30 Butterfly Species in Connecticut
Discover the intricacies of Connecticut’s butterfly population with our deep dive into 30 of its species.
From the vivid Red-spotted Purple to the striking Zebra Swallowtail, we’ll guide you through each species’ characteristics and behaviors.
Get ready to explore the fascinating world of these fluttering beauties right in your backyard.
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)
The Red-spotted Purple is a fascinating butterfly species native to Connecticut.
- Habitat: It is at home in a wide range of environments, from forests to suburban parks.
- Appearance: Thus butterfly has dark wings patterned with light blue, accented by its namesake: red spots along its lower wings.
- Size: Generally, it measures between 3 and 4 inches (7.5 – 10 cm) in wingspan.
- Diet: They primarily feed on tree sap, overripe fruit, and animal dung but can also consume flower nectar.
- Reproduction: Female butterflies lay eggs individually on host plant leaves, which the caterpillar consumes after hatching.
- Lifespan: Though the adult lives only for a few weeks, the entire life cycle, from egg to adult, is about 2 months.
- Host Plants: Not exclusive to a single plant, its favorite host plants include willows, poplars, and cherries.
Keep your eyes peeled next time you’re in Connecticut, you might just catch a glimpse of this stunning specimen.
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
The Viceroy, scientifically known as Limenitis archippus, is a common butterfly species found in Connecticut.
- Habitat: They are usually found in marshy areas and wet meadows. Their range extends throughout most of the United States.
- Appearance: Viceroys have orange and black wings with similar patterns to Monarch butterflies, making them a classic case of Batesian mimicry.
- Size: They are medium-sized butterflies, with wings spans ranging from 2.7 to 3.1 inches (7 to 8 cm).
- Diet: As adults, Viceroys feed on the nectar of flowers like milkweed and asters. Caterpillars eat the leaves of willow, poplar, and apple trees.
- Reproduction: After mating, female Viceroys lay their eggs on the leaves of the host plant, usually a tree from the willow family.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Viceroy butterfly is about two weeks.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on the leaves of willows, poplars and cottonwoods.
Identifying this butterfly can enrich your experience of Connecticut’s natural beauty. Be sure to look out for this stunning species next time you’re exploring outdoors.
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
The White Admiral is a fascinating butterfly, one of the numerous species calling Connecticut home.
- Habitat: This butterfly adores deciduous forests, particularly where birch and poplar trees thrive.
- Appearance: It displays distinct white bands across its black wings giving it a stunning contrast that is captivates butterflies lovers.
- Size: This butterfly measures between 2.75 to 4 inches across, or 7 to 10 centimeters.
- Diet: Adult butterflies are nectar lovers, feasting on flowers like lilacs and viburnum.
- Reproduction: A female lays eggs individually on host leaves where caterpillars grow and feed.
- Lifespan: Adult butterflies often live up to 2 weeks under ideal conditions, while the entire life cycle unfolds over a year.
- Host Plants: The White Admiral larvae feed on deciduous trees and plants, with a preference for birch and willows.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll better appreciate this appealing butterfly the next time you cross paths.
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
Let’s explore the Hackberry Emperor. This captivating butterfly species is a sight to behold.
- Habitat: You’ll locate them mainly in Midwest and Eastern US. They prefer woodland edges and hackberry trees, hence the name.
- Appearance: They sport a unique blend of earth-toned colors. Their wings exhibit a mix of brown and orange, accessorized with white spots.
- Size: As small wonders, their wingspan stretches between 1.5–2.5 inches (3.8–6.35 cm).
- Diet: Adults sip tree sap, rotting fruit, and even dung. Quite the eclectic diet!
- Reproduction: Each female lays around 200–500 tiny, green eggs on hackberry leaves.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan is relatively short for a butterfly at about two weeks.
- Host Plants: The common Hackberry tree is the larval host plant. Caterpillars munch on the leaves here.
Stay tuned for the next butterfly species that adorn Connecticut. We’ll take a closer look at the Great Spangled Fritillary.
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Behold the Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), our fourth majestic species. One of Connecticut’s more robust and vibrantly colored species, it adorns the state’s broad meadows and fields.
- Habitat: Prefer wide, open spaces like pastures and fields with nearby woodlands.
- Appearance: Their upper sides are a striking orange with black markings and dusted silver spots. The undersides, meanwhile, show off an elegant silvery color radiating a near-metallic shine.
- Size: They range from 2.4 to 3.5 inches (60 to 88mm), marking them as larger than most Connecticut butterflies.
- Diet: They love to feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, including milkweeds, thistles, and ironweeds.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on or near host plants. After hatching, the small larvae seclude themselves for the winter before maturing fully in spring.
- Lifespan: Adult lifecycle spans from early summer to early fall.
- Host Plants: Prefers violets (viola species) and relies on them for their larval stage.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
The Monarch butterfly is one of the most widely recognized butterfly species in Connecticut. Native to North America, it adorns natural habitats with a surreal spectacle.
- Habitat: Monarchs can be found in open fields, meadows, prairies, lowlands, marshes, and alongside roads.
- Appearance: They have a distinctive pattern of black, white, and deep orange colors. Monarchs are famous for their distinctive wing patterns.
- Size: Adult Monarchs measure between 3.5 and 4 inches (approximately 8.9 to 10.16 cm) across.
- Diet: Monarch caterpillars feed solely on milkweed leaves. Adults prefer nectar from flowers like milkweed, aster, thistle, and mariposa lily.
- Reproduction: Female Monarchs lay small, spherical eggs primarily on milkweed leaves – their progeny’s exclusive diet.
- Lifespan: Adult Monarchs typically live 4 to 5 weeks. However, the final generation of each year can live up to 8 months, migrating to warmer climates for winter.
- Host Plants: Milkweed species constitute their primary host plants, with some being more desirable than others for egg-laying.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
The American Lady is an alluring sight in the Connecticut landscape.
- Habitat: These butterflies are often seen in open areas and gardens, both in urban and rural environments.
- Appearance: Sporting two large eye-spots on their lower wings that differentiate them from the Painted Lady. They also have unique white spot in orange field on forewings.
- Size: With a wingspan between 1.75 to 2.6 inches (4.45 to 6.6 cm), they’re not the largest butterflies but are certainly noticeable.
- Diet: They feed from an assortment of nectar-producing flowers, favoring clover, dogbane and asters.
- Reproduction: Females lay their small, barrel-shaped, pale green eggs one at a time on host plants.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan typically ranges from 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: Thistle, Hollyhock, and Pearly Everlasting are common host plants.
Admire their beauty, but also appreciate the important role the American Lady plays in our ecosystem.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The Red Admiral butterfly is one of the most iconic and recognizable butterflies in Connecticut.
Here’s a closer look:
- Habitat: Red Admirals are common in woodland edges and gardens. You can spot them sunning themselves on tree trunks or boulders.
- Appearance: They have dark wings with bold red-orange bands and white spots.
- Size: Their wingspans range from 1.75 to 3 inches (4.4 to 7.6 cm), a relatively medium-sized butterfly species.
- Diet: Red Admirals feed on nectar from various flowers, and occasionally, sap, ripe fruits and bird droppings.
- Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs individually on the tops of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: They can live up to 6 months, with two generations taking flight each year.
- Host Plants: They mainly use nettle species, including stinging nettle, tall wild nettle, and wood nettle for their larvae.
Keep an eye out for these butterflies, and marvel at their notable red stripes!
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
The Painted Lady is an intriguing creature with defining features and habits.
- Habitat: The Painted Lady is found almost everywhere – from meadows and farmland to your backyard.
- Appearance: They have a trademark orange-brown body, while their wings showcase a striking pattern with shades of black and white.
- Size: They range in size, usually 5 cm to 9 cm (2 to 3.5 inches).
- Diet: As larvae, they prefer thistles. Adults, on the other hand, enjoy nectar from a variety of flowers, like asters and clovers.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on host plants. The emerging larvae, or caterpillars, then consume the plant.
- Lifespan: A Painted Lady butterfly usually lives for 2 to 4 weeks. In rare cases such as migration, they could live up to 9 months.
- Host Plants: The list includes thistles, mallows, legumes and more.
A truly fascinating species, these butterflies are a favorite of nature enthusiasts.
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Mourning Cloak, a splendidly unique butterfly, is known for its deep, rich colors.
- Habitat: These butterflies prefer woodland areas and parks, though you may also spot them in suburban gardens.
- Appearance: They sport a dark maroon, almost black, with broad, yellow borders and blue spots along the wings’ edges.
- Size: They measure about 2-4 inches (50-100mm) across, a considerable size for a butterfly.
- Diet: Mourning Cloaks caterpillars feast on the leaves of various trees, including willow, and elm. Adults enjoy tree sap, especially from oaks.
- Reproduction: Females lay clusters of eggs on suitable host plants.
- Lifespan: This species is unique in the sense it can live up to 12 months, far more than most butterflies.
- Host Plants: For these butterflies, suitable host plants are primarily deciduous trees, like willow, poplar, and elm.
Their remarkable lifespan and distinctive colors make the Mourning Cloaks undeniably one of Connecticut’s stand-out butterfly species.
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
Meet the Question Mark, a distinct butterfly from the Nymphalidae family, common in Connecticut.
- Habitat: Typically favoring woodland edges and city gardens.
- Appearance: Known for its intricately detailed orange and brown wings. They sport a silver-white ‘question mark’ on the underside, hence the name.
- Size: Their expansive wings can span anywhere between 45-71 mm, or 1.8-2.8 inches. A striking sight, indeed!
- Diet: Adults are drawn to rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, and sometimes flower nectar.
- Reproduction: In spring, females lay their pale green eggs atop host plants. These hatch into spiny black caterpillars.
- Lifespan: After metamorphosis, adults live for about a year, riding out the harsh winter.
- Host Plants: They favor a number of plants, with elms, nettles, and hackberries being their top choices.
Undoubtedly, the Question Mark butterfly poses an intriguing addition to Connecticut’s array of fluttering fauna.
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Heralded for its striking design, the Common Buckeye is a sight to behold. It’s a medium-sized butterfly that adds shimmering colors to Connecticut skies.
- Habitat: It comfortably inhabits sunny, open spaces including fields, gardens, and roadsides.
- Appearance: Its brown wings adorned with eye spots differentiate it. Each wing has two orange bars and white bands.
- Size: It ranges between 1.5-2.2 inches (3.8-5.6 cm), an embodiment of beauty in smallness.
- Diet: It enjoys a diet of nectar from a variety of flowers such as aster and chicory.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on buds or upper side of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: Its lifespan varies, living a few weeks as an adult.
- Host Plants: It prefers Plantains, but can also utilize Snapdragon, Ruellia, and Flax.
This unique creature is an irreplaceable part of Connecticut’s butterfly population and ecosystem. Its presence brings life and color to the State.
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
The Pearl Crescent is a delightful sight in Connecticut’s various habitats.
- Habitat: It thrives best in open areas like fields, meadows, and roadsides.
- Appearance: This butterfly is orange and black, its underside has a crescent-shaped mark which is where its name originates.
- Size: Its size is petite, with a wingspan varying between 1 to 1.5 inches (2.54 to 3.81 cm), making it a small species.
- Diet: The Pearl Crescent nourishes itself on the nectar from various flowers, with a preference for asters.
- Reproduction: It reproduces multiple broods each year.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan varies, but adults generally live up to a few weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae’s primary food sources are asters, perching on these during their early stages.
The Pearl Crescent is a charming and important part of Connecticut’s wildlife system. You’ll certainly enjoy spotting this striking butterfly during your outdoor excursions.
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
The Clouded Sulphur butterfly, scientifically known as Colias philodice, is a common sight in the state of Connecticut.
It often adds a touch of beauty to the local environment with its vibrant hues.
- Habitat: This butterfly prefers open areas like meadows, fields, and roadsides.
- Appearance: Clouded Sulphurs are usually pale yellow with sharp black borders on their wings.
- Size: They do not exceed 2 inches (approximately 5.08 cm) in wingspan.
- Diet: Their diets primarily consist of nectar derived from a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: After mating, females deposit eggs on host plants. Caterpillars will later emerge from these eggs.
- Lifespan: The lifespan is short, lasting only a few weeks. However, multiple broods are produced each year.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars favor plants from the pea family, including clovers and alfalfa.
Thus, these small creatures add a dash of color to the open greens of Connecticut and play a valuable role in the life cycle of their chosen habitats.
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
The Orange Sulphur, classified as ‘Colias eurytheme,’ is a delightful sight. Tread softly and know more about this alluring creature.
- Habitat: Diverse habitats like meadows, fields, gardens, and roadsides are preferred by these butterflies.
- Appearance: Highlighting golden hues, females occasionally present a beautiful pink blush. The top of their wings have wide, dark borders.
- Size: The wingspread reaches 1.5-2.75 inches (38-70mm), resonating with the size of a teacup.
- Diet: Often sighted on asters and goldenrods, they predominantly sip nectar. Moreover, males occasionally hydrate from mud.
- Reproduction: Females craft a new generation by laying green eggs on the host plant and the caterpillars continue the journey.
- Lifespan: Modest in length, their lifespan extends only about a week in the adult phase.
- Host Plants: Alfalfa, clovers and peas are some of the beloved host plants for Orange Sulphurs.
Embrace nature and try to spot this colorsome butterfly on your next stroll.
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
The Cloudless Sulphur is a fascinating species gracing Connecticut’s bio-diversity.
- Habitat: These butterflies favor open, sunny areas. Often spotted fluttering about in gardens and along roadways.
- Appearance: Cloudless Sulphurs bear a striking golden yellow color often without black margins, thus their “cloudless” moniker.
- Size: Their wingspan varies from 2 to 3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm), making them among the larger of the sulphur species.
- Diet: The adults sip nectar from a variety of flowers, with a preference for red and pink blossoms.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs singly on the host plant.
- Lifespan: The Cloudless Sulphur’s lifecycle from egg to adult spans about a month, adults live for several weeks.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on the leaves of various legume plants, including cassia and partridge pea.
As you witness this bright, enthusiastic butterfly flit about, keep these facts in mind.
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
The Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) is one of those unassuming, friendly faces you’ll regularly spot across Connecticut.
- Habitat: Predominantly found in open spaces like gardens, farms, and parks, and less common in dense forests.
- Appearance: Distinct white to cream-colored wings decorated with dark tips. The males have one spot on each wing, while females have two.
- Size: Petite size, boasting a wingspan of roughly 2 inches (5 cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies draw sustenance from nectar of a variety of flowers, but their caterpillars feast on leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. The green caterpillars that hatch are a common garden sight.
- Lifespan: Adults live for approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Overwintering as pupae allows the species to survive colder months.
- Host Plants: As the name hints, they love the Brassicaceae family, such as cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Their presence may thus be quite prevalent in vegetable gardens.
Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
One of the most distinctive butterflies you’ll come across in Connecticut is the Checkered White or Pontia protodice.
- Habitat: Predominantly found in open fields and meadows.
- Appearance: Known for their striking white wings dotted with a checkered pattern of black and grey marks.
- Size: A medium-sized creature, it measures in at an average wingspan of 1.6-2.4 inches or 40-60 millimeters.
- Diet: Adults usually feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay scores of greenish-yellow eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: This species has a relatively short lifespan, usually between one to two weeks.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars of the Checkered White feed on an assortment of plants, most commonly from the mustard family.
These elegant insects may look frail, but they are indeed hearty and can survive in a variety of habitats.
Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)
The Harvester is the only carnivorous butterfly species in North America.
Here’s what you should know about the Harvester:
- Habitat: This species mostly inhabits wetlands, and its range extends from southern Canada to Florida and Texas.
- Appearance: The upper side of the Harvester’s wings is a bright orange, while the underside is pale with rust-colored spots.
- Size: The Harvester is small, with a wingspan of 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm).
- Diet: As a caterpillar, the Harvester feeds on woolly aphids. As a butterfly, it sips on aphid honeydew and rarely visits flowers.
- Reproduction: The mating season takes place in the spring. Females deposit green eggs on leaves where aphids are present.
- Lifespan: The Harvester’s lifespan is short, typically around one week in its butterfly stage.
- Host Plants: The primary host plants for this species are alder and witch-hazel. These plants harbor the aphids this butterfly’s caterpillars consume.
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
The Gray Hairstreak is a versatile butterfly found across the United States, and Connecticut is no exception. It’s fascinating to observe with its distinct features and behavior.
- Habitat: They adapt well and can be found in a variety of environments, from grasslands to suburbs.
- Appearance: These compact butterflies are most recognized for their gray or silver wings with thin black lines and striking orange spots near the tail.
- Size: Gray Hairstreaks are small but noticable, with a wingspan around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of plants, while the caterpillars prefer legume family members.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the buds, flowers, or seed pods of their host plants.
- Lifespan: They live for around a year, a lengthy lifespan compared to many other butterfly species.
- Host Plants: This butterfly favors plants from the legume family, such as peas, clover, and beans.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
The Black Swallowtail, or Papilio polyxenes, is a striking butterfly species that you can encounter in Connecticut.
- Habitat: This species prefers open fields, suburban areas, and marshes.
- Appearance: The black wings display lustrous blue or red spots, and each hind-wing has a distinct tail, reminding of a swallow’s tail.
- Size: The adult Black Swallowtail typically spans about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) in width.
- Diet: Adults feed primarily on nectar, favoring flowers like milkweed and thistles.
- Reproduction: Females lay small, yellow eggs on host plants where the larvae will feed.
- Lifespan: This species has a brisk life cycle, with adults living only for 10-12 days.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of plants from the carrot family, such as dill or parsley.
The Black Swallowtail is a remarkable part of Connecticut’s biodiversity – proof that even the commonest places can host a spectacle of nature.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
This captivating creature, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), is a common sight in Connecticut.
- Habitat: They prefer the wild greenery of deciduous woods and city gardens alike.
- Appearance: Its striking pattern of yellow and black stripes combined with the eyespots on its tail makes it truly unforgettable.
- Size: A large species, it measures from 3.5 to 4.5 inches (8.9 to 11.4 cm) in wingspan.
- Diet: It feeds on nectar from a variety of blooming plants.
- Reproduction: Mating season starts in spring and ends in fall, with the female laying its eggs on host plants.
- Lifespan: A brief but beautiful life, the adults typically live for 1 month.
- Host Plants: They make their home in trees like wild cherry and ash, and also magnolias.
Their sight is a promising sign of summer approaching in Connecticut and holds an essential role in maintaining the health of the local ecosystem.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
The Giant Swallowtail is one of Connecticut’s most fascinating butterfly species.
- Habitat: Predominantly, they inhabit gardens, fields, and forests.
- Appearance: Evident from its name, the Giant Swallowtail possesses large, wings with black and yellow markings.
- Size: These creatures span between 4 to 6.3 inches (10 to 16 cm), making them the largest butterfly species in North America.
- Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on flower nectar. The caterpillars, interestingly, are fond of citrus tree leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay their spherical, creamy-white eggs on the leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: Typically, Giant Swallowtails live for about a month in the wild.
- Host Plants: Their larval host plants include trees and shrubs from the Rutaceae family, like rue and citrus trees.
Characterized by their size and vivid markings, Giant Swallowtails add beauty and intrigue to Connecticut’s butterfly population.
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
The Spicebush Swallowtail is one of the remarkable butterfly species in Connecticut.
- Habitat: They are native to North America and prefer moist, open woodlands and fields.
- Appearance: Sporting a dark blue or black body, they are best recognized by their eye-catching green-blue “eyespots”.
- Size: Adults can reach a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm).
- Diet: Primarily feeding on nectar, honeydew and dung for nourishment.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the upper side of host plant leaves, mostly during the summer.
- Lifespan: Adults usually live for around a month, but those that breed in fall can survive the winter and live up to 10 months.
- Host Plants: They utilize plants like sweet bay, tulip tree and camphorweed.
Their survival strategy of mimicking the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail to deter predators is a clear testament to nature’s ingenuity.
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Zebra Swallowtail is a distinctive species found in Connecticut.
- Habitat: They usually live in predominantly wet, deciduous forests, fields, and pastures.
- Appearance: It’s characterized by its black-and-white striped wing pattern, hence its common name. Another distinctive feature is the two tail-like extensions on the hind wings.
- Size: Adults have a wingspan of 2.7– 4.0 inches (7–10 cm), making them relatively medium in size.
- Diet: Larvae feed on pawpaw leaves while adults siphon nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay spherical green eggs on the leaves of the food plant.
- Lifespan: They live a brief existence for about a month in summer.
- Host Plants: Their preferred food is the pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba), from which the larvae derive some chemical defenses.
These attributes give the Zebra Swallowtail a unique place among Connecticut’s butterfly species.
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
A hidden gem amongst butterfly species in Connecticut is the distinctive Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus).
- Habitat: This species frequents forest edges and openings where wildflowers are abundant.
- Appearance: Its dark hues can seem unremarkable at first, but upon closer inspection, the Dreamy Duskywing reveals intricate patterns, with a dark brown veil adorned by faint white spots.
- Size: With a wingspan of around 30mm-38mm (1.2-1.5 inches), this butterfly is small yet majestic.
- Diet: The exquisite Dreamy Duskywing, much like other butterfly species, sips nectar from wildflowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singularly on their host plants. The caterpillars then feed on these plants during the larval stage.
- Lifespan: The Duskywings are not especially long-lived. Their lifespan fluctuates from several weeks to a couple of months.
- Host Plants: The precise host plants vary regionally. In Connecticut, the larvae usually feed on oaks.
Isn’t it delightful to discover how each butterfly contributes to Connecticut’s rich biodiversity?
Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)
‘Wild Indigo Duskywing’ might sound like a rugged adventurer, and in spirit, this butterfly doesn’t disappoint.
Recognized for its fondness of wildflowers, the Erynnis baptisiae graces Connecticut during the spring months. However, it might be tough to sight as it blends well with the natural surroundings.
Here’s a detailed rundown of this fascinating species:
- Habitat: Typically found in open meadows, fields, and gardens showcasing a wide variety of wildflowers.
- Appearance: Dusky-colored butterflies with brownish-gray wings and white-spotted edges. Their bodies are checkered in a similar pattern.
- Size: The average wingspan ranges from 1.25 to 1.75 inches (3.2 to 4.4 cm).
- Diet: They feed predominantly on nectar from wildflowers.
- Reproduction: Mating season starts in late spring, with females laying eggs singly on host plants.
- Lifespan: In the wild, it usually lives for around a week to 10 days.
- Host Plants: Predominantly Wild Indigo and Crown Vetch.
Truly, their fleeting presence adds a delightful dash of mystique to Connecticut’s diverse fauna!
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
The Silver-spotted Skipper, scientifically tagged as Epargyreus clarus, is one of the most captivating butterfly species in Connecticut. It graces the state with its presence and vibrant characteristics.
- Habitat: Given its preference for sunny locations, it tends to inhabit open fields, disturbed areas, and sunny forest edges.
- Appearance: Its stunning features include brown wings with an outstanding silver-white spot on the hindwings.
- Size: This skipper averages between 1.75 – 2.25 inches (roughly 44 – 57 millimeters) in wingspan, making it the largest of North American skippers.
- Diet: It feeds mostly on nectar from flowers like milkweeds and buttonbush.
- Reproduction: Females lay singular eggs on host plant leaves, which later hatch into larvae.
- Lifespan: Like most butterflies, adults live for just a few weeks to a month.
- Host Plants: Silver-spotted Skippers favor locust trees, American wisteria, and other legumes as larval host plants.
Please note that these skippers are non-migratory, sticking to one location for their entire life cycle.
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
You may come across the Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) in various habitats in Connecticut.
Let’s explore more about this species:
- Habitat: Generally, they favor fields, gardens, and the edges of wooded areas.
- Appearance: Its body is robust, colored with a luscious iridescent blue-green. The two tails on the hindwings stand apart.
- Size: Ranging from 1.7 to 2.2 inches (4.3 to 5.6 cm), it is medium-sized.
- Diet: Adult skippers feed on flower nectar while larvae munch on leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the host plant. Caterpillars emerge which then envelop themselves in leafy shelters.
- Lifespan: The adult stage lasts for about 6–10 days.
- Host Plants: Favored plants include beans, legumes, and other members of the Fabaceae family.
This stunning butterfly species is truly a sight for sore eyes, but it’s often underappreciated due to its quick movements. Next time, slow down and take a closer look.
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)
With the scientific name Asterocampa clyton, the Tawny Emperor butterfly is a sight to behold.
- Habitat: These butterflies are seen in deciduous woods, mostly near hackberry trees.
- Appearance: Tawny Emperors showcase a gamut of colors from light brown to darker brown shades with various spots.
- Size: As adults, they can reach wingspans between 2.5 to 3.4 inches or 6.3 to 8.6 centimeters.
- Diet: These butterflies are unique, as adults do not sip nectar from flowers. They prefer tree sap, rotting fruit, or animal dung.
- Reproduction: The females lay eggs in clusters on host plants, primarily hackberry trees.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Tawny Emperor ranges from 10 to 20 days.
- Host Plants: Hackberry trees are their primary host plants, providing food for the larvae to develop.
In essence, Connecticut’s colorful array of butterfly species offers a fascinating glimpse into the diversity of nature.
Each fluttering wonder contributes uniqueness to the ecosystem, making every outdoor adventure a journey of discovery.
Why not leave a comment about which Connecticut butterfly species has caught your eye?