30 Butterfly Species in Georgia

In this article, you’ll discover 30 native butterfly species that grace the skies of Georgia.

From the majestic Monarch to the intricate patterns of the Zebra Heliconian, you’ll learn distinguishing features and habits of each species.

This captivating journey through Georgia’s diverse butterfly population promises to enlighten and amaze you.

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

The Mourning Cloak is an intriguing butterfly species you can spot in Georgia. Commonly found in wooded areas and parks, they are characterized by their unique appearance.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll typically find them in both forested and open habitats, including parks and gardens.
  • Appearance: Mourning Cloaks sport a dark maroon, almost black base color adorned with a light cream edge around their wings.
  • Size: They have a striking wingspan that stretches between 2.25 to 4 inches (5.7 to 10.16 cm).
  • Diet: Interestingly, they feast on tree sap, rotting fruit, and only occasionally nectar.
  • Reproduction: In spring, female lays eggs in clusters on host plant’s twigs.
  • Lifespan: They can live for around 11 to 12 months, one of the most extended butterfly lifespans.
  • Host Plants: Willow, elm, and poplar are the primary host plants for this butterfly species.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodrce)

The Clouded Sulphur is a beautiful lustrous butterfly that you can spot in Georgia. They come in delicate shades of yellow and white.

Clouded Sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: This species thrives in meadows, crop fields and along roadsides.
  • Appearance: It has bright yellow uppersides with solid black edging and subtle black spots. Additionally, females sport a unique double spot on each wing.
  • Size: It flaunts a wingspan of 1.5 to 2.5 inches (3.8 to 6.3 centimeters), which can’t go unnoticed.
  • Diet: Clouded Sulphurs prefer to feast on nectar, particularly using their long proboscis to extract from clover and alfalfa flowers.
  • Reproduction: This species produces multiple broods every year, laying pale green eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Although their adult lifespan ranges between 2-4 weeks, they ensure their survival through multiple life cycles in a year.
  • Host Plants: Alfalfa, clover, and pea family plants are their preferred locations for laying eggs and providing food for caterpillars.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

You may know the Monarch butterfly, a magnificent insect that graces Georgia’s flora.


To better appreciate its beauty, let’s explore its characteristics:

  • Habitat: These creatures frequent open areas, gardens, and fields.
  • Appearance: They sport orange wings with black veins and edges, featuring white spots.
  • Size: Monarchs span 3.5 – 4 inches (9 – 10 cm), with a striking presence.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on milkweed. As adults, the nectar of different flowers is their preference.
  • Reproduction: Each female lays hundreds of eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves.
  • Lifespan: Varies between 2 weeks to 8 months, depending on the generation.
  • Host Plants: Milkweed is both their food source and nesting site.

Seeing a Monarch flutter about in Georgia is truly a delight. Packed with biodiversity, the state provides an ideal habitat for these fluttering beauties to flourish.

Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)

Being the home of many species, Georgia boasts a wide variety of butterflies. Among them is the elusive Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton).

This creature is dedicatedly sought after by butterfly enthusiasts due to its striking features and distinct behavior.

Tawny Emperor butterfly

  • Habitat: Commonly found in wooded areas, particularly along streams.
  • Appearance: Tawny Emperors have large, tawny-orange wings with brown edges and dark brown marks.
  • Size: Their wingspan usually falls between 2.5 to 3 inches (6.35 to 7.62 cm).
  • Diet: Unlike many butterflies, Tawny Emperors are known to not feed on flower nectar, but tree sap and rotting fruit.
  • Reproduction: Females lay groups of eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult Tawny Emperors typically live about two weeks during the summer months.
  • Host Plants: Tawny Emperors usually rely on hackberry trees, hence they are also known as the Hackberry Butterfly.

This butterfly species adds a burst of color to Georgia’s forests, making them even more enchanting.

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)

The Hackberry Emperor is one of the unique butterfly species found in Georgia.

Hackberry Emperor butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies are commonly found in riparian corridors and near hackberry trees, which are their primary host.
  • Appearance: The Hackberry Emperor is brown with eye-catching patterns and a crisp, white margin on the wings.
  • Size: Adults usually measure about 2-2.5 inches (50-64mm) in width.
  • Diet: Their menu consists of tree sap, rotten fruit, dung, and occasionally nectar from flowers like Thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay greenish-white eggs on the leaves of hackberry trees, usually in May.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan of Hackberry Emperors is around two weeks as butterflies.
  • Host Plants: They have a signature bond with hackberry trees, hence the name. Caterpillars feed exclusively on these trees.

This species, despite not being as flashy as others, is truly fascinating due to its unique behaviour of feeding on non-floral resources.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Let’s delve into the characteristics of the American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), a distinct species found in Georgia.

American Lady butterfly

  • Habitat: Prolific in a variety of environments, it is commonly found in meadows, gardens, and disturbed areas.
  • Appearance: Sporting a lively orange color, the wing margins are dusted with black and white spots.
  • Size: Generally, it spans 1.75 to 2.6 inches (4.5 to 6.5 cm), appealing risk takers seeking a challenge.
  • Diet: Favors nectars from composites including aster, goldenrod, and more.
  • Reproduction: The gravid females lay their rib-studded, barrel-shaped eggs on host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult lifespan is about two weeks in the wild, and up to a striking 10 months in a protected environment.
  • Host Plants: Blends well with wormwood, cudweed, pearly everlasting, and certain other composites, hinting at how interconnected life can be.

Remarkably, these butterflies are known for their migratory patterns, travelling south for the winter, much like birds. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

The Question Mark butterfly is a fascinating creature to encounter. It’s a member of the Nymphalidae family, native to North America including the beautiful state of Georgia.

Question Mark butterfly

  • Habitat: This butterfly frequents open woods, gardens, parks, and edges of forests. Their habitat preference is quite versatile which allows them to adapt to urban areas easily.
  • Appearance: This species is uniquely distinguished by its wings with an orange and brown hue that feature an iconic silvery mark resembling a question mark.
  • Size: They are fairly large in size, with a wingspan ranging from 2.25 to 3 inches (5.72 to 7.62 cm).
  • Diet: Adults enjoy a variety of nectar from flowers, but they are also attracted to rotting fruit and tree sap.
  • Reproduction: The female lays the eggs singly on host plants. They have two broods per year in the northern range and three to four in the south.
  • Lifespan: Adult Question Mark butterflies can live up to a couple of weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of plants, most commonly on the American elm, red elm, and hackberry. These plants play a significant role in their lifecycle.

Cabbage Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Take a moment to appreciate the Cabbage Butterfly, formally known as Pieris rapae. No matter the garden, these butterflies are ubiquitous in Georgia.

Cabbage White butterfly

Here are some fascinating points about these creatures:

  • Habitat: They usually dwell in open meadows, cultivated fields, and gardens.
  • Appearance: These butterflies are noticeable due to their white or pale yellow color adorned with black dots on the wings.
  • Size: They’re among the petite butterfly species, with a wingspan of about 2 inches (5 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Cabbage Butterflies feast primarily on flower nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay tiny, yellow eggs singularly or in small clusters on the underside of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for about a fortnight, while the entire lifecycle spans around one month.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae prefer to consume plants in the mustard family, including cabbage and kale.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

In the lush vegetation of Georgia, you’ll likely encounter the fascinating Pipevine Swallowtail.

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies inhabit various regions such as forests, meadows, or even your backyard.
  • Appearance: They sport a stunning black and iridescent blue coloration, making them a sight to behold.
  • Size: Widely diverse, they can reach a span of 7-13 cm (2.8-5.1 in).
  • Diet: Adult Pipevine Swallowtails primarily feed on nectar from different flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on leaves, which turn into caterpillars after two weeks.
  • Lifespan: Surprisingly, these beauties live up to one month in the wild.
  • Host Plants: Here’s a key relationship: Pipevine Swallowtails rely on the Pipevine plant for reproduction, acquiring a toxic defense mechanism from it as a bonus.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

The Silver-spotted Skipper is an intriguing butterfly species. It’s unique for its silver-white spots and distinctive, quick flight patterns.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll commonly find them in open woods and gardens. This species is highly adaptable, capable of thriving in various environments.
  • Appearance: They sport a brown hue with intriguing silver-white spots on the lower sides of their hind wings.
  • Size: Silver-spotted Skippers grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in wingspan. Quite sizeable, indeed, for a butterfly!
  • Diet: They’re known to enjoy a rich diet of flowers nectar and, interestingly, bird droppings.
  • Reproduction: Females lay a single egg on the host’s plant, leading to a solitary lifestyle for the caterpillar.
  • Lifespan: Adults have an average lifespan of around 20-30 days. Not long, but they make the most of it!
  • Host Plants: Legume plants, such as locust and wisteria, are their prime choice. These provide ample nourishment for the upcoming larvae.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

A graceful flyer, the Zebra Swallowtail is an emblem of freedom and beauty. With their unique striping, they’re a sight to behold in Georgia’s forests.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly

Let’s delve into the details of this fascinating species:

  • Habitat: They flourish alongside water bodies like streams and rivers with pawpaw trees (Asimina).
  • Appearance: A black and white striped pattern dominates their wings with red and blue spots at the tail, rendering them their distinctive look.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) they’re medium-sized butterflies.
  • Diet: Primarily nectar feeders, they’re attracted to a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on pawpaw leaves, chosen as caterpillar sustenance on hatching.
  • Lifespan: They live for around 6 months as adults.
  • Host Plants: The larvae’s sole food is the leaf of the pawpaw tree, making these trees vital for their existence.

Isn’t it fascinating how interconnected our ecosystems are?

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)

Discover the Aphrodite Fritillary, a stunning butterfly native to Georgia.

Aphrodite Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: It thrives in fields, meadows, and open forest areas, preferring sunny habitats.
  • Appearance: Its upper wings are orange, peppered with black spots. The underwing is typical of Fritillaries, with an intricate network of silvery scales.
  • Size: This butterfly has a wingspan of about 2.5-3.5 inches (6.3-8.9 cm), making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: As an adult, it tends to feed on flower nectar, favouring thistle and milkweed. The caterpillars feed on violets.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs close to violets, which will act as a food source for the hatched caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Adult Aphrodite Fritillaries have a life span of around one month.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plant for this species is the violet, specifically the genus Viola.

The Aphrodite Fritillary contributes to Georgia’s dynamic ecosystem while adding a splash of colour.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The Painted Lady butterfly, also known as Vanessa cardui, is a familiar sight throughout Georgia.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: This species is a great traveller and found in various habitats including gardens, roadsides, and meadows.
  • Appearance: Vanessa cardui boasts an impressive palette of orange and black patterns on the upper side of the wings, and has a peculiarly mottled underside reminiscent of a mosaic.
  • Size: Adult Painted Ladies register an average wingspan of 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) wide.
  • Diet: As adults, they favor nectar from flowers, while caterpillars feed mostly on thistle and other plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on host plants, from which caterpillars emerge.
  • Lifespan: Typically, each generation lasts from 6-8 weeks so various generations can be observed throughout the year.
  • Host Plants: They primarily prefer thistles (Asteraceae family), mallows (Malvaceae), and plants from the legume family (Fabaceae).

Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)

The Juvenal’s Duskywing is a commonly found butterfly species in Georgia.

108/366 Juvenal's Duskywing - Erynnis juvenalis, Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, Aden, Virginia

  • Habitat: It considers woodlands and open fields as its home. You can often spot them near oaks, their favored host plants.
  • Appearance: Ranging from dark brown to black, they have distinguishing white spots on their forewings. The female’s wing fringes are checkered.
  • Size: These butterflies typically have a wingspan of 1.5-2.25 inches (3.8-5.7 cm).
  • Diet: Their dietary routine revolves around nectar from flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the leaves of host plants where the caterpillar takes shelter and feeds.
  • Lifespan: Their lifecycle includes four stages- egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult lifespan is about 1 month.
  • Host Plants: Oak trees are their preferred host plants, which the larvae feed on post-hatching.

These strong flyers are a delight to watch when observed closely. Their earthy-toned wings elegantly blend with the plant-green backdrop.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

The Giant Swallowtail is a highlight of Georgia’s rich butterfly population.

giant swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Predominantly, you can find this species in gardens and deciduous forests. They seem to prefer citrus trees and other plants that produce appealing nectar.
  • Appearance: The butterfly has yellow and black stripes across its wings, and with its unique dotted tail, it’s easy to identify.
  • Size: With a wingspan of about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm), the Giant Swallowtail is considered the largest butterfly in North America.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a range of flowers, while caterpillars feast on the leaves of citrus trees.
  • Reproduction: Giant Swallowtails produce two generations annually in Georgia; the first in late spring and the second in late summer.
  • Lifespan: Expect the adult butterfly to live for about a month.
  • Host Plants: This species uses citrus trees like wild lime and rue as host plants. Their caterpillars have a unique defense mechanism, resembling bird droppings to ward off predators.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The Common Buckeye, scientifically known as Junonia coenia, is one of the most distinctive butterfly species you’ll come across in Georgia.

Common Buckeye butterfly

Here’s a breakdown of its key characteristics:

  • Habitat: Common Buckeyes thrive in sunny, open areas. They are found in woods, meadows, fields, gardens, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: Their wing patterns are truly stunning, comprising of eye-catching circles in unique hues. The upper side of the wings is brown while the underside has a brown or tan color.
  • Size: They’re relatively large, with wingspans ranging from 2 to 2.8 inches (5.1 to 7.1 cm).
  • Diet: Caterpillars feed mainly on plants like plantain and snapdragon. Adult butterflies prefer nectar from varieties of flowers.
  • Reproduction: They reproduce throughout the year in warm climates, laying green, hemispherical eggs.
  • Lifespan: Adult Buckeyes typically live for about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on Buddleia, Aster, and other plants, while the adults feed on nectar, courtesy of plants like the buttonbush and dogbane.

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

The Common Checkered-Skipper, scientifically known as Pyrgus communis, is a fascinating butterfly species.

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Here are some quick facts:

  • Habitat: You’ll commonly find them in open, sunny fields and disturbed areas. They’re content in urban environments, too with lawns and roadsides being favored spots.
  • Appearance: As the name suggests, they boast a checkered pattern combining dark brown and white squares on their forewings and hindwings.
  • Size: They’re small butterflies, averaging in the size range of 1.0 to 1.3 inches (2.5 to 3.3 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies savor the nectar from flowers, while caterpillars munch on enumerated host plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants, which become the food source for the hatching caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan typically spans a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Primarily they imbibe from plants of the Malvaeceae family, such as hollyhocks and mallows. Plant these in your backyard, and you’ll be likely to attract a flutter of Checkered Skippers.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

The Gulf Fritillary is a captivating inhabitant of Georgia, renowned for its bright and fiery orange wings.

This butterfly is a real sight to behold, easily spotted due to its flamboyant color and distinct pattern.

gulf fritillary

Here are some noteworthy facts about Gulf Fritillary:

  • Habitat: These butterflies are commonly found in open, sunny areas. They prefer a variety of habitats including grasslands, suburbs, and fields.
  • Appearance: The upper side of their wings boasts a stunning bright orange, adorned with black spots. The underside, is patterned with white and brown.
  • Size: Wingspan typically ranges between 2.4 to 3.7 inches (60-95mm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on the nectar of flowers like Lantana, while the caterpillars feed on passion vines.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants, usually on passion vines.
  • Lifespan: The butterfly stage lasts for about 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Passion vines are the primary food source at the caterpillar stage.

These captivating insects can truly enrich any nature lover’s encounter with the wildlife of Georgia.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a striking butterfly species that you can spot in Georgia. It showcases distinctive charm through its varying color tones.

red admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: Red Admirals are adaptable, residing in various environments from mountains, forests, to even parks and backyards.
  • Appearance: They sports attractive, contrasting colors; black wings with red-orange bands and white spots.
  • Size: This medium-sized butterfly measures between 1.75 to 2.5 inches (4.5-6.3cm) across their wings.
  • Diet: Their diet consists of nectar from various flowers. Rotting fruit and tree sap also attracts them.
  • Reproduction: Females lay greenish, small eggs on leaf tops. The caterpillar feeds on the leaves before turning into a chrysalis.
  • Lifespan: The Red Admiral’s life expectancy ranges from 6 months to a full year on average.
  • Host Plants: They favor stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and sometimes false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) as host plants.

Remember, the beauty of these creatures resides not just in their appearance, but also in their resilience and adaptability. Keep an eye out for the majestic Red Admiral in Georgia!

Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

The Dainty Sulphur, scientifically named Nathalis iole, is an appealing butterfly species. Their characteristics and way of living are specific and fascinating.

Dainty Sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: Dainty Sulphurs are prevalent in open, sunlit areas. They prefer sandy soils, waste places, along highways, or in neglected gardens.
  • Appearance: They display a vibrant yellow color. The upper side of male wings is bright yellow, while females have paler wings.
  • Size: This butterfly species is indeed dainty, as its wingspan can reach only up to 1 inch (or roughly 2.54 centimeters).
  • Diet: Their primary food source is nectar from flowers. It also includes the Aster family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the leaves or flower buds of their favorite plants.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan varies depending on various conditions, but it is usually a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Host plants for Dainty Sulphur are usually from the family Asteraceae, primarily including genus Chrysopsis.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

The Black Swallowtail, or Papilio polyxenes, is an elegant species.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

Let’s explore more about it.

  • Habitat: You’ll find Black Swallowtails in various areas of Georgia, including meadows and fields.
  • Appearance: They sport black wings with yellow dots around the border. Males have a bold yellow line, while females showcase a blue shadow on the lower wing.
  • Size: Their wing span ranges from 3.1-4.3 inches (8-11 centimeters).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feast on green leaves whereas adult butterflies feed on nectar from a wide range of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay tiny cream-colored eggs on plants. These hatch into green caterpillars with black and yellow bands.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a short life of about 10-12 days. The whole life cycle takes around 30-40 days.
  • Host Plants: Dill, parsley, and carrot are some of their preferred host plants in Georgia. Remember, their choice of plant depends on its availability. They are also known to use fennel and rue.

Quite impressive, isn’t it? Now, let’s move on to the next species.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a captivating species, commonly spotted in Georgia.

eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Mostly, they’re seen in forests, roadsides, or near bodies of water.
  • Appearance: It boasts yellow/black striped upper wings and blue/orange spots on the lower wings.
  • Size: These butterfly’s wingspans can range from 3 to 5.5 inches (7.6 to 14 cm).
  • Diet: Mostly feeds on nectar from plants like honeysuckle or wild cherry.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green-colored eggs on the top of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: About a month on average.
  • Host Plants: Most prefer plants from the Magnoliaceae family, or the Rose family.

Now that you’ve learned about the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, next up is another enchanting butterfly species from Georgia. Read on to discover its unique features.

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)

The Dreamy Duskywing is a fascinating member of the Skipper family. Its enchanting name mirrors its charming attributes.

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)

Let’s uncover more about this wonderful creature:

  • Habitat: It predominantly resides in forested areas, especially those with oak presence. However, they can also be found in parks and gardens.
  • Appearance: This butterfly species have a brown color, marked by darker blotches. The females possess a whitish spot near the forewing, further enhancing their beauty.
  • Size: A full-grown Dreamy Duskywing measures approximately 1.5 inches (around 38mm) in wing span.
  • Diet: As adults, these butterflies feed primarily on nectar, favoring flowers that grow in their habitats.
  • Reproduction: Adult females lay eggs on leaves of the host plants, which hatch to become caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan of this species is one year, with significant changes from caterpillar to butterfly within this period.
  • Host Plants: The Dreamy Duskywing caterpillar’s host plants are mainly the oak family. This relationship explains their preference for oak-laden habitats.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

The Viceroy butterfly is an enchanting creature, native to certain parts of Georgia.

Viceroy butterfly

  • Habitat: Typically, it thrives in wetlands or marshy areas where its host willows grow.
  • Appearance: The Viceroy flaunts an orange and black pattern similar to the Monarch butterfly as a defense mechanism against predators.
  • Size: Adult Viceroys have a wingspan of about 2.5 – 3 inches (6.3 – 7.6 cm).
  • Diet: These butterflies are not picky eaters; they feed on the nectar of many plant species.
  • Reproduction: Viceroy butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of poplar and willow trees.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan is around a month, although several generations are produced each year.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars munch predominantly on the leaves of willow and poplar trees.

Enjoy glimpsing them flutter by in Georgia’s wetlands, easily identifiable by their unique pattern and neutral diet.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

The Spicebush Swallowtail is a common butterfly species in Georgia.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

Here are some characteristics about this elusive creature:

  • Habitat: Prefers timbered wetlands and fields near water bodies.
  • Appearance: The Spicebush Swallowtail is unique with its dark, almost black wings featuring vibrant blue or green spots. In case of females, spots tend to be lighter and lesser in number.
  • Size: Generally reaches around a wingspan of 3-4 inches (approx. 8-10 cms).
  • Diet: Their larval stage mostly feed on spicebushes and sassafras trees, adult butterflies sip nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: After mating, females lay spherical and pale green eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan is short, typically less than a month.
  • Host Plants: Most favoured host plants include the spicebush, sassafras trees, and certain types of magnolias and lilacs.

Intriguing and beautiful, the Spicebush Swallowtail is a definite highlight of Georgia’s butterfly population.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

The Great Spangled Fritillary, also known as Speyeria cybele, is a fascinating butterfly species native to Georgia.

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly

Let’s get to know this enchanting insect a little better:

  • Habitat: It usually thrives in open, sunny spaces, like meadows and gardens.
  • Appearance: This butterfly boasts a gorgeous orange-brown hue with black spots on the upper side while the lower side features silver spots.
  • Size: They have an impressive wingspan of about 2.5 to 3.5 inches (about 6.4 to 8.9 cm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on violets. As adults, they sip nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the host plants in late summer.
  • Lifespan: Adults have a lifespan of about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Mainly, they use violet plants for laying eggs and for caterrails to feed on.

In the wild, these butterflies are a sight to behold as they dash from flower to flower, carrying out their role as diligent pollinators.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

Let’s now glance at the Red-spotted Purple, also known as Limenitis arthemis. Their captivating colors and beautiful patterns make them one of Georgia’s most attractive butterfly species.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer forest edges, meadows, and fields.
  • Appearance: They’ve got a unique dark base color, ornamented by bold red-orange spots and shimmering blue areas.
  • Size: Adult specimens typically attain wingspans of around 7-13 cm (2.76-5.12 inches), fascinating to watch in full flight.
  • Diet: Nectar from flowers chiefly forms their diet, but they also consume tree sap and rotting fruit.
  • Reproduction: During summer, females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants. Thereafter, a new generation graces Georgia.
  • Lifespan: Their life highlights a brief, yet rich lifespan of about one year.
  • Host Plants: Their butterfly stages mostly depend on deciduous trees like willows and poplars.

Indeed, the Red-spotted Purple is an exemplification of nature’s artwork. Their survival reminds us of the importance of environmental conservation.

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

The Eastern Comma is a unique butterfly species you’ll find in Georgia.

Eastern Comma butterfly

Let’s examine its fascinating characteristics:

  • Habitat: You’ll usually spot this butterfly in woodlands and along rivers.
  • Appearance: It boasts an impressive bright orange color with dark markings. A distinctive white “comma” mark graces the underside of its hind wings.
  • Size: The Eastern Comma spans roughly 4.5-6.4 cm (1.75-2.5 in), making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: It feeds on sap, rotten fruit, and occasionally nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green eggs singly on the host plants where the larvae feed.
  • Lifespan: After emerging from chrysalis, it lives roughly 2 months.
  • Host Plants: Its caterpillars favor elm, willow, and nettle for feeding.

The Eastern Comma adapts well to different conditions, a reason for its widespread presence in Georgia. Take note of these details, it’ll help you identify them easily during your butterfly-spotting adventure.

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

The Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) is a small, fascinating species of butterfly that calls Georgia its home. This species presents an enthralling study for any butterfly fanatic.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly

  • Habitat: Predominantly found in North, Central and South America, they have no trouble adapting to different environments in Georgia from meadows to urban gardens.
  • Appearance: True to its name, it has a grayish color and sports hairstreaks on the hind wings.
  • Size: A relatively small species, it has a wingspan of about 1 to 1.5 inches (25 to 38 millimeters).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from multiple plant species, favoring flowers over other food sources.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green-colored eggs on flowers buds and tend to reproduce throughout the year.
  • Lifespan: The Gray Hairstreak typically lives for a few weeks, or up to a month if conditions are favorable.
  • Host Plants: These butterflies lay eggs on a wide variety of plants; they are not typically picky about their host plant. Mostly they favoring beans, clover, and mallow.

Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonius)

The Zebra Heliconian, acknowledged as the state butterfly of Florida, comfortably resides throughout Georgia’s warm, humid habitats.

zebra longwing butterfly

  • Habitat: Predominantly found in subtropical environments like those found in south and central Georgia.
  • Appearance: This deceptively simple butterfly flaunts distinctive black and yellow stripe patterns adorning its wings, hence the moniker ‘Zebra’.
  • Size: Averaging in at 3.5 to 4 inches (8.9 to 10.2 centimeters).
  • Diet: Unlike several of its counterparts, the Zebra Heliconian sustains itself by eating pollen along with the common nectar supply.
  • Reproduction: After a swift mating dance, females lay eggs on the leaves of the Passion-vine, its host plant.
  • Lifespan: Remarkably, Zebra Heliconians have been noted to live up to 6 months, far surpassing the typical butterfly lifespan of a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Reliant on Passion-vines (Passiflora species), these form the primary source of nutrition for their larvae.


In conclusion, Georgia is home to a plethora of beautiful, diverse butterfly species, each with its own distinct characteristics.

Hopefully, this guide has given you a newfound appreciation of these incredible creatures.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences with these species in the comments below.

Butterflies   Updated: August 4, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *