20 Butterfly Species with Long Wings

Welcome to the enchanting world of butterflies! Today, you’ll be introduced to 20 butterfly species renowned for their long, fluttering wings.

We’ll dive into each species, exploring their unique traits and traits, hoping to spark your interest and admiration for these winged wonders.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Renowned for its striking orange, black, and white pattern, the Monarch butterfly belongs to the world’s longest winged species.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

  • Habitat: Monarchs are mostly found in North, Central, and South America but can also be seen in other parts of the world like India, Australia, and Southern Europe.
  • Appearance: Characterized by orange wings with black veins and edges marked with a white dot pattern.
  • Size: Monarchs measure 3.5-4 inches (8.9 – 10.2 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Their diet mostly consists of nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Female monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves, the only host plant for their caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan typically ranges from 2 weeks to 8 months, varying among generations.
  • Host Plants: Monarchs’ host plants are exclusively milkweed species, where females leave their eggs and caterpillars feed on.

Majestic and iconic, Monarchs’ annual migration covering thousands of miles is simply just one of their fascinating wonders.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Meet the Pipevine Swallowtail, a remarkable butterfly species.

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Recognized for its adaptability, it can be spotted in a range of environments, from forests to gardens.
  • Appearance: Primarily black, with eye-catching blue or green iridescent hind wings. It also has a unique row of orange spots lining the underside of its wings.
  • Size: With a wingspan varying between 2.5-3.5 inches (~6.35-8.89 cm), it is perfect for butterfly enthusiasts who prefer longer-winged species.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar of plants like thistle, teasel, and bergamot. The caterpillars, interestingly, only feed on pipevines.
  • Reproduction: Females lay clusters of eggs on the underside of pipevine leaves, which the caterpillars will eat upon hatching.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan is about 2-3 weeks, a time best spent fluttering around in all its glory.
  • Host Plants: The host plants are members of the vine family, Aristolochia, which includes pipevines and dutchman’s pipe.

This unique and beautiful insect is truly a wonder to behold and is an essential part of biodiversity.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

As its name suggests, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail indeed hails from eastern North America.

eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Here are some fascinating facts about this butterfly:

  • Habitat: Ranging from urban parks to forests, this species is versatile.
  • Appearance: Recognized by its yellow wings with black tiger-stripe markings.
  • Size: Impresses with its size, which can range from 3 to 5.5 inches (7.6 to 14 cm).
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on the nectar of various flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on host plants.
  • Lifespan: As an adult, it can live roughly 8-14 days.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants are trees within the Magnolia and Rose families.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail stands out due to its striking appearance and large size. It’s also adaptable, thriving in a range of habitats from woodlands to your backyard.

This butterfly species truly manifests the beauty and versatility of nature.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

The Black Swallowtail, scientifically known as Papilio polyxenes, is an intriguing species with lovely long wings.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll likely spot Black Swallowtails in open areas such as fields, gardens or meadows.
  • Appearance: Their captivating wings display a combination of black, yellow, and blue colors, sure to captivate your attention.
  • Size: Adults usually span about 3.1-3.9 inches (8-10 cm), showcasing their noteworthy large wings.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they are attracted to various plants. The adult butterflies feed on the nectar of plants like milkweed and thistles.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, which hatch into munching caterpillars after a few days.
  • Lifespan: From egg to adult, their lifecycle lasts about 6-8 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Black Swallowtails have a partiality for plants in the carrot family, such as Queen Anne’s Lace and fennel.

A marvelous specimen, the Black Swallowtail is an encounter worth experiencing.

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)

Zebra Longwing, the thrilling moniker of the species ‘Heliconius charithonia’, is one that’s sure to make you sit up and pay attention.

zebra longwing butterfly

Let’s have a closer look at the attributes of this exotic creature:

  • Habitat: Found mostly in Central and South America along with regions of Florida and Texas in the US – it’s as diverse as it is elegant in its geographical spread.
  • Appearance: True to its name, it has long, slender wings and its black stripes starkly contrast on a vivid yellow background.
  • Size: The wingspan ranges between 72-100mm – it’s a pretty sizeable butterfly!
  • Diet: Adult Zebra Longwings have a diet consisting of pollen and nectar while their caterpillar counterparts munch on passion vine leaves.
  • Reproduction: They lay small yellow eggs on the leaf-tips of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: Known for its longevity – with an extended life of about 6 months!
  • Host Plants: Their preferred plant is the Passion Vine – a plant as dramatic as the butterfly itself.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Dive deep into the fascinating world of the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes).

giant swallowtail butterfly

This butterfly species is captivating with its large, colourful wings:

  • Habitat: They inhabit gardens, forests, and citrus groves, in the warmer regions of the Americas.
  • Appearance: As their name suggests, their wings depict a vibrant mix of black and yellow with blue and red spots.
  • Size: A Giant Swallowtail’s wingspan is about 9-15 cm or 3.5-6 inches, making it one of the largest butterfly species in North America.
  • Diet: As adults, these butterflies consume nectar from many plant species.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single, round-shaped eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: From egg to butterfly, the lifespan varies from a few weeks to months depending on environmental conditions.
  • Host Plants: They most commonly use citrus plants, making them a pest in orange groves. But they also use other plant species like prickly ash and hop ash.

This butterfly’s grandeur truly encapsulates the beauty of nature.

Julia Butterfly (Dryas iulia)

The Julia Butterfly, also known as Dryas iulia, belongs to the diverse butterfly family, Nymphalidae.

Julia Heliconian butterfly

Here’s what you need to know about this striking species:

  • Habitat: They find their homes primarily in neotropical areas, from Florida, the subtropics, and the West Indies to South Texas and Brazil.
  • Appearance: Exhibiting vibrant orange coloring, they’re easily recognized. Males often appear brighter than females.
  • Size: Usually reaching 3 to 4 inches in wingspan, or approximately 7.5 to 10 centimeters.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies stick to nectar from flowers, while larvae feed on leaves of passion vines.
  • Reproduction: Females lay greenish eggs on tender shoots, which hatch after four to five days.
  • Lifespan: In the wild, they can live up to two weeks. Alternatively, in butterfly houses or similar conditions they can live up to six months.
  • Host Plants: Passion vines serve as host plants. Eggs and larvae depend on its leaves for survival.

The Julia Butterfly is a must-see for butterfly enthusiasts due to its radiant appearance and fascinating characteristics.

Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)

The Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly is a beauty to behold. Set and designed by nature, it’s an enchanting sight you’d never forget. Here’s why.

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll find them in the wetlands, swamps, and woodlands in the southeastern part of the United States.
  • Appearance: They boast a dark brown to black color scheme with tails and yellow stripes on their wings, rendering them a striking sight.
  • Size: These butterflies are larger than most, with a wingspan that ranges from 3.9 to 5.1 inches (9.9 to 13 cm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on the nectar of a wide variety of flowers including thistle, swamp milkweed, and sweet pepperbush.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs singly on the new growth of host plants.
  • Lifespan: They live for about a month in their adult stage.
  • Host Plants: They’re most partial to various species of plants in the Laurel family, especially the Red Bay.

Catch a glimpse of one and you’ll surely remember it forever.

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)

The Queen Butterfly, known scientifically as Danaus gilippus, is a spectacle to behold. Native to North and Central America, it’s also found in the West Indies and other warm regions.

Queen Butterfly

  • Habitat: Mainly found in warm, sunny, open clearings, it also frequents meadows, road edges, fields, and deserts.
  • Appearance: It boasts rich brown wings with black borders and distinctive white spots, setting it apart from similar species.
  • Size: Quite sizable, its wingspan ranges from 2.7 to 3.4 inches (6.8 to 8.6 cm).
  • Diet: The adult mainly feeds on nectar from flowers, while the caterpillar takes nutrition from the milkweed host plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the underside of host plant leaves, which transform into caterpillars after hatching.
  • Lifespan: On average, Queen Butterflies live for about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Milkweeds are primary host plants, including species like Asclepias incarnata, and Asclepias curassavica.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

Let’s delve into the intriguing life of a butterfly species known as the Red-spotted Purple.

This species flaunts an exquisite blend of deep blue hues dashed with red spots, thereby justifying its name.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly

Here’s a glimpse into the details:

  • Habitat: Primarily found in North American woodlands, often by streams.
  • Appearance: Exhibits deep azure wings intricately laced with dramatic red spots, and touches of white and black.
  • Size: Moderately large, the wingspan ranges about 3-3.5″ (7.6-8.9 cm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they are fond of chewing leaves, while adult butterflies enjoy nectar from a host of wildflowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs independently, usually on top of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for roughly two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Birch, poplar, willow, apple, and cherry trees.

Thus, the Red-spotted Purple is not merely a beautiful butterfly but also contributes significantly to the ecological balance.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Your garden might serve as a home for the fascinating Spicebush Swallowtail. It’s a native of North America with a remarkable black or blue coloring.

Its wings shimmer under sunlight, offering a spectacular sight.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Predominantly found in Eastern US and Southeast Canada. They favor deciduous forests, meadows, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Distinguished by its black body and blue or black wings featuring splashes of white and orange spots along the border.
  • Size: Ranging in size, this species has a wingspan between 3.5 – 4.5 in (9 – 11 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar, while caterpillars munch on spicebush and sassafras tree leaves.
  • Reproduction: Spawning occurs yearly when females lay their eggs on the underside of their favorite dietary plants.
  • Lifespan: A brief life span, adult butterflies enjoy 2 – 3 weeks of life.
  • Host Plants: The Spicebush Swallowtail larvae primarily feed on spicebush and sassafras trees.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The Painted Lady is widely distributed across many geographic regions.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: They are found in varied habitats such as gardens, meadows and open landscapes. Their adaptability allows them to survive almost anywhere.
  • Appearance: This species has orange-brown wings with black and white spots on the tips. The undersides display a complex pattern of gray, brown and white.
  • Size: Their wing span ranges from 2 to 2.9 inches (5 to 7.3 centimeters), making them medium-sized butterflies.
  • Diet: As adults, they feed mostly on nectar from various flowers. On the other hand, caterpillars consume a diversity of host plants.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies are capable of laying hundreds of eggs on the leaves of their host plants.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan ranges from 2 weeks to a month.
  • Host Plants: More than 100 host plants have been noted, but favorites include Thistles, Hollyhocks and Mallows.

This butterfly’s migratory behavior has led to its wide dissemination, making it a truly cosmopolitan species!

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Mourning Cloak is a distinctive butterfly species renowned for its noticeable long wings.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

  • Habitat: Preferred areas are usually in North America and Eurasia. They thrive in wooded areas, parks, and gardens.
  • Appearance: They display a striking presence with dark brown wings, typically edged with a vivid yellow-orange band and bordered with blue spots.
  • Size: The wingspan can range from 2.25 to 4 inches (5.7 to 10.1 cm), which is significantly large compared to other species.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, they munch on the foliage from trees such as willow, elm, and poplar. As adults, they prefer tree sap, rotting fruit or even dung.
  • Reproduction: Females lay round, cream-colored eggs on host trees. These later evolve into spiky black caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Exceptionally, Mourning Cloaks enjoy a lengthy life and can survive up to a full year.
  • Host Plants: Willow, poplar, and hackberry trees are among their favorites. This vegetation is essential for the caterpillars’ growth and development.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The Common Buckeye, scientifically known as Junonia coenia, is indeed a fascinating species to behold. It’s recognized by its striking pattern and long wings.

Common Buckeye butterfly

  • Habitat: Common Buckeyes are found in every U.S. state. They prefer hot, dry, open areas like fields, gardens, and roadsides. However, they are quite adaptable and can make different environments their home.
  • Appearance: Its long wings display a vibrant color pattern. The top side has alternating bands of white and orange, with prominent eye-like spots on each wing.
  • Size: Generally, its wingspan measures around 2 to 2.8 inches (5 to 7 centimeters).
  • Diet: The Common Buckeye feeds on nectar from various flowers, sap, and even the dung of other animals.
  • Reproduction: They lay eggs singly on host plants. The caterpillars then feed on these plants after hatching.
  • Lifespan: Adult Common Buckeyes can live for about two weeks, depending on environmental factors.
  • Host Plants: They prefer to lay their eggs on a variety of plant species, including snapdragon, ruellia, and plantain.

Now isn’t that captivating? The intricate world of the Common Buckeye expresses nature’s beautiful variety.

Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)

The Great Southern White is a spectacular species flaunting long, elegant wings.

Great Southern White butterfly

  • Habitat: Predominantly seen across the southern United States, Central America, and Northern regions of South America.
  • Appearance: They possess stark white wings with a hint of blue at the edges. Females boast beautiful black spots on their wings.
  • Size: These butterflies range between 2.5 to 3.5 inches (approximately 6.35 to 8.9 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Adults feed primarily on nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. Each egg is approximately 1mm in size.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for roughly one month, during which they reproduce and feed.
  • Host Plants: The larvae, or caterpillars, feed on a variety of mustard plants, with sea rocket and shepherd’s needle being the preferred choices.

The Great Southern White is indeed an extraordinary butterfly. Its long wings and habitat adaptability make it a species worth exploring.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Gulf Fritillaries are captivating species to behold. With wings that span 3-3.5 inches, or around 7.5-9 centimeters, these fluttering wonders make their stunning presence felt.

gulf fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: You are most likely to find them in various parts of the Americas. They thrive in open, sunny habitats.
  • Appearance: The adults feature a bright orange color splashed with black spots. Meanwhile, their undersides boast a stunning array of silvery-white spots.
  • Size: The wingspan falls between 3-3.5 inches (approximately 7.5-9 centimeters).
  • Diet: Adult Gulf Fritillaries feed on a variety of flowering plants. Lantana is their go-to nectar plant!
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves and stems of some plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which turn into beautiful butterflies.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies live up to three weeks in the wild.
  • Host Plants: Passion vines serve as the preferred host plant for the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. They feed on these vines voraciously until they’re ready to morph into butterflies.

To sum up, the Gulf Fritillary is truly an eye-catching and lively butterfly!

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a delightful butterfly species that graces gardens and meadows with its gorgeous and distinctive wing patterns.

red-admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: Red Admirals are versatile, flourishing in diverse environments such as meadows, gardens, woodlands, and even seaside beaches.
  • Appearance: These butterflies are distinct, endowed with black wings that showcase bold red bands and white spots.
  • Size: Their wingspan can spread between 1.75 and 3 inches (4.5–7.6 cm), easily setting them apart from others in the butterfly domain.
  • Diet: They have a peculiar sweet tooth and enjoy nectar from flowering plants as well as saps and fermenting fruit.
  • Reproduction: The female lays greenish-yellow eggs on nettle plants, which hatch in a week.
  • Lifespan: Their lifecycle covers one year, though the adults live for only a month.
  • Host Plants: They prefer the stinging nettles, where they lay eggs and the caterpillars feed before cocooning.

In conclusion, the Red Admiral Butterfly is a true spectacle, providing nature lovers with an unforgettable visual feast.

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)

The White Admiral, scientifically named Limenitis arthemis, is a picture-perfect representation of the butterfly species with long wings.

Its overall aesthetic is fascinating and is sure to catch your attention.

White Admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: Indigenous to North America, specifically in the deciduous forest of Canada and the northern United States.
  • Appearance: Characterized by its striking contrast of white bands across black wings. The underside is covered with a pattern of white and gray.
  • Size: Larger than most butterfly species, this butterfly can have a wingspan of approximately 4 inches, nearly 10.16 cm.
  • Diet: Adult White Admirals sip the nectar of a variety of flower species and also enjoy tree sap, rotten fruit, and dung.
  • Reproduction: The butterfly reproduction cycle follows egg, caterpillar, pupa, and adult stages.
  • Lifespan: Adults generally live for around 2 weeks in the wild.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of plants, but its preferred hosts are trees in the willow family.

This species’ beautiful appearance and long wingspan truly singles it out in the butterfly kingdom.

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

The Comma Butterfly is a fascinating creature, worthy of your attention.

Comma Butterfly

  • Habitat: It’s native to Europe and North Asia, but has also been found in North America.
  • Appearance: This butterfly is known for its scalloped edges and the white comma-shaped spot on its underwings.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 45 to 64 millimeters, roughly 1.77 to 2.52 inches, it’s an impressive sight.
  • Diet: A feast to the Comma Butterfly consists mainly of nectar from flowering plants like buddleia.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs singly; they then hatch to feed on nettles or hops.
  • Lifespan: This species typically has two broods each year, living for about two months.
  • Host Plants: In their larval stage, these butterflies use stinging nettle, hops, and elm as host plants.

Learn more about these butterflies, it’s truly a delightful experience.

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

The Anise Swallowtail is a captivating species with a rich history steeped in its native regions.

anise swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: It thrives in open fields, suburbs, and valleys, stretching from Britain all the way to Japan.
  • Appearance: This butterfly initially shares a dark brown and black color pattern, but as an adult, its upper wings flash yellow with black stripes.
  • Size: The Anise Swallowtail is a medium-size butterfly, with an average wingspan between 2.5 to 3.7 inches (6.4 to 9.5 cm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they have an appetite for umbrella flowering plants while adults savor the nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Mating takes place in spring, and females lay their eggs on suitable host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult Anise Swallowtail lives for around 6 to 14 days, fulfilling its life cycle.
  • Host Plants: The larvae favor umbelliferous plants, such as Anise, Fennel, Citrus, Parsley, and Carrot.

This species captivates nature lovers not only with its beauty but also with its significant contribution to maintaining biodiversity.


We’ve explored twenty butterfly species, all remarkable for their long wings. We hope you’ve been inspired by their intricate designs and bright colors. Feel free to leave a comment about which butterfly species intrigued you the most.

Butterflies   Updated: July 5, 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.

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