50 Brush-Footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
In this article, you’ll journey through the curious world of Nymphalidae, commonly known as ‘Brush-Footed Butterflies’.
Discover 50 unique species of these fascinating creatures, each with distinguishing characteristics and habitats.
Get ready to delve into the engaging life and appearance of these butterflies and appreciate their significant role in our ecosystem.
American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
The American Painted Lady, a striking member of the Nymphalidae family, adds a splash of color wherever it flutters with its motley ensemble of orange, black, and white hues.
- Habitat: Broadly distributed, these butterflies favor open areas like meadows and gardens.
- Appearance: Their front wings sport distinct black dots against orange and white patterns, while the hindwings display subtle splashes of blue and black.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 2 to 2.7 inches (5 to 7 cm), they are medium-sized for butterflies.
- Diet: Besides nectar, these butterflies also feed on rotting fruit.
- Reproduction: After mating, the female lays her eggs on the host plant.
- Lifespan: On an average, they live for about 2 weeks in butterfly form.
- Host Plants: Cudweed, Burdock, and Thistles are common host plants that the caterpillars feed on until they pupate.
The lovely American Painted Lady brings joy to onlookers with its vibrant colors and graceful flight.
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
The Aphrodite Fritillary is a marvel to behold. They are a species of butterfly that reside primarily in North America.
This butterfly truly has an aura that matches its divine name.
- Habitat: Favours meadows and open woodlands, where nectar-rich flowers bloom abundantly.
- Appearance: Deep orange wings with black markings on the top side, while the underside presents a paler orange with silver spots.
- Size: The average wingspan ranges between 2.2 to 3 inches (5.6 to 7.6 cm), making it a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adults feed on nectar from a variety of flowers. The caterpillars munch on violets.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on or near violets, providing a ready food source for the emerging larvae.
- Lifespan: Short, only a few weeks. In some regions, there may be two generations per year.
- Host Plants: violets, especially the common blue violet, are the primary nursery for their young.
This butterfly species truly embodies the beauty and fragility of nature.
Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)
The Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly proves to be a marvel in the butterfly world.
Let’s delve into some features of this exquisite creature:
- Habitat: You will often find them in wet meadows, fields and areas with turtlehead plants. These plants are a favorite spot for laying eggs.
- Appearance: They flaunt a striking pattern with a mix of black, orange, and white. You can note the checkerspot pattern on their wings.
- Size: They have a wingspan of 1.75 to 3 inches (4.4 to 7.6 cm).
- Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from a wide variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay clusters of eggs on the underside of host leaves.
- Lifespan: Adults fly in the summer months with a lifespan of about 10-20 days.
- Host Plants: The main host plant for their caterpillars is the turtlehead plant.
Bay Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha bayensis)
The Bay Checkerspot is primarily a Californian butterfly. It’s named after San Francisco Bay Area, its main habitat.
- Habitat: Prefers grasslands and foothills in the Bay area.
- Appearance: Characterized by its striking, checkered pattern of red, black, and white spots over its wings.
- Size: Mature adults have a wingspan ranging between 1.5 to 2.0 inches (3.8 cm to 5.1 cm).
- Diet: The adult butterflies feed mainly on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: After mating, females lay clusters of eggs on the underside of host plants.
- Lifespan: Most live for roughly one week as adults, but some survive longer in optimal conditions.
- Host Plants: Specific to this species are the dwarf plantain and the California golden violet.
The Bay Checkerspot is a beautiful sight, but sadly, its numbers are in decline due to habitat loss.
Blue Moon Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
Let’s explore the Blue Moon Butterfly, scientifically recognized as Hypolimnas bolina. This intriguing species is also colloquially known as the Great Eggfly or Common Eggfly.
- Habitat: Blue Moon Butterflies inhabit various parts of South Asia, Australia, Madagascar, and several Pacific Islands.
- Appearance: These butterflies showcase a predominantly black body, nicely illustrated in blue, white, or brown. Males consistently bear distinct white spots on their wings.
- Size: They are medium-sized butterflies, with a wingspan hovering between 2.4 and 3.1 inches (6.1 – 7.9 centimeters).
- Diet: Adult Blue Moons survive on nectar drawn from a variety of flowers, while caterpillars feast on foliage and small fruits.
- Reproduction: Females lay multiple eggs, primarily on leaves of the plant families Acanthaceae or Labiatae.
- Lifespan: Adult lifespan is fairly short, typically no more than a couple of weeks.
- Host Plants: It prefers plants from Acanthaceae family, but young caterpillars are often found on plants like Ruellia or Asystasia.
Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)
The Blue Morpho is an alluring specimen among the Brush-Footed butterfly types. Native to Central and South America, this butterfly is truly a sight to behold.
- Habitat: Mostly found in the tropical rainforests of Latin America, stretching from Mexico to Colombia.
- Appearance: The top of its wings showcases an iridescent blue, while the underside has a brown camouflage with large circles resembling eyes.
- Size: Boasts an impressive wingspan of about 5 to 8 inches (12.7 to 20.32 cm), making it one of the largest types of butterfly.
- Diet: As a caterpillar, feeds on different species of Leguminosae. Adults primarily consume fruits but occasionally sip on nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: After mating, the females lay pale-green eggs on the leaves of the host plants.
- Lifespan: Has a short lifespan of about 115 days, from egg to the end of the adult stage.
- Host Plants: Primarily, the host plants are from the Leguminosae family including species like Mucuna, and Arachis.
Blue Nawab (Polyura schreiber)
The Blue Nawab butterfly is a pleasing spectacle prized by nature enthusiasts. Let’s familiarize ourselves with this striking butterfly.
- Habitat: Blue Nawab butterflies mainly reside in the forested areas of Southeast Asia and Australia, favoring humid and lush surroundings brimming with host plants.
- Appearance: Their wings boast Earthy tones with striking spots of metallic blue. This metallic blue marking is why they’re named ‘Blue Nawab’.
- Size: Blue Nawab butterflies tend to measure between 3.3 – 3.9 inches (8.5 – 10 cm).
- Diet: As caterpillars, they rely on specific vines. Adult butterflies take nourishment from rotting fruit or occasionally nectar.
- Reproduction: Like many types of butterflies, mating takes place just after a female emerges from her cocoon.
- Lifespan: Nawabs have a relatively brief lifespan of approximately 2-3 weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae usually feed on plants from the family Menispermaceae.
Every butterfly species carries its unique charm, as does the Blue Nawab.
Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya)
Aflutter in warm, subtropical climates, the Blue Pansy butterfly is a splendid sight to behold. Commonly spotted in Asia and Africa, it thrives in open, sunny areas.
- Habitat: Predominantly found in open environments such as gardens, roadsides, and wastelands.
- Appearance: The males flaunt a dominant blue color, while females are brown with beautiful blue patches.
- Size: A medium-sized butterfly, its wingspan ranges from 2 to 2.8 inches (5 to 7 cm).
- Diet: They enjoy nectar from flowers, and the caterpillars feed on leaves of the plant family Acanthaceae.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of the host plant, which the caterpillars will feed on when they hatch.
- Lifespan: Adults usually live for about two weeks, but they have been known to live up to a month in captivity.
- Host Plants: Various species of Acanthaceae serve as host plants for the caterpillars.
Chinese Bush-Brown (Mycalesis gotama)
Chinese-Bush Brown, with the scientific name Mycalesis gotama, is an amazing member of the Nymphalidae family.
Let’s delve into its intriguing characteristics:
- Habitat: This butterfly is native to China. You’ll mainly find it in forests and woodland areas.
- Appearance: It sports a brown color adorned with eye spots on both upper and lower sides of the wings.
- Size: The adults have an impressive wingspan ranging from 40-70 mm.
- Diet: Adult butterflies usually feed on nectar from flowers, while caterpillars munch on grasses.
- Reproduction: They breed throughout the year. Each female lays multiple eggs on host plants.
- Lifespan: These butterflies generally live for up to a few weeks.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars prefer the Poaceae family, which includes common grasses.
The Chinese Bush-Brown provides a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the wonders of nature, especially butterfly metamorphosis.
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
The Comma Butterfly will leave you breathless with its amber wings decorated with dark brown patterns.
- Habitat: Commonly seen in diverse areas like woodland edges, gardens or hedgerows. They thrive in Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
- Appearance: It gets its name from the white ‘comma’ mark on the brownish underside of its wings.
- Size: Its wingspan ranges between 45 to 55 millimeters, or 1.7 to 2.1 inches, fairly large for a butterfly.
- Diet: Adult comma butterflies love feasting on nectar from flowers. Feeding on overripe fruits is a favorite too.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the underside of host plants. Caterpillars hatch within a few weeks.
- Lifespan: Comma butterflies live up to one year, most part of it spent in their hibernation stage.
- Host Plants: It prefers host plants like nettles, elms, or hops for laying eggs. These provide food for the larvae once they hatch.
Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia)
The Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia) is an extensively spread member of the Nymphalidae family. Its natural ambiance spans entire North America.
- Habitat: Buckeyes inhabit a wide range of open, sunny landscapes including meadows, fields, and roadsides.
- Appearance: They boast a striking pattern of eye-like spots on their wings, with colors ranging from brown to orange.
- Size: Mature Buckeyes achieve a wingspan of about 2.0-2.8 inches (50-70mm).
- Diet: Adult Buckeyes feed mostly on the nectar of flowers, while caterpillars prefer to chomp on the leaves of their host plant.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the buds or leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of Buckeyes is short, typically averaging around two weeks.
- Host Plants: Buckeye caterpillars enjoy host plants such as snapdragons, plantains, and members of the verbena family.
Now, you’re more acquainted with these vibrantly decorated creatures of nature.
Common Map Butterfly (Cyrestis thyodamas)
The Common Map Butterfly is a striking species.
Let’s have a closer inspection:
- Habitat: Native to Southeast Asia, these butterflies inhabit forests and lush greenery.
- Appearance: They carry a distinct map-like pattern across their wings, maroon lines contrasting against a stark white background.
- Size: Quite a spectacle with a large wingspan of 3.5 – 4 inches (9 – 10 cm).
- Diet: Nourishing on nectar, they flit between vibrant flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale, spherical eggs on the undersides of leaves.
- Lifespan: A fleeting existence, they only live for 2 – 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: Honey plants like Vitex trifolia and Premna integrifolia are favored for laying eggs.
A visit to Asia will be more enriched if you encounter this incredible insect. Habitually silent, yet their wings communicate an intricate story. Keep an eye out for the Common Map.
Common Tiger (Danaus genutia)
The Common Tiger, not your typical tiger, is a fascinating butterfly species endemic to certain regions of Asia. Let’s delve into some fascinating features that signify the charm of this beautiful butterfly.
- Habitat: They dwell primarily in forests, gardens, and sunny, open areas.
- Appearance: They sport a striking black and white pattern with sporadic red and yellow spots, mimicking the majestic tiger.
- Size: The average wingspan is between 2″ and 3.6″ (5 cm – 9 cm).
- Diet: As adults, they feast on nectar from a variety of flowers. Caterpillars munch on leaves of host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves, whence caterpillars emerge.
- Lifespan: Adult Common Tigers typically live for 2-3 weeks.
- Host Plants: They have a certain fondness for plants from the Apocynaceae family.
The Common Tiger is indeed Common in its regional habitat, but its beauty is far from the usual. Learning about it offers a glimpse into the wondrous world of butterflies.
Diana Fritillary (Speyeria diana)
The Diana Fritillary (Speyeria diana) is a fascinating butterfly found in North America’s deciduous woodlands.
Here are some more interesting facts:
- Habitat: Deciduous forests and clearings mainly in Eastern North America.
- Appearance: Males are dark brown, whereas females sport a stunning blue and black color.
- Size: With a wingspan of 2.5 to 3.9 inches (65 to 100 mm) they’re quite impressive in size.
- Diet: Adult butterflies feast on flower nectar, while caterpillars chow down on violets.
- Reproduction: After mating, the female lays eggs on or near violets, the future food of her offspring.
- Lifespan: Adults live approximately one month, spending their short lives in pursuit of nectar.
- Host Plants: Violets are the primary host plants utilized by the caterpillars post-hatching.
In conclusion, the Diana Fritillary is truly a marvel, breathtaking in its beauty and complex in its life cycle.
Doris Longwing (Laparus doris)
The Doris Longwing is a striking member of the Nymphalidae family. Its name derives from Doris, a nymph in Greek mythology.
- Habitat: You can find them in the tropical regions of Central and South America.
- Appearance: This butterfly is known for its iridescent green-blue or red-purple sheen, contrasting with its deep black base color.
- Size: The Doris Longwing grows to a wingspan of about 3 to 3.5 inches (7.5-9cm).
- Diet: Adult Doris Longwings feed on nectar, favoring Lantana flowers. The larvae munch on plant species from the Passifloraceae family.
- Reproduction: Female Doris Longwings lay eggs on the leaves of their host plants. The resulting caterpillars weave silk mats on the leaves to keep them curled for safety.
- Lifespan: Adults can live for several months thanks to their ability to feed on pollen as well as nectar.
- Host Plants: Doris Longwing caterpillars feed on Passionvines from the Passifloraceae family.
Eastern Comma Butterfly (Polygonia comma)
The Eastern Comma Butterfly is a fascinating member of the Brush-footed butterfly family.
- Habitat: Typically, it resides in woods, river valleys, and parks.
- Appearance: Its unique marking, a small silvery-white ‘comma,’ distinguishes the Eastern Comma. Its upperside is orange and brown-black, while its underside mimics a fallen leaf.
- Size: The butterfly’s wings span a proportion of 4.5-6.4 cm (1.75-2.5 in).
- Diet: Its diet favors rotting fruit and tree sap, and occasionally ventures into nectar from flowers. As a caterpillar, it feeds majorly on leaves of hop, elm, and nettle.
- Reproduction: Comma butterflies undergo two generations every year. Females lay singular green eggs on host plants, taking a week to hatch.
- Lifespan: Those that emerge in summer may live about 2 weeks. Conversely, late summer adults may hibernate and live up to 9 months.
- Host Plants: Favored for laying eggs, include elms, nettles, and hops.
Now that you’re aware, keep an eye out for these beautiful creatures next time you’re in their habitat.
Edith’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha)
Edith’s Checkerspot is an exquisite brush-footed butterfly found in North America. Named after Edith, the daughter of entomologist Hans Hermann Behr, this butterfly has been studied extensively due to its sensitivity to environmental changes.
- Habitat: Frequently spotted in open grasslands and forests, they prefer areas abundant with their host plants.
- Appearance: The upper wing surfaces are predominantly black with bands of red and white spots, while the underwings are lighter with a mottling of brown, red, and yellow.
- Size: The wingspan measures between 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4 to 7cm), varying slightly based on gender.
- Diet: Larvae feed on plants from the Plantaginaceae family, while adults sip nectar from various flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay clusters of eggs on the underside of host plants, from which caterpillars emerge.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan is around a year, with most of it spent in the caterpillar or chrysalis stage.
- Host Plants: Plantain, paintbrushes, owl’s clover, and louseworts act as their primary host plants.
Glasswing Butterfly (Greta oto)
The Glasswing Butterfly, or Greta oto, is an exquisite example from the Brush-footed Butterfly family.
- Habitat: You will find them in the Central to South America regions, specifically in countries such as Mexico, Panama, and Colombia.
- Appearance: They display a unique characteristic – their wings are translucent, resembling a ‘glass wing’. They have a border of a brownish-red tone.
- Size: With a wingspan of around 2.4 inches (about 6 cm), their size is quite deceiving considering their light wings.
- Diet: The Glasswing Butterfly feeds primarily on nectar from a variety of common flowers.
- Reproduction: Quite fascinating, the female lays her eggs on the underside of the ‘Cestrum’ plants.
- Lifespan: A typical adult Glasswing butterfly lives up to a month, exceptionally longer compared to other butterfly species.
- Host Plants: The ‘Cestrum’ plants, which include nightshade, serve as the preferred host for their caterpillars. This unique diet makes their caterpillars toxic to predators.
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
The Great Spangled Fritillary is a spectacular brush-footed butterfly.
Let’s delve into its details:
- Habitat: Ranging from Alaska to Central America, they thrive best in meadows, fields, and open woodland spaces.
- Appearance: Their flight is swift. Males don a vibrant orange tone, with dark blotches, females have a subtler brown hue.
- Size: They are one of the larger species within their family, expanding between 2.5-4 inches (6.4-10.2 cm).
- Diet: Adult fritillaries drink nectar from a variety of flowering plants. The caterpillars eat violet leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs in the late summer and the caterpillars hatch and overwinter until spring when violets are available.
- Lifespan: Adults have a short lifespan of about a month in summer.
- Host Plants: Violets mainly; that’s the only food source for the caterpillars. Remember, even though it’s short, their life cycle contributes significantly to the ecosystem.
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
The Gulf Fritillary is a striking full-bodied butterfly.
If you happen to have a keen eye for detail, you’ll notice:
- Habitat: It inhabits subtropical and tropical areas from the southern United States through Mexico and Central America down to South America.
- Appearance: This butterfly sports vibrant orange wings with black spots and white markings, and possesses a metallic silver underside spotted with dark specks.
- Size: Typically, these butterflies measure between 2.6 to 3.7 inches, or 6.5 to 9.5 cm.
- Diet: The adult butterflies nourish themselves on the nectar from flowers, favouring Lantana.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of passion vine plants. Caterpillars emerge after a few days.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of Gulf Fritillary butterflies is approximately three weeks.
- Host Plants: Passion vines are the main host plants for the caterpillars, which feed on its leaves for sustenance.
Hackberry Emperor Butterfly (Asterocampa celtis)
The Hackberry Emperor Butterfly, scientifically known as the Asterocampa celtis, is notable within the Nymphalidae family for its intriguing traits.
- Habitat: Often found close to its favored food plant, the hackberry tree, in North America.
- Appearance: It sports a dark brown color on the outer wings, with elaborate patterns in spots and bands in lighter hues of orange, cream and tan.
- Size: Comes in an average size, generally measures between 1.5-2.75 inches (3.8-7 cm) in wingspan.
- Diet: As adults, they feed on a wide range of food, including tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, and nectar.
- Reproduction: Female butterflies lay their eggs singularly on the underside of leaves on its host plant.
- Lifespan: Like many butterflies, their lifespan is relatively short, usually a few weeks during summer.
- Host Plants: Primarily the hackberry tree, and several other varieties including sugarberry.
Easily recognizable for its beauty and vivid colors, the Hackberry Emperor Butterfly is a standout member of the Brush-footed family of butterflies.
Julia Butterfly (Dryas iulia)
The Julia Butterfly, an intriguing member of the Nymphalidae family, is worth exploring. Bursting with interesting features, this butterfly offers beauty coupled with fascinating behavior.
- Habitat: The Julia Butterfly inhabits tropical rainforests, citrus groves, and gardens across South America, Central America, the Caribbean islands, Florida, and Texas.
- Appearance: Julia’s possess vibrant orange wings with black patterns and markings offering a striking contrast.
- Size: The size range is between 3.3 to 3.5 inches (or 8.3 to 8.9 cm) in wingspan, making these butterflies indeed noticeable.
- Diet: Adult Julia’s fuel with nectar from flowering plants. Their favored source of food is the nectar from Lantana plants.
- Reproduction: These butterflies lay pale green eggs individually on the leaf-tips of host plants.
- Lifespan: The typical lifespan of a Julia Butterfly is around 2 weeks.
- Host Plants: Passionflower vines (Passiflora species) are the primary choice for Julia’s as larval food source.
Kamehameha (Vanessa tameamea)
Named after the first king of Hawaii, Kamehameha butterfly (Vanessa tameamea) has a distinctive status of being one of only two butterfly species native to Hawaii.
- Habitat: This butterfly favours the lush Hawaiian forests, where native plants thrive.
- Appearance: Displaying brilliant orange-red, black and white patterns, it’s a sight to behold.
- Size: An adult Kamehameha spans 2-3 inches (5.1-7.6cm) in wingtip-to-wingtip measurement.
- Diet: The adult sips nectar from native Hawaiian flora.
- Reproduction: Kamehameha lays its eggs on the leaves of its host plants.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan is around 2 weeks in the adult butterfly stage.
- Host Plants: Mamaki plant serves as the primary nursery for its eggs and caterpillars. The plant is native to Hawaii, just like this butterfly.
Remember, this butterfly is indigenous to Hawaii. Despite not being endangered, it is still a vital part of Hawaii’s delicate ecosystem.
Leopard Butterfly (Phalanta phalantha)
The enchanting Leopard Butterfly is deserving of your attention. This breath-taking brush-footed species belongs to the Nymphalidae family.
- Habitat: They are predominantly found in Africa, South Asia, and Australia. They favor open areas and forest edges.
- Appearance: Characterized by their bright orange wings with black spots, they genuinely resemble leopards.
- Size: Their wing span is around 2 to 2.8 inches (5 to 7cm), making them noticeable when they fly.
- Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from various flowers to obtain their energy.
- Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs on host plants individually.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan is usually around 2-3 weeks in the wild.
- Host Plants: They love Ficus and Garuga which are the primary host plants for their larvae.
Leopard butterflies stand out due to their unique leopard-like pattern. Their life cycle is both fascinating and detailed.
The Leopard Butterfly is not only captivating but also plays a crucial role in the ecosystems it inhabits.
Malachite (Siproeta stelenes)
The Malachite or Siproeta stelenes is another vibrant member of the Nymphalidae family.
- Habitat: Found predominantly in the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Central and Northern South America, but can also be occasionally found in South Florida.
- Appearance: Known for its large wings and dark green and black pattern, it’s easily distinguishable from other butterflies.
- Size: Adult Malachites’ wings can spread about 3-4 inches wide or about 7.5-10 centimeters.
- Diet: They mainly feast on the nectar of flowers, rotting fruits, and carrion.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale-green eggs singly on the new leaves of their host plants.
- Lifespan: Adults usually live about 2-3 weeks, which is average for butterflies.
- Host Plants: The passionflower serves as the main hosts for their caterpillars, and it’s from this plant that the caterpillars get their poisonous, deterring potential predators.
The intricate and visible designs on its wings certainly give the Malachite a rightful place in the collection of brush-footed butterflies.
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
The Meadow Fritillary is a fascinating member of the Nymphalidae family.
Let’s dive into its characteristics:
- Habitat: Typically found in open meadows, pastures, and damp woodlands across North America, it’s a regular sight during warm summer months.
- Appearance: It sports orange-brown wings with black spots, while its underwing has a unique silver-spotted pattern.
- Size: Quite petite, with only a 1.25 to 2 inch (3.2 to 5.1 cm) wingspan.
- Diet: As an adult, it feeds on the nectar of various flowers. The caterpillars munch on violet leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on violets, which serve as food for the hatching larvae.
- Lifespan: It usually lives for about a month, which is typical for many butterflies.
- Host Plants: The larvae are picky eaters, primarily relying on violet plants (Viola species) for nourishment.
So, if you spot a diminutive orange and brown butterfly fluttering in a meadow, chances are you’ve just seen a Meadow Fritillary.
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
Allow me to introduce the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterfly, a colorful member of the Nymphalidae family. This butterfly is unique for its brilliant, fiery patterns and distinctive habits.
- Habitat: Usually found in North America, from Alaska to New Mexico, inhabiting open woods and meadows.
- Appearance: Remember it for its fiery orange colour, bordered with black bands and blue spots. It has unique zigzagged outer wings.
- Size: A modest size, with a wingspan of 1.6 to 2.0 inches (4.1 to 5.2 cm).
- Diet: Feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Young caterpillars munch on stinging nettles.
- Reproduction: Eggs are laid in clusters on the underside of host plants.
- Lifespan: Total lifespan ranges from about 7 to 10 months. Overwinter as adults.
- Host Plants: Stinging nettles serve as the primary host plants for the caterpillars.
Thus, the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell butterfly is indeed one lovely sight that adds a splash of color to its habitats.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
The Monarch Butterfly, colloquially known as the king of butterflies, boasts a striking appearance sure to capture your attention.
Monarchs are famous for their incredible migratory pattern, indicative of their adaptability.
- Habitat: The Monarch Butterfly can be found in a variety of habitats including fields, meadows, prairies, and urban and suburban locales throughout North and Central America.
- Appearance: A lively contrast of orange and black patterns beautify the upper side of their wings, while the underpart portrays a lighter, more subtle hue.
- Size: Adult Monarchs can span anywhere from 3.4–4.0 inches (8.6–10.2 cm) in width, certainly an ostensible sight to behold.
- Diet: Predominantly feed on nectar from flowers but are known to favor milkweed plant.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves, which later emerge as vibrant larvae.
- Lifespan: The lifespan varies between generations, but on average, they live two to six weeks.
- Host Plants: Monarchs prefer milkweed as their primary host plant, utilizing it as a resource during their larval stage.
Mountain Ringlet Butterfly (Erebia epiphron)
The Mountain Ringlet Butterfly, scientifically known as Erebia epiphron, is a unique species that offers a delightful sight for every butterfly enthusiast.
Let’s delve deeper into the fascinating features of this nymphalidae family member.
- Habitat: It is typically found in high elevations and mountainous regions in Europe.
- Appearance: It boasts a dark brown color complemented by orange patches and black eyespots.
- Size: The adult butterfly wingspan ranges from 3.4 to 4 cm (1.34 to 1.57 inches).
- Diet: The primary food source is nectar from varieties of plants such as buttercups and sedges.
- Reproduction: It lays its eggs on the leaves or grass, maturing after 2 weeks.
- Lifespan: It lives approximately 1 year, making several generations in this period.
- Host Plants: Grass species like matgrass and fescue are often host plants for the larvae.
With a deeper understanding of the Mountain Ringlet Butterfly, one can truly appreciate its presence in the butterfly world.
Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa)
The Mourning Cloak Butterfly, or Nymphalis antiopa, is a wonderful creature with unique habits.
- Habitat: You can find these butterflies across the temperate regions of the world, Russia to Europe, North America to Australia.
- Appearance: They’re dark-colored with a maroon shade and lovely yellow borders. In sunlight, they seem to shimmer.
- Size: They’re sizable, boasting a wingspan of 2.25 to 4 inches or 5.7 to 10.1 cm.
- Diet: Did you know they feed during spring-time mostly? Sap from trees, fermented fruits and sometimes flower nectar are their favourites.
- Reproduction: Their reproduction season begins in June, and the females lay eggs on host plants.
- Lifespan: An interesting fact about these wonders is their long lifespan – they live up to 12 months.
- Host Plants: Usually, they lay their eggs on plants like Cottonwood, Willow or Elm trees.
This incredible butterfly surely brightens up the landscapes where it settles.
Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus)
The Orange Oakleaf butterfly is a unique species, and it owes its name to its highly efficient camouflage.
- Habitat: Mainly found in the tropical forests of Asia, you can see it enjoying its preferred moist and wooded surroundings.
- Appearance: Its underwings mimic a dried, autumn leaf, complete with veins. Flip it over, and the vibrant orange, blue, and black patterns take you by surprise!
- Size: A medium-sized butterfly, an adult measures up to 3-4 inches (7.6-10.2 cm) in wingspan.
- Diet: Primarily feeding on nectar from various flowers, it also relishes fallen fruits.
- Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the host plant. These hatch into caterpillars, which are equally good at camouflage.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan ranges from a few weeks to several months, depending on the conditions.
- Host Plants: Primarily, the catterpillar’s diet consists of leaves from trees in the Anacardiaceae family.
The Orange Oakleaf stands as an impressive testament to nature’s ingenuity in survival strategies.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
The Painted Lady, scientifically known as Vanessa cardui, thrives in an array of environments. Truly versatile, it can adapt not only to farmlands and meadows but also to deserts and the Arctic region.
- Habitat: These butterflies are cosmopolitan and found on every continent except Antarctica and South America.
- Appearance: They have a striking pattern of black, white, and orange on the upper side of their wings. The underside is more cryptic, providing excellent camouflage.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 2 to 2.9 inches (5-7 cm), it’s slightly smaller than a monarch butterfly.
- Diet: Both caterpillars and adults favor nectar from plants such as thistles, aster, cosmos, blazing star, ironweed, and Joe-Pye weed.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves, leading to a new generation every 4-6 weeks.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan for an adult painted lady is two weeks, although they can live up to a month in ideal conditions.
- Host Plants: Thistles, mallows, and legumes serve as primary host plants for the painted lady caterpillars.
Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe)
The Paper Kite Butterfly, a member of the Nymphalidae family, is worthy of attention.
- Habitat: They find home in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia where humidity is high.
- Appearance: Wrapped in a marvelous black and white pattern, they’re a sight to behold.
- Size: These beauties range from 3.9 to 4.7 inches (9.9 to 11.9 cm), a pleasing size to spot.
- Diet: Delighting in nectar, these butterflies visit various flowers to drink their fill.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, and after 4-5 days, tiny caterpillars will hatch.
- Lifespan: Typically, this species lives for roughly 1 month, a brief but impressive life.
- Host Plants: The younger caterpillars of this species feed on the leaves of several plants, including those from the Apocynaceae plant family.
The dainty flight and fascinating life-cyle of this butterfly make it a remarkable part of the Nymphalidae family.
Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)
The Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io) is a striking creature, radiating a unique appeal. Its beauty is captivating, making it an elegant butterfly species.
- Habitat: Abundance in Europe. They’re commonly found in woodland areas, gardens, and hedgerows.
- Appearance: Its large eye spot on each wing is distinctive. The wings are vibrant red with black, white, and blue eyespots.
- Size: They have a wingspan of 2.2-2.6 inches (55-65 millimeters).
- Diet: They relish nectar from a variety of flowers such as dandelions, willows, and clovers.
- Reproduction: A large part of the summer is spent matting and laying eggs on the undersides of nettle leaves.
- Lifespan: They have a lifespan of 11-12 months, one of the longest lifespans of any butterfly.
- Host Plants: The main host plants are nettles where they lay their eggs. The caterpillars feed on these plants.
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
The Pearl Crescent is a petite butterfly, popular in different parts of the United States.
- Habitat: They prefer sunny, open areas, such as meadows, roadsides, and woodland clearings.
- Appearance: These butterflies have wings with an orange base and brownish-black border. Males are more vivid than females.
- Size: Wingspan varies between 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm).
- Diet: Adults feed on flower nectar, while caterpillars munch on the leaves of asters.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs in clusters, usually on the underside of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: Their life cycle comprises 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Each stage lasts roughly 15 days, giving them a total lifespan of about 60 days.
- Host Plants: Their primary host plants are smooth aster and heath aster.
These butterflies can be spotted in sunny, open areas. Apart from their beauty, they play a vital role in local ecosystems.
Polyphemus White Morpho (Morpho polyphemus)
Polyphemus White Morpho, also known as Morpho polyphemus, is a captivating butterfly species from the Nymphalidae family.
- Habitat: You can find this butterfly in the lowland tropical rainforests of Central and South America.
- Appearance: It’s notable for its large, pearly-white wings, edged with black and adorned with an eyespot.
- Size: It’s large, boasting a wingspan between 4.7-5.9 inches (12-15 cm).
- Diet: The caterpillars feed on various plants, while adults prefer the nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: The females lay round, greenish eggs on the host plant.
- Lifespan: In the wild, they usually live about 115 days, but in captivity, they may reach up to 1 year.
- Host Plants: This species uses several plants as host sources, including Fabaceae and Bignonias.
The Polyphemus White Morpho is a truly mesmerizing creature to encounter. The next time you venture into a tropical rainforest, keep your eyes peeled. You may be lucky to spot one!
Postman Butterfly (Heliconius melpomene)
The Postman Butterfly, formally identified as Heliconius melpomene, is a fascinating member of the Nymphalidae family.
- Habitat: Naturally, this butterfly strives in the rainforests and deciduous forests of Central and South America.
- Appearance: Look for stretches of red, white, or yellow streaks against a black canvas, a perfect camouflage in its natural environment.
- Size: This butterfly tends to be on the smaller side, with a wingspan range of 2.2 – 4 inches (5.5 – 10 cm).
- Diet: As an adult, the Postman Butterfly feeds on floral nectar, primarily from plants of the passionflower genus.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underbelly of host plants, ensuring the safety and availability of food for the resulting larvae.
- Lifespan: With a longer lifespan than most of its kind, the Postman Butterfly typically lives up to 3 months. This long lifespan is attributed to their dietary habits.
- Host Plants: Primarily, the caterpillar feeds on various species of Passionflower.
The Postman Butterfly is a captivating example of the diversity found within the Brush-footed Butterfly family.
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris)
The Purple Emperor is considered one of the most attractive wildlife species due to its beautiful appearance and habitat.
Let’s explore the different aspects of this magnificent creature:
- Habitat: Purple Emperors prefer to live in broad-leafed woodlands, especially those with oak trees.
- Appearance: Aptly named, the males boast an iridescent-purple sheen, while the females are a duller brown.
- Size: Fairly large, their wingspan measures between 3.1 to 3.5 inches (8 to 9 cm).
- Diet: Unusually, adults feed on tree sap, rotten fruit, and even animal droppings, rather than flower nectar.
- Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the undersides of willow leaves.
- Lifespan: Adult Purple Emperors live approximately 2 weeks in the wild.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed exclusively on goat willow, grey willow, or hybrid combinations of the two plant species.
Despite their striking appearance, these elusive insects are quite tricky to spot due to their high-flying and tree-dwelling nature.
Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)
Say hi to the Queen Butterfly, a cousin of the famed Monarch. Hailing from the Nymphalidae family, these majestic creatures are sighted from Argentina to the southern parts of the United States.
- Habitat: Preferring warmer climates, they’re usually abundant around the southern US, Mexico, and Central America.
- Appearance: Distinguishable by its deep orange colour, partnered with black veined patterning and white spots on the black outer corner of each wing.
- Size: Ranging from 7cm to 9.5cm in wingspan – it’s quite a sight to see.
- Diet: Adults are fond of nectar, while the caterpillars prefer milkweed.
- Reproduction: The female lays the eggs on milkweed leaves. Caterpillars emerge after four days and start munching on the milkweed.
- Lifespan: Adults can live up to 2-6 weeks, quite common for butterflies.
- Host Plants: Milkweed, primarily, is where they lay their eggs and sustain their larvae.
Impressive, isn’t it? Now you know some vital specifics about the Queen Butterfly. Remember, each butterfly species brings its unique flavor to the world, just like the Queen Butterfly does.
Question Mark Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)
The Question Mark Butterfly is an interesting creature, well-known for its unique feature that earns it its name.
Here are some key aspects about this interesting insect:
- Habitat: Found primarily in North America, it thrives in forest edges, city parks and even in your backyard.
- Appearance: Orange with black spots, it has a silver mark shaped like a question mark on the underside of its hind wings.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 2 to 3 inches (5 – 7.6 cm), it’s a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Feeds on decaying fruit, tree sap and occasionally nectar.
- Reproduction: Females lay greenish eggs singly on leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: Adults have a lifespan of about 2 weeks, but some can live for up to two years.
- Host Plants: Often prefers elm, hackberry, and nettle plants for laying their eggs.
This butterfly is an amazing example of nature’s creativity. Doesn’t its unique silver mark and the curiosity it instills make it truly special?
Quino Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha quino)
The Quino Checkerspot is a unique species of the Nymphalidae family.
Now, let’s dive into some of its fascinating characteristics:
- Habitat: Typically found in Californian coastal sage and chaparral environments. It’s particularly fond of sunny, open spaces.
- Appearance: This butterfly sports a bright, checkered pattern of orange, black, and white on its wings, a delight to your eyes.
- Size: Adult wingspan ranges from 1.25 to 1.75 inches (3.17 to 4.45 centimeters).
- Diet: As a caterpillar, it feasts on the leaves of the plantain family. As an adult, it sips nectar from a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: Females usually lay their pinhead-sized eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: In most cases, its life cycle lasts about one year, from egg to adult.
- Host Plants: Favorite menu items include the dwarf plantain and the California plantain, which serve as food for the hatching larvae.
Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)
This butterfly is a striking sight to behold. The Red Spotted Purple, or Limenitis arthemis, is a definite crowd pleaser.
- Habitat: Found largely in woodlands and forested areas in North America.
- Appearance: Possesses distinct blue-black wings adorned with red-orange spots and a distinct white band cutting across the central wing.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 2.6 to 3.5 inches (approximately 8.2 to 10.1 centimeters), it’s a specimen impossible to miss.
- Diet: Adult butterflies are attracted to rotten fruit, sap, or carrion. The caterpillars feed predominantly on leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singularly on host plant leaves. The caterpillars are solitary which is atypical of Nymphalidae.
- Lifespan: Adult Red Spotted Purple butterflies have a lifespan of roughly 2 weeks.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on leaves from a wide range of trees including poplars, willows, and cherries.
Look out for these butterflies next time you’re in the woods, they’re a mini marvel.
Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia)
The Regal Fritillary is a stunning member of the Nymphalidae butterfly family.
- Habitat: It predominantly inhabits prairies and meadows in North America, especially the areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
- Appearance: One of its striking features is its striking orange and black markings. It also has reflective blue and green scales on the upper part of its wings.
- Size: The female Regal Fritillary sports a wingspan up to 4 inches (approx. 10 cm) while the male has a somewhat smaller wingspan of approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm).
- Diet: Adults feed on the nectar from various flowering plants, while the caterpillars feed on violets.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs in the late summer, and the caterpillars emerge in the spring.
- Lifespan: This species has a life cycle of one year.
- Host Plants: Violets, especially the Bird’s Foot Violet, serve as the primary host plants for the Regal Fritillary larvae.
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Silvery Checkerspot, scientifically known as Chlosyne nycteis, is an interesting member of the Nymphalidae family.
- Habitat: Native to North America, Silvery Checkerspot favors open and sunny spaces, like meadows or fields.
- Appearance: This butterfly stands out for its silver spots on the hind wings and checkered patterns on the front wings. The orange-yellow and black scheme makes it attractive.
- Size: It boasts a modest wingspan of 1.5 to 2 inches (approximately 4 to 5 centimeters).
- Diet: The adults feed mainly on flower nectar, while caterpillars enjoy vegetation like sunflowers and asters.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs in clusters on the underside of host plants. The emerging larvae then live communally, maturing into adults within a month.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of this species varies, with most living around 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: Their preferred host plants are within the Aster family, including sunflowers, asters, and coneflowers.
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
The Small Tortoiseshell, scientific name Aglais urticae, is a vibrant feast for the eyes.
Let’s delve into its specifics:
- Habitat: You can frequently find them in Europe, particularly in gardens, parks, and meadows.
- Appearance: They have two pairs of colorful wings, mainly reddish-orange, adorned with black and yellow spots and edged with a black and blue border.
- Size: They are relatively small, usually 4 to 5.5 cm (~1.5-2.2 in) in wingspan.
- Diet: Their eating habits consist of nectar from a diversity of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Butterflies mate in summer and lay their eggs on the underside of nettle leaves.
- Lifespan: Lifespan ranges between 11 and 14 months.
- Host Plants: Their larvae feed on nettles, mainly small nettle (Urtica urens) and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
Next time you spot a Small Tortoiseshell basking in the sun, just think about this set of impressive characteristics!
Soldier Butterfly (Danaus eresimus)
The Soldier Butterfly, scientific name Danaus eresimus, is a fascinating brush-footed butterfly under the family Nymphalidae.
- Habitat: These butterflies are found in a variety of habitats from marshes and weedy fields to forest edges.
- Appearance: With a primary color of orange-brown, these butterflies have striking black veins and black margins with white spots.
- Size: Males grow up to a wingspan of 3.5 inches (88.9mm), while females grow slightly bigger, up to 4 inches (101.6mm).
- Diet: The caterpillars dine on the leaves of milkweed plants. Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves, which is the food source for the emerging larvae.
- Lifespan: Average lifecycle takes about two months – egg, caterpillar, pupa, and adult butterfly. However, overall lifespan extends up to nine months.
- Host Plants: Different species of the milkweed plant act as the host plant for this butterfly species.
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
The Variegated Fritillary is a beautiful specimen of butterfly you can’t miss. This creature’s charm lies not only in its distinctive appearance but also in its unique behaviors.
Let’s take a closer look at its captivating characteristics:
- Habitat: Mostly found in open, sunny areas such as fields, parks, gardens, and pastures.
- Appearance: Sports a unique pattern of orange and black on the upper side of the wings, while the underside has a silvery-gray tone with black spots.
- Size: It’s medium-sized, with a wingspan ranging between 1.75-2.25 inches (4.5-5.7 cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies enjoy nectar from a variety of flowers, and the caterpillars usually feed on violet leaves.
- Reproduction: The female lays single eggs which develop into black and white caterpillars.
- Lifespan: Adults live for approximately 7-10 days.
- Host Plants: Common host plants are violets and passionflowers.
This butterfly is a colorful and lively addition to any meadow or garden. A true marvel of the insect kingdom.
Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus)
Meet the Viceroy Butterfly, or Limenitis archippus, a striking member of the brush-footed butterfly family – Nymphalidae.
- Habitat: They mainly reside in wet, open or marshy areas like streams, swamps, and meadows throughout the U.S. and Canada.
- Appearance: Viceroys are mimics! They resemble the Monarch butterfly with similar orange and black patterns, but harbor a distinguishing black line across hind wings.
- Size: A medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 2.5-3.1 inches (6.3-7.9 cm).
- Diet: Their diet consists of nectar from various flowers and willows on which their larvae feed.
- Reproduction: Females lay green eggs on the tops of host plant leaves, which then hatch into caterpillars.
- Lifespan: Short-lived as adults; they typically survive only one to two weeks.
- Host Plants: Their preferred host plants are willow and poplar trees where the females lay eggs.
Fascinating creatures, aren’t they? Each with its own unique characteristics and peculiarities!
White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)
The White Peacock Butterfly is a striking species, widely found throughout the Southern United States, Central America, and into South America.
- Habitat: Typically found in subtropical wetlands, roadside parks, and city gardens.
- Appearance: They feature a distinct creamy white color with spots of brown and orange on their wings with a slight iridescence.
- Size: The wingspan averages about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm).
- Diet: Adult white peacock butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants, whilst in the caterpillar stages, they eat the leaves of water hyssop.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs individually on the host plant leaves where the caterpillars feed upon hatching.
- Lifespan: Adults generally live for about two months.
- Host Plants: The butterfly’s preferred host plants are from the Acanthaceae family, such as Ruellia and Blechum.
These butterflies, overall, serve as pollinators and contribute to the beauty and diversity of their ecosystems.
Zebra Butterfly (Heliconius charithonia)
The Zebra Butterfly, a distinctive resident of the warm subtropics, has a captivating presence.
- Habitat: Known to thrive in subtropical climates, their habitat typically includes Florida, the Gulf Coast, and Central and South America.
- Appearance: As suggested by their name, they boast zebra-like black and yellow stripes, giving them a captivating, contrasting appearance.
- Size: Elegant and petite, they span 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) when their wings are fully extended.
- Diet: They’re uniqueness extends to their diet, consisting not only of nectar but also pollen, granting them valuable amino acids.
- Reproduction: Like other butterflies, they lay their eggs on host plants where larvae feed and pupate.
- Lifespan: Remarkably, they live up to six months, considerably longer than most butterfly species.
- Host Plants: They lay eggs on passion vines, leveraging the toxins in them as a defense mechanism.
With their bold stripes and unique traits, Zebra Butterflies captivate the world of Nymphalidae admirers.
You’ve now taken a fascinating journey through the world of brush-footed butterflies, each species presenting its unique color patterns, habitats, and behaviors.
It’s impressive how these delicate creatures contribute to Earth’s biodiversity.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment to share your thoughts or any experiences you’ve had with these beautiful insects.