8 Kinds of Butterflies Worth Knowing


This butterfly is the most renowned worldwide. Multiple generations of monarchs migrate north in spring and summer, then a fall generation travels to southern Mexico or the California coast to winter.

Gulf Fritillary

The gulf fritillary is a stylish butterfly with long, thin wings, huge silvery spots, and black lines on orange. Named after the Gulf of Mexico, it ranges from the Carolinas to California and far north.

Cloudless Sulphur

This is one of the biggest yellow sulphur butterflies in North America. Males are uniformly light yellow, whereas females are white to dull orange. Cloudless sulphurs are most frequent in the South, although they migrate north in late summer.

Giant Swallowtail

Some eastern tiger swallowtails are larger, but the enormous swallowtail is our biggest butterfly, measuring five inches from wingtip to wingtip. Very prevalent in the South, it often reaches the Great Lakes and beyond.

Zebra Swallowtail

A dreamlike zebra swallowtail butterfly flutters across eastern woodlands. Zebra-striped black and white with red highlights, large hindwing tails. Summer adults have longer tails than spring adults.

Western Pygmy Blue

Blue butterflies are always little, but this one is literally half an inch wide with its wings open. On such wings, little color is allowed, yet blue appears in flight. Typically our tiniest butterfly,


Carnivorous butterfly? The idea seems like science fiction, yet it's real. Eastern butterfly caterpillars live on alders and other plants but do not consume them. They slither around eating aphids.

Painted Lady

Painted ladies, the most common butterfly, live on six continents and numerous marine islands. They're found throughout North America, although not simultaneously.