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Butterfly Descriptions


(Heraclides cresphontes)

RANGE: Throughout the eastern United States
HABITATS: Margins of hardwood forests, in citrus groves and around cultivated flowers in urban areas.
LARVAL FOOD: Citrus, torchwosod, hop-tree, rue, prickly ash, Hercules' club
ADULT FOOD: Lantana, butterfly bush, goldenrod, purple coneflower, Joe-pye weed, blanketflower, phlox, citrus, dame's rocket, bougainvillea, scarlet sage, golden dewdrop, lilac, milkweed, papaya, azalea, honeysuckle, pentas.
SEASON: The Swallowtail can be seen year-round in the south, and from May to September farther north.


(Junonia cocnia)

RANGE: Found throughout the southern United States to California, the Buckeye also spreads northward in summer. HABITATS: Open areas, coastlines, fields, meadows, railroad tracks
LARVAL FOOD: Plantain, verbena, many members of the snapdragon family, including snapdragons, false foxglove, figwort, toadflax, monkey flower.
ADULT FOOD: milkweed, aster, coreopsis, chicory, knapweed, plantain, dogbane, butterflybush, mints, buckwheat, globe thistle.
SEASON: The Buckeye can be seen from March through October in most regions, and all year long in the deep South.


(Artogeia rapae)

RANGE: It is well known throughout the United States and most of Canada.
HABITATS: Nearly every habitat if mustards grow nearby, open woods, forest edges, agricultural fields, plains, gardens
LARVAL FOOD: Members of the mustard family, including cabbage, winter cress, wallflower, nasturtium, and peppergrass, and members of the caper family, such as cleome.
ADULT FOOD: Mustard, wallflower, rock cress, dandelion, aster, mint, lantana, clovers, dogbane, selfheal, bee balm, deerweed, passion flower
SEASON: This species takes wing from early spring to late fall.


(Agraulis vanillae)

RANGE: Southern United States, but adults may migrate northward through the Plains states in the summer
HABITATS: Forest margins, open fields, scrub and urban arreas.
LARVAL FOOD: Species of passionflower compose the early diet.
ADULT FOOD: Lantana, daisy, thistle, and passionflower draw adult diners.
SEASON: Those resplendent orange-red butterflies are common from early spring to late fall, they are seen year-round in the deep south.


(Polygonia comma)

RANGE: The comma is found east of the Great Plains.
HABITATS: An habitue' of open woodlands and roadsides.
LARVAL FOOD: Hops, nettles, and elms are larval staples.
ADULT FOOD: Butterfly bush, Michaelmas daisy, hebe, dandelion, and sedum compose the adult diet.
SEASON: This distinctive species is prevalent from spring to fall.


(Phyciodes tharos)

RANGE: East of the Rocky Mountains, the Pearl cresent is a well known butterfly.
HABITATS: This species is an aggressive and highly visible habitue' of meadows. Males actively patrol their territories and form "puddle clubs." The caterpillars feed communally.
ADULT FOOD: Many compositae, white clover, geranium, wallflower, butterfly weed, and mint attract this pretty species.
SEASON: It is seen from April to November in northern areas, but can be found year-round in the Deep South.


(Celastrina ladon)

RANGE: This species is known throughout the entire United States.
HABITATS: The Spring Azure frequents freshwater marshes, fields, forest edges, and parks. It makes a good garden specimen, usuaally found in early spring. The males are actively territorial.
LARVAL FOOD: Dogwood, ceanothus, viburnum, cherry, and blueberry are species of nourishment.
ADULT FOOD: It feeds on a number of flowers, including privet, lilac, holly, ceanothus, rock cress, escallonia, cotoneaster, milkweed, willow, spicebush, dandelion, violet, and cherry.
SEASON: Watch for this species from January to October, depending on the region.


(Incisalia augustinus)

RANGE:This species inhabits the entire United States
HABITAT:A frequent visitor to bogs, pine barrens, and other places where the heath family grows, they might also journey to the urban areas where host plants are grown.
LARVAL FOOD:In the east, members of the haeth family , such as blueberry and azalea, comprise the diet. In the west, ceanothus, apple, and the western heath family members salal, kinnikinick, and madrona are staples.
ADULT FOOD:It is partial to blueberry, cherry, buckwheat, willow, kinnikinick, and plum.
SEASON:They take flight from April through June, but is most prominent in spring.


(Pterourus glaucus)

RANGE:More wide ranging than any other swallowtail, this species is found east of the Rockies.
HABITAT:Parks, woods, and orchards are home to this common butterly
LARVAL FOOD:Its varied early diet includes cherry, ash, birch, aspen, cottonweed, tulip tree, willow, sweet bay, hop tree, spicebush, lilac, and hornbeam.
ADULT FOOD:Butterfly bush, thistle, milkweed, honeysuckle, phlox, joe-Pye weed, abelia, bee balm, and dandelion all lure this species.
SEASON:Its flight season begins in early spring and ends in late fall


(Poanes aaroni)

RANGE:Patchy distribution along the Atlantic coast from New Jeersey south to south peninsular Florida
HABITAT:Coastal salt marshess
LARVAL FOOD:Possibly smooth cordgrass
ADULT FOOD:Nectar from flowers including pickerelweed, salt marsh fleabane, and coreopsis.
SEASON:From May to Seeptember in the north, April to October in Florida


(Strymon melinus)

RANGE:Occurring throughout the entire United States
HABITAT:One of America's most prevalent species, due to its wide range of acceptable food sources. Prefers open meadows, fields, and chaparral. Highly territorial males dart from cover after females or intruding males
LARVAL FOOD:Members of the pea and mallow families - including clover, vetch, hollyhock, rose of sharon, and hibiscus - are prime foods. Corn, mint, oak, hawthorn, strawberry, and the ever popular hops are also consumed.
ADULT FOOD:Sweet clover, goldenrod, plumbago, mint, Queen Anne's lace, and milkweed comprise a varied diet.
SEASON:Broods take flight from April to October


(Speyeria eybele)

RANGE:This butterfly frequents the entire contiguous United States except for Florida
HABITAT:It is found in open woodlands and meadows and is the largest fritillary, with a calm, imperturbable manner demonstrated by its bobbing, floating flight and its lengthy visits at each flower
LARVAL FOOD:Species of violet are the preferred food
ADULT FOOD:Memberss of Compositae, particcularly thistle, Monarrrda, vetch, verbena, and mountain laurel compose the adult diet
SEASON:Taking flight from June to September, this species is easily recognized


(Vanessa annabella)

RANGE:It is seen from the Great Plains to the Pacific
HABITAT:Often seen flitting through sun-dappled canyons and near creeks, is also ffond of basking on streamside rocks and on open hilltops, often as communal activities
LARVAL FOOD:Nettles and members of the mallow family act as hosts
ADULT FOOD:Butterfly bush, mallows, mints, and many members of Compositae will attract this species
SEASON:Taking wing from early spring to late fall in most of itss range, This species has an even longer flight period in the Southwest


(Glaucoopsycbe lygdamus)

RANGE:Throughout the United States
HABITAT:Open woodlands, stream banks, fields, and mountaain meadows habor this butterfly. It is an early riser that is garden adaptable. Ants seem to goard the caterpillars in exchange for sweet "honeydew" exuded by the larvae
LARVAL FOOD:It uses members of the pea family as host plants.
ADULT FOOD: Members of compositae such as coneflower, cherry, and hipine are preferred
SEASON:This species appears from March through July


(Polites themistocles)

RANGE:Most of the United States, excluding some areas of the Northwest, is the domain of this tiny butterfly.
HABITAT:This species is a common denizen of parks and other grassy places
LARVAL FOOD:Grasses, including lawn grasses, are host plants
ADULT FOOD:Its varied diet includes thistle, red clover, alfalfa, chicory, purple coneflower, sweet alyssum, and lantana
SEASON:Broods take flight from April through September, depending on region


(Battus pbilenor)

RANGE:Most of the United States is inhabited by this species
HABITAT:It inhabits woodland clearings, roadsides, and meadows. Unpalatable to birds, this species is mimicked by several other swallowtail species.
LARVAL FOOD:As its common name would indicate, species of pipevine are the principal host plants
ADULT FOOD:It feeds on thistle, lilac, honeysuckle, milkweed, butterfly bush, phlox, bee balm, dame's rocket, petunia, and fruit tree blossoms
SEASON:The pipevine Swallowtail can be observed from January to November, depending on the regions


(Basilarcbia astyanax)

RANGE:It is found throughout the United States east of Rockies and in Arizona
HABITAT:An inhabitant of woodland margins, stream banks, and meadows, this butterfly often banks on tthe roads and sidewalks, slowly flexing itss brilliant blue wings
LARVAL FOOD:Willow, aspen, poplar, cherry, plum, oak, hawthorn, apple, hornbeam, and gooseberry comprise the early diet.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, viburnum, spirea, lilac, privet, and sweet pepperbush are favorites.
SEASON:March to October


(Aglais milberti)

RANGE:This species can be found through most of the northern United States
HABITAT:Although found in fields and forest verges, this butterfly adapts easily to gardens. Overwhelming adults appear in earliest spring.
LARVAL FOOD:Nettles are the food of choice.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, daisy, aster goldenrod, ageratum, and other members of the composites family will draw this species. Lilac, wallflower, rock cress, and sedum are other attractions.
SEASON:Look for this species from March to November.


(Basilarcbia arcbippus)

RANGE:The Viceroy can be foundd from the Great Basin eastward.
HABITAT:A mimic of the offensive-tasting Monarch, or, in the south, the Queen, this butterfly displays similar behavior to the Red and White Admirals, and the Red-Spotted Purple, which are all closely related.
LARVAL FOOD:Willow, aspen, poplar, apple, plum, and cherry are host plants.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, thistle, aster, JoePye weed, goldenrod, and milkweed will attract this species.
SEASON:Viceroys usually fly from April to September.


(Colias philodice)

RANGE:This species occurs throughout the entire United States north of Florida.
HABITAT:The common Sulphur congregates at puddles in large groups. It also frequents vegetable gardens and lawns, as well as fields, roadsides, and meadows.
LARVAL FOOD:Members of the pea family, such as alfalfa, clover, vetch, and lupine, are early diet staples.
ADULT FOOD:Clover, goldenrod, dandelion, tithonia, milkweed, and phlox entice this butterfly.
SEASON:Look for it from early spring to late fall.


(Polygonia interrogaationis)

RANGE:East of the Rocky Mountains, this distinctive species is easily recognized.
HABITAT:Similar in habits to the Comma, the Question Mark is recognized by a silver mark on the underside of the wings. It emigrates widely in late summer, sometimes in large groups; males bask and "puddle."
LARVAL FOOD:Nettle, hop, elm, and hackberry are preferred hosts.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, aster, milkweed, and sweet pepperbush are all attractants.
SEASON:Look for it from spring through fall.


(Danaus plexippus)

RANGE:Its territory encompasses all of the United States except the northwest corner.
HABITAT:The monarch is the only butterfly to truly migrate to and from overwhelming spots. It is also the most readily identifiable butterflyy in the country. If America had a national butterfly, this would undoubtedly be it.
LARVAL FOOD:Milkweed is the preferred host.
ADULT FOOD:Milkweed, butterfly bush, goldenrod, JoePye weed, gayfeather, tithonia, cosmos, abelia, lilac, lantana, mallow, and mint are all attractants.
SEASON:Successive broods emerge from spring to fall.


(Vanessa cardui)

RANGE:It is a common sight throughout the entire United States.
HABITAT:This denizen of meadows, fields, and even deserts often emigrates from the South in large numbers during the summer. It is highly visible and adaptable to the garden.
LARVAL FOOD:Many compositae comprise the early diet, including thistle, burdock, groundsel, and wormwood. Members of the borage and mallow families, including hollyhock, are also consumed.
ADULT FOOD:A wide range of composites - plus mint, bee balm, butterfly bush, privet, candytuft, wallflower, scabiosa, and sedum, among others - will love this species.
SEASON:The Painted Lady is sighted from May to October in the North and year round in the South.


(Vanessa atalanta)

RANGE:The entire contiguous United States is visited by this species.
HABITAT:At home in open woods and forest edges, gardens and parks, the Red Admiral is a gregarious butterfly. Males lurk in wait, darting out at females. Well habituated to a garden environment, it is a prime consumer of nettles. Southerners migrate noorth in spring.
LARVAL FOOD:Nettle and hops are common meals.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, many members of compositae, butteerfly bush, milkweed, candytuft, alfalfa, sedum, wallflower, hebe, sweet pepperbush, fireweed, and mint.
SEASON:From April to October through moost of its range, but is seen year round in the deep south.


(Pterourus troilus)

RANGE:This species roves east of the Rockies
HABITAT:Found in woodlands, meadows, and pine barrens, this mimic of the Pipevine is an inveterate "puddler".
LARVAL FOOD:Spicebush, sassafras, tulip tree, sweet bay, and prickly-ash are hosts
ADULT FOOD:Honeysuckle, thistle, milkweed, clover, Joe-Pye weed, lantana, sweet pepperbush, and mimosa draw this lovely butterfly
SEASON:Flight periods occur from April to Octobers


(Basilarcbia arthemis)

RANGE:The northeastern United States and Canada
HABITAT:It is similar to the Red Admiral. In fact, in certain areas where their ranges overlap, the two species hybridize. The caterpillar overwinters in a rolled-up leaf.
LARVAL FOOD:Birch, aspen, willow, poplar, hawthorn, basswood, hornbeam, and shadblow.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice and a wide range of flowerss are preferred.
SEASON:Expect visits during high summer, from June through August.


(Nymphalis antiopa)

RANGE:This species ranges throughout the entire United States
HABITAT:A creature of open woodlands and stream banks, the Moarning Cloak lives up to ten months, hibernating as an adult in hollow trees. It lays eggs in clusters; caterpillars feed communally at first, singly later. Despite its large size, the Moarning Cloak is a demure but elegant species that perches ornamentally.
LARVAL FOOD:Trees - such as willow, elm, poplar, aspen, cottonwood, birch, and hackkberry.
ADULT FOOD:Fruit juice, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, pussy willow, and many members of the compositae draw them to the garden.
SEASON:Look for this large, beautiful butterfly year round, including during warm spells in winter.


(Diaethria anna)

RANGE:Costa Rica north to Mexico. A rare stray to South Texas.
HABITAT:Wet tropical forests
LARVAL FOOD:Tropical plants in the elm and soapberry families
ADULT FOOD:Rotting fruit and dung.
SEASON:March-December in Mexico.


(Calephelis virginiensis)

RANGE:Atlantic coastal plain and piedmont from Maryland south to Florida and the Keys; west along the Gulf coast to southeast Texas.
HABITAT:Grassy areas of the coastal plain and in open pine woods, savannah, and salt-marsh meadows.
LARVAL FOOD:: Yellow thistle
ADULT FOOD:Short-flowered composites including yarrow, lance-leaved coreopsis, fine-leaved sneezeweed, and blue mist flower.
SEASON:Three to five broods from March-October.


(Dryas iulia)

RANGE:Resident in Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, West Indies, peninsular Florida, and South Texas. Strays north to eastern Nebraska.
HABITAT:Subtropical hammock openings and edges, and nearby fields.
LARVAL FOOD:Passion-vines including Passiflora lutea in Texas.
ADULT FOOD:Nectar from flowers including lantana and shepherd's needle; probably others. Nectar from flowers including lantana and shepherd's needle; probably others.
SEASON:Throughout the year in southern Florida and South Texas, strays to the north in summer.