/11.  American Lady, Durham, NC, 10/17/12 Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Durham, 9/6/05.  You can see significant wing pattern differences.  Compare with American Lady above.  Unlike the American Lady, the Painted Lady is a world traveler, coming through North Carolina for about two weeks in late summer each year. Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Southern Pines, Moore County, NC, 11/2/13 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/12/10          

Commas, Question Mark (Polygonia genus)

 
Summer form Question Mark, Durham, NC, 5/23/15 Summer form Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/9/07.  Medium-sized. Winter form Question Mark, Durham, NC, 12/27/14: note purple wing borders Question Mark, Durham, NC, 10/19/12 Question Mark,Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/10 Question Mark,  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/15/17  

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

         
Mourning Cloak, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 5/22/15 Mourning Cloak, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 3/18/10 Mourning Cloak caterpillar turning into a pupa, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/2/10          

Junoniini tribe

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Mating Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia), Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 9/25/17 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 10/9/15 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, NC, 8/12/11 Common Buckeye, Bailey Tract, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/5/15

Mangrove Buckeye (Junonia genoveva)

 
Mangrove Buckeye (Junonia genoveva), South Lido Park, Sarasota County, FL, 1/26/17 Mangrove Buckeye (Junonia genoveva), Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/4/15  

Danainae subfamily

Milkweed Butterflies (Danaini tribe)

Monarchs (Danaus genus)

   
Monarch (Danaus plexippus), very worn. Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 10/24/11 Monarch (Danaus plexippus), Durham, NC, 10/19/04.  Notice how the hind wing is pale orange, in contrast with most of the forewing.  These are common in NC during the late summer and fall during their migrations to Mexico. Queen (Danaus gilippus), Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 9/15/15 Queen (Danaus gilippus), Myakka River State Park, Sarasota County, FL, 3/31/12 Queen (Danaus gilippus), dorsal view Queen (Danaus gilippus), ventral wing view    

 

         
Monarch Caterpillar eating Common Milkweed leaf, Durham, NC, 5/29/15 Monarch caterpillar on Common Milkweed, Durham, NC, 5/23/15          

Melitaeini tribe

Pearl Crescents (Phyciodes tharos)

   
Pearl Crescent on Black-eyed Susan, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 8/2/15

Pearl Crescent on small aster, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 7/29/17

 

  Female Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/24/06.  These small butterflies are abundant throughout the summer in Piedmont NC. Pearl Crescent, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 9/16/16 Pearl Crescent, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/23/13 Pearl Crescents, Durham, NC, 6/8/12 Pearl Crescents on White Clover, Durham, NC, 5/3/18 Mating Pearl Crescents  

Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)

         
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon), Fort Fisher State Recreation Area (Basin Trail): 9/14/15 Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon), Port Aransas, Nueces County, TX, 2/20/14 Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon), Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14          

Texas Crescent (Anthanassa texana)

Texas Crescent (Anthanassa texana), National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17

Vesta Crescent (Phyciodes graphica)

         
Vesta Crescent, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17          

Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)

         
Northern Checkerspot, Mt. Diablo State Park, Clayton, Contra Costa County, CA  5/8/15          

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

 
Great Spangled Fritillary, Boone Gardens, Watauga County, NC, 8/17/15 Great Spangled Fritillary, Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 8/27/10  

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)

         
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona), Boone Gardens, Watauga County, NC, 6/28/14          

Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia)

Bordered Patch, Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, Nueces County, TX, 12/1/17 Bordered Patch, Riverside Nature Center, Kerrville, Kerr County, TX, 5/28/10

Heliconiinae subfamily

Fritillaries (Argynnini tribe)

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

 
Variegated Fritillary, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 10/27/11 Mating Variegated Fritillaries, Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 8/15/10 Variegated Fritillary, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/17/15 Variegated Fritillary on Firewheel, Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 7/28/17 Variegated Fritillary on White Clover, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/27/17 Variegated Fritillary, Durham, NC, 7/4/12 Another Variegated Fritillary, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/17/15 Variegated Fritillary, River Park North, Greenville, NC, 7/18/14 Variegated Fritillary, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 8/10/17 Variegated Fritillary, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/26/13  

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

         
Gulf Fritillary, on a False Garlic flower at Fort Macon State Park, Carteret County, NC, 10/18/11 Gulf Fritillary , Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, NC, 9/15/15 Gulf Fritillary (on an oak tree), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, 9/28/10 Gulf Fritillary on Lantana, seen downtown Southern Pines, Moore County, NC, 10/24/12          

Heliconiini tribe

Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonia)

 
Zebra Heliconian, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/6/15 Zebra Heliconian.  There were many of these (at least ten), mostly flying wildly around. Fort Macon State Park, Carteret County, NC, 7/22/08  

Limenitidinae subfamily, Limenitidini tribe

Limenitis genus

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

 
Red-spotted Purple, Durham, NC, 7/28/13 Same Red-spotted Purple Red-spotted Purple, Dismal Falls, Giles County, VA, 6/14/11  

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

         
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 9/11/12 Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), Durham, NC, 9/14/05.           

California Sister (Adelpha californica)

         
California Sister, Indian Valley, Novato, Marin County, CA, 4/30/17 Same California Sister          

Libytheinae subfamily

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)

         
American Snout, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX  12/3/17.  You can see both palps, which give this butterfly its name. American Snout, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 8/16/13 American Snout on a bike, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/29/17 American Snout, Durham, NC, 5/13/15 American Snout, South Texas Botanical Gardens, Corpus Christi, Nueces County, TX, 2/8/13          

Apaturinae subfamily

Emperors (Asterocampa genus)

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)

         
Hackberry Emperor, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/8/10 Hackberry Emperor, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 5/12/14 Hackberry Emperor, West Point on the Eno, Durham, NC, 7/5/14 Hackberry Emperor, Durham, NC, 9/11/18 Hackberry Emperor, Durham, NC, 9/8/12          

Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)

Tawny Emperor, Durham, NC, 8/20/16 Tawny Emperor, National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17

Empress Leilia (Asterocampa leilia)

Empress Leilia, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, 12/3/17 Another Empress Leilia, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, 12/3/17

Tropical Brushfoots (Biblidinae subfamily)

       
Common Mestra (Mestra amymone, Biblidini tribe), Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, Nueces, TX, 12/1/17 Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa, Catonephelini), National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17.  maybe not so common: its NCGR is G4 (apparently secure globally.) Another Mexican Bluewing. ID confirmed by David J. Ferguson.        

Victorinini tribe

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

         
White Peacock, Bailey Tract, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/6/15 White Peacock, Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14 White Peacock, Sarasota, FL, 1/24/17          

Satyrinae subfamily

Satyrini tribe

Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)

         
Common Ringlet, Indian Valley, Novato, Marin County, CA, 4/30/17          

Carolina Satyr  (Hermeuptychia sosybius)

 
Mating Carolina Satyrs, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/20/13 Carolina Satyr, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/9/15  

Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)

         
Gemmed Satyr, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/8/11          

Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon)

         
Northern Pearly Eye fresh from chrysalis, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 5/15/10 Northern Pearly Eye, Durham, NC, 9/2/12 Northern Pearly Eye, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/7/10 Northern Pearly Eye, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/2/11 Northern Pearly Eye.  Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/18/08 Northern Pearly Eye, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/27/15          

Southern Pearly Eye (Enodia portlandia)

Southern Pearly Eye, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/16/15 Southern Pearly Eye, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/28/10

Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia)

         
Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 5/24/16 Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 5/16/16 Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 5/23/13 Appalachian Brown, Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC, 8/25/15 Appalachian Brown, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/9/12 Appalachian Brown, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/11 Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 9/19/11 Appalachian Brown, one of two that I saw, Durham, NC, 5/27/15 Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 6/4/13 Appalachian Brown, Durham, NC, 7/27/14          

Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

         
Common Wood Nymph. Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 7/9/08 Common Wood Nymph, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/8/10          

Swallowtails (Papilio genus, Papilionini tribe, Papilioninae subfamily, Papilionidae family)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

       
Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Durham, 8/13/18 Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Durham, 8/20/03.  Some females look similar, while others are blackish, but with the distinctive Tiger Swallowtail stripe pattern.  See these two forms of female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar, Indian Creek Trail, Jordan Lake, Chatham County, NC, 9/3/06.  To judge from the threads on either side, it may be about to become a chrysalis. Same Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar        

Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)

         
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes), Tyrrell County, NC, 9/25/04.  Very fond of swamps, very common on the NC coast, rarely seen inland.          

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

         
Black Swallowtail, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 5/10/12 Black Swallowtail, Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, New Hanover County,  ovipositing (laying eggs).          

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

         
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus), Durham, NC, 3/30/16. This butterfly typically stays in the Deep South, but is occasionally seen in Piedmont NC. Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus), Durham, 8/9/04.  Zebra Swallowtail, Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 5/22/15          

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

         
Female Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), Durham, 8/4/04.  Seen mostly in the NC mountains, much less commonly in the Piedmont. Spicebush Swallowtail, Raulston Arboretum, 8/19/03.          

Giant Swallowtails (Papilio cresphontes)

         
Giant Swallowtail, Waveland, Hancock County, 10/14/17 Same Giant Swallowtail          

 

The Whites, Orangetips and Sulphurs (Pieridae) family

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

         
Cabbage White:  Pictured is an adult and a small larva on one of their favorite foods: cabbage.  These butterflies are major cabbage family pests, but are not often seen away from these crops. Cabbage White (Pieris rapae), Durham, NC, 11/5/14 Cabbage White, Boone Gardens, Watauga County, NC, 8/17/15          

Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

         
Falcate Orangetip Male.  These are very common in the early spring (late March and early April in the Piedmont) but are generally not seen at other times.  The females lack orange wing tips.          

Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)

         
Great Southern White on Plains Fleabane, Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture, Nueces County, TX  2/23/14          

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)

         
Checkered White, Port Aransas Nature Preserve East, Nueces, TX, 2/25/14 Checkered White, the dominant "white" (Pierinae subfamily) butterfly of the western US.  Riverside Nature Center, Kerrville, Kerr County, TX, 5/27/10 Female Checkered White, dorsal view, Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10 Same female Checkered White, ventral view, Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10 Male Checkered White, ventral view,Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10 Checkered White, with what seems to be a bee in the foreground.  It isn't clearly a male or female, might be a faded female. Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10 New metamorph male Checkered White, or with deformed wing. Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10 Female Checkered White. Jordan Lake Dam, Moncure, Chatham County, NC, 9/20/10Photo by Karl D. Gottschalk          

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

         
Orange Sulphur, Durham, 5/3/06.  A common butterfly in the Piedmont and mountains of NC, and also farther north.  A significant proportion of these butterflies are albinos, and some look green in late winter in the Piedmont and on the coast.          

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebus sennae)

         
Somehow this eclosing female Cloudless Sulphur got rotated 90° by the thumbnail software.  Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 9/12/12 Male Cloudless Sulphur, maybe Coliadinae subfamily), Duke Gardens, 9/17/05.  These abundant summer butterflies fly rapidly, often at high altitudes.          

Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)

This species has four basic wing patterns, typically (but not always) appearing at different times of the year.

Sleepy Oranges and Pearl Crescents puddling, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 9/11/12 Sleepy Orange, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 9/10/16.  Anomalous pattern. Sleepy Orange, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 10/18/14.  Another anomalous pattern. Sleepy Orange, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/27/15      

 

Sleepy Orange, downtown Southern Pines, Moore County, NC, 8/12/15 Sleepy Orange, River Park North, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 7/18/14 Sleepy Orange with Stilt Bug, Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 7/26/17 Sleepy Orange, South Tar River Greenway, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 7/28/17 Sleepy Orange, Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC, 8/25/15

 

         
Sleepy Orange, Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 7/14/18 Sleepy Orange, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 9/14/10 Sleepy Orange visiting a Salt Marsh Mallow, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 8/16/18 Sleepy Orange, Little Scaly Mountain, Macon County, NC, 8/19/04.  There is a lot of variation in wing markings for this species.  Sleepy Orange on white morning glory, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 9/11/12          

 

         
Sleepy Orange, Jordan Lake, Chatham County, NC, 8/30/15 Sleepy Orange visiting a small morning glory, South Tar River Greenway, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 7/28/17 Sleepy Orange, Penny Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/8/10 Sleepy Orange, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 8/16/13 Sleepy Orange, Durham, NC, 9/3/13 Sleepy Orange on Firewheel, Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 7/17/14 Sleepy Orange, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/9/12 Sleepy Orange on wingstem, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 9/14/13          

 

         
Sleepy Orange on Carolina Ironweed, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines, Moore County, NC, 10/23/12 Sleepy Orange, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 10/16/12 Sleepy Orange (winter form), Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines, Moore County, NC, 10/5/11 Sleepy Orange, Fort Fisher Sleepy Orange, North River Park, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 11/12/15 Sleepy Orange, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 10/22/14          

Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)

         
Little Yellow, at roadside, northern Durham County, NC, 8/15/10, flushed out by Randy Emmitt Little Yellow (Pyrisitia lisa) on White Heath Aster, Durham, NC, 10/22/12 Little Yellow (Pyrisitia lisa), Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 10/16/12          

Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)

         
Southern Dogface, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 12/2/17.  Seen in a residential neighborhood. Southern Dogface, National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17          

Barred Yellow (Eurema daira)

 
Barred Yellow courting pair, Sarasota, FL, 12/4/14 Barred Yellow (dry season form), Sarasota, FL, 12/2/14 Barred Yellow, Causeway Islands Park (Island A), Lee County, FL, 12/5/15  

Mimosa Yellow (Eurema nise)

 
Mimosa Yellow, San Antonio Botanical Garden, Bexar County, TX, 5/26/10  

Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe)

         
Large Orange Sulphur, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/29/17          

Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

         
Dainty Sulphur, Durham, NC, 9/27/12 Same Dainty Sulphur Dainty Sulphur, National Butterfly Center, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17 Same Dainty Sulphur          

Gossamer-Winged Butterfly (Blues and Hairstreaks) Family

These small butterflies are easy to overlook unless they land on flowers.

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

         
Red-banded Hairstreak, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 8/16/13 Red-banded Hairstreak, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/8/17          

Gray Hairstreak (Stryman melinus)

         
Gray Hairstreak, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 7/16/15 Gray Hairstreak, Pitt County Arboretum, Greenville, NC, 9/26/13 Gray hairstreak, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06          

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon istapa)

         
Mallow Scrub Hairstreak, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17          

Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon bazochii)

         
Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/18.  ID thanks to Cliff Ivy. Same Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak          

Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)

         
Banded Hairstreak, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/21/13 Banded Hairstreak, McAfee's Knob, Roanoke, VA, 6/15/11 Banded Hairstreak, Durham, NC, 6/10/08          

Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus)

         
Brown Elfin, Occoneechee Mountain Natural Area, Orange County, NC, 4/6/14          

Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici)

Henry's Elfin, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/7/17

Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

         
Juniper Hairstreak, Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 5/22/15          

Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas)

         
Eastern Tailed Blue, Durham, NC, 5/29/15 Male Eastern Tailed Blue, Durham, 6/28/04.          

Azures (Celastrina genus)

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Rd. access, Orange County, NC, 2/28/06. This butterfly had the richest blue of any azure I've seen. Summer Azure Celastrina neglecta), Durham, 5/27/05.

Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis)

         
Western Pygmy Blue on another Plains Fleabane (note unrolling petals).  This is the smallest butterfly in North America.  Port Aransas, Nueces, TX, 2/23/14          

Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)

         
Cassius Blue, Bailey Tract, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/5/15 Cassius Blue, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel, Lee County, FL, 12/6/15 Cassius Blue, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/29/17          

Skippers (Hesperioidea superfamily, Hesperiidae family)

The other butterfly superfamily, theSkippers, is comprised of one family, the Hesperiidae, which in turn is divided into five subfamilies: 1) Spreadwing Skippers (Pyrginae), 2) Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae), 3) Heteropterinae (Arctic Skippers), 4) Megathyminae, and 5) Pyrrhopyrginae.

Spreadwing Skippers (Pyrginae subfamily)

These are relatively large skippers that look somewhat like "true" butterflies. 

Checkered Skippers (Pyrgus genus)

   
Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus), McAllen, Nueces County, TX, 12/2/17 Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus), National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17 Female Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus genus), San Antonio Botanical Garden, Bexar County, TX, 5/26/10.  It's either a White Checkered Skipper (P. albescens) or a Common Checkered Skipper (P. communis); this view is not enough to distinguish them. The White Checkered Skipper seems to be taking over the territory of the Common Checkered Skipper.  Males have more white on their wings than females. Checkered skipper (Pyrgus genus), Larkspur, Marin County, NC, 9/7/13    

Brown Longtail (Urbanus Procne)

         
Brown Longtail, National Butterfly Center, Mission, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/30/17          

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

         
Long-tailed Skipper, Gulfport, Harrison County, MS, 10/14/17 I saw this Long-Tailed Skipper on Lantana flowers in downtown Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS, on 10/7/04.  It's missing its right "tail."          

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

         
Silver-spotted Skipper, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 7/19/13          

Duskywings (Erynnis genus)

Female Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatio), Durham, 6/25/04. This is a common summer butterfly around here. Females have more elaborate wing patterns than males. Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Durham County, NC, 4/25/05.  This is a common spring butterfly here.  As with Horace's Duskywings, female wing patterns are more elaborate than that of males.

Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae subfamily)

Grass skipper identification can be a complex process.  Skippers tend to be sexually dimorphous, i.e., males and females look strikingly different, and change the arrangement of their wings so that only the dorsal ("top" ) or ventral ("bottom" or "side" view) of these wings can be seen from any one angle.  In addition, both wear and the season the adult emerges in can change the skipper's appearance dramatically. 

Swarthy Skipper (Nastra lherminier)

         
Swarthy Skipper, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/23/13          

Byssus Skipper (Problema byssus)

         
Byssus Skipper (Problema byssus), North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 9/4/18.  Not part of any exhibit.  ID thanks to Cliff Ivy.          

Whirlabout (Polites vibex)

         
Male Whirlabout, McAllen, Hidalgo County, TX, 11/29/17          

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)

         
Peck's Skipper, Boone Gardens, Watauga County, NC, 8/17/15 Yet another Peck's Skipper seen that day at that place          

Broad-winged Skipper (Poanes viator)

 
Broad-winged Skipper on marsh fleabane (camphorweed), Pluchea indica, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/28/10.  One of two seen together.  ID thanks to Harry LeGrand.  

Umber Skipper (Poanes melana)

         
Umber Skipper, Mt. Diablo State Park, Clayton, Contra Costa County, CA  5/8/15          

Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei)

         
Female Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei), anomalous in not appearing on a flower, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Moore County, NC, 10/6/11.  ID confirmed by Harry LeGrand.           

Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minima)

         
Southern Skipperling, Port Aransas (beach, Nueces County, TX, 2/4/13 Southern Skipperling, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 11/12/10          

Fiery Skippers (Hylefila phyleus)

       
Male and female Fiery Skippers, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 10/20/07.  Ventral view. Female Fiery Skipper, Durham, NC, 9/12/05.  Dorsal view. Male Fiery Skipper, Durham, 6/26/05.  Dorsal view.        

Sachems (Atolopedes campestris)

         
Male Sachem, Duke Gardens, Durham, NC, 7/24/05.  A rare mint-condition individual. Dorsal view. Male Sachem,  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/29/06.  Dorsal view. Female Sachem, Durham, NC, 8/19/05.  Here, the yellow flower turns the Sachem a yellow-brown.  Ventral view. Female Sachem, Durham, 8/19/03.  Note how the green surroundings turn this skipper's greenish-gray.  Ventral view. Female Sachem, Durham, 6/28/04, on white clover blossom.  Here you have a ventral view of the left wing and a dorsal view of the right one.          

 

2005-2019 Dorothy E. Pugh