30 Butterfly Species in Maine

Let us embark on a journey to discover the remarkable diversity of butterfly species found in Maine.

We’ll delve into details of 30 fascinating species, exploring features, behaviors, and unique traits.

Get ready to plunge into the world of butterflies, learning something new and enlightening at every turn.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

The Spring Azure butterfly is a delightful sight in the Maine landscape.

Spring Azure butterfly

Let’s delve into some fascinating facts about this tiny wonder:

  • Habitat: Typically found in open fields, meadows and along the edges of deciduous forests, they love sunny locales.
  • Appearance: They sport a beautiful shade of blue on the topsides of their wings, which closes to a near camouflaged gray when resting.
  • Size: They’re petite and lightweight, spanning approximately around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm).
  • Diet: The Spring Azure dines on flower nectar, favoring dogbane, milkweed and daisies.
  • Reproduction: A female Azure lays her eggs in spring and early summer, choosing flowers instead of leaves as many butterflies do.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies’ lives are short and sweet, roughly totaling about one week.
  • Host Plants: Their favored host plants include various species of Dogwood, New Jersey Tea, and Meadowsweet.

Isn’t the Spring Azure truly fascinating? Now, let’s move into studying another majestic species!

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Meet the Giant Swallowtail, the largest swallowtail butterfly in Maine.

giant swallowtail butterfly


Let’s delve into its captivating details:

  • Habitat: You can spot these in deciduous forests, riverbanks, and suburbs.
  • Appearance: This species boasts black-brown wings adorned with yellow spots.
  • Size: From wingtip to wingtip, they’re typically 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm), quite large for a butterfly.
  • Diet: Adults feed on nectar from a variety of flowers. Caterpillars munch on citrus plants.
  • Reproduction: Each female lay their eggs singly on host plant leaves ensuring ample food for hatching caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for about a month, while the entire lifecycle spans about 6-7 weeks.
  • Host Plants: They favor Rutaceae family citrus plants; think oranges and lemons.

Whenever you spot a Giant Swallowtail fluttering around your citrus trees, know that it’s just found its perfect home.

Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)

Belonging to the gossamer-winged butterfly family, the Silvery Blue is a striking sight.

Silvery Blue butterfly

Here are some of its characteristics:

  • Habitat: Found crawling through open woods and meadows, this species has a penchant for sunny areas. They range from Maine to North Carolina, west to California and up to Alaska.
  • Appearance: Characteristic sky-blue wings with white fringe cater to its name, whereas females display more of a gray-brown hue.
  • Size: Ranging from 1 to 1.4 inches (2.5 to 3.5 cm), it sits comfortably on your fingertip.
  • Diet: They feed on lupine, vetch, and alfalfa as larvae, while adults prefer nectar from flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: The females lay eggs on the flower buds of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: Typical lifespan is from early spring through midsummer.
  • Host Plants: This species typically uses legumes as their host plants, including species of lupine, vetch, and fodder.

Small yet striking, the Silvery Blue is a beautiful example of Maine’s rich butterfly diversity.

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)

“Dreamy Duskywing” is a charming name for an equally endearing species. This butterfly exemplifies the beauty of wildlife that you can witness in Maine.

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)

  • Habitat: This agile butterfly makes its home mostly in wooded areas such as mixed hardwood forests.
  • Appearance: It’s easily recognizable with its dark brown shades on the upper wing surface, spotted with faint white dust-like patterns.
  • Size: The wing span typically ranges between 3.2-5.6 cm (1.25-2.2 inches)—a little marvel in the palm of your hand.
  • Diet: As adults, they mainly survive on nectar, favoring flowers like violets and dandelions.
  • Reproduction: Female Dreamy Duskywing lays her small, pale green eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: The typical lifespan of this butterfly ranges from 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: This butterfly prefers oak and willow trees, which provide ample sustenance during their larval stage. Masters of camouflage, the caterpillars blend in perfectly with the leaves.

If you’re lucky to spot one, take a moment to appreciate the wonder of this little creature. There’s a lot to learn from their dreamy journey through life.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

The American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) is a remarkable butterfly species native to Maine and one of its most colorful inhabitants.

American Lady butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies prefer open, sunny areas like meadows, parks, and gardens.
  • Appearance: It marvels with an orange and black pattern on its wings. Additionally, two large eyespots on the ventral side give it a distinctive look.
  • Size: Generally, the wingspan of this species ranges between 2 to 2.75 inches (5-7 cm).
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from flowers, while the caterpillars enjoy munching on plants from the Aster family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the host plant, attaching them to the underside of leaves.
  • Lifespan: Typically, the American Lady lives for around two weeks in its adult form.
  • Host Plants: Often, you could find their larvae on plant species like pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), and various species of Aster.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Let’s explore the beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail. These amazing butterflies can be also found in Maine.

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Often, they’re seen in moist forests, fields or urban parks.
  • Appearance: Sporting an iridescent blue or green upper side, their lower wings carry an interesting row of seven round orange spots.
  • Size: This butterfly is large, with a wingspan reaching up to 3.5 to 5 inches (8.9 to 12.7 cm).
  • Diet: As adults, Pipevine Swallowtails feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underside of the host pipevine plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: In the wild, their lifespan is short, typically only 2 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The pipevine plant, along with wild cherry and poplar trees, serve as hosts for these butterflies.

Impressively, even with the short life cycle, these butterflies bring immense beauty to any environment in which they live.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

The Great Spangled Fritillary is among the 30 butterfly species you’ll find in Maine. An intriguing character with lively patterns, it’s a real sight to behold.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Let’s delve deeper into understanding this lovely creature:

  • Habitat: They are commonly found in open woods, fields, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Distinct orange-brown wings with black spots. On the underside, silver spots give them their name.
  • Size: Their wingspan measures approximately 2.5-4 inches (6.5-10 cm), a mid-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed mostly on violets. Adult butterflies prefer nectar from flowers like milkweed and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs in the fall, and they hatch in the spring.
  • Lifespan: This species has a yearly life cycle.
  • Host Plants: Violets are the primary host plants for this species.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

The Monarch butterfly, a beloved and renowned creature, can be found fluttering throughout Maine.


  • Habitat: Monarchs are ubiquitous and can be found in open fields, meadows, and particularly enjoy milkweed plants.
  • Appearance: Monarchs are visually striking, with their orange and black patterned wings and white spots around the edges.
  • Size: With a wingspan reaching up to 4 inches (approximately 10 cm), the Monarch is one of the larger butterfly species.
  • Diet: Mainly, these butterflies feed on the nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Monarchs practice mass migration for reproduction. They travel thousands of miles to reach Mexico and Southern California for their winter hibernation.
  • Lifespan: A Monarch butterfly has a lifespan of approximately 6-8 weeks for those born in early summer. The generation born in late summer can live up to 8 months.
  • Host Plants: The Milkweed plant is the primary host for Monarch caterpillars where the females lay their eggs.

Their distinct beauty and interesting habits make them one of Maine’s most captivating butterfly species.

Grey Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

A beautiful sight is the Grey Hairstreak, a striking creature found across the US, including Maine. Although dainty in appearance, this butterfly species is robust and survives in different locales.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly

  • Habitat: Grey Hairstreaks are versatile creatures. They live in at various locales, including parks, yards, and forests.
  • Appearance: True to their name, they have grey wings. The wing undersides display a complex pattern of black and white, topped with a rich orange spot at the wing base.
  • Size: They are pretty small, only stretching 1.1 to 1.3 inches (27 – 34 mm) in wingspan
  • Diet: As adults, they prefer to feed on nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on flower buds of the host plant.
  • Lifespan: They go through four stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The average lifespan of an adult is about 7 days.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillar prefers to feed on a variety of plants such as cotton, corn, and beans.

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

The Question Mark butterfly, scientifically known as Polygonia interrogationis, is another captivating butterfly species you can find in Maine.

Question Mark butterfly

  • Habitat: This species is a widespread inhabitant of woodland edges and gardens.
  • Appearance: Distinguished with brown underwings marked with a white question mark outline, it has vibrant orange patterning on top with black speckles.
  • Size: The wingspan is quite extensive, ranging between 2.25 to 3 inches (57 to 76 mm).
  • Diet: Question Marks enjoy feeding on rotting fruit and tree sap, but they also savour nectar from flowers such as milkweed and aster.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the leaves of host plants in late spring.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan varies from 2 to 3 months, depending on their surroundings and predators.
  • Host Plants: Preferred host plants are elms, hackberry, nettles, and hops.

Keep an eye out for these fascinating creatures, both in your backyard and on woodland trails. Their unique question mark patterns make them easy to spot.

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)

The Aphrodite Fritillary is among the striking butterfly species native to Maine. Flourishing in habitats such as open woodlands and meadows, they are indeed a sight to behold.

Aphrodite Fritillary butterfly

Let’ s delve into its specific characteristics:

  • Habitat: Prefer open woodlands, meadows, fields, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Possess an attractive orange-brown upper side with black markings, while their lower side showcases silver spots.
  • Size: Exhibit a wingspan of 2.4-3.7 inches (57-92mm).
  • Diet: Mainly nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on or near violets and then leave them to their fate.
  • Lifespan: An adult Aphrodite Fritillary typically lives for around one month.
  • Host Plants: For the caterpillar stage, violets are their primary food source.

Though this species is widespread, their population is on a declining trajectory due to habitat loss. They are a joy to gaze at, so let’s work together to conserve their natural habitats.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The Painted Lady, or Vanessa Cardui, may be one of the most commonly seen butterflies in Maine.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: They inhabit almost everywhere on earth, with Maine included. They love both rural and urban environments, so you might spot them right in your backyard.
  • Appearance: These butterflies have distinct eye-catching, mosaic-like patterns on their wings. The upper wings are orange with black outlines, while the undersides bear soft grey and brown hues.
  • Size: These medium-sized creatures usually have a wingspan of 2-3 inches (about 5-7.5cm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on nectar from various flower types, like thistles, asters, and borage.
  • Reproduction: Female Painted Ladies lay green eggs under host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: They live only for about two weeks, but their continual breeding allows them to thrive year-round.
  • Host Plants: Host plants for the larvae include thistles, mallows, legumes, and sunflowers.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

The Clouded Sulphur is one of the 30 butterfly species you may spot in Maine. Notably characterized by its lemon-yellow wings and petit size, it is surely a creature of beauty.

Clouded Sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: This butterfly inhabits open spaces such as meadows, gardens, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: Clouded Sulphurs have yellow to white wings with sharp, dark borders. Females often exhibit greenish marbling on their wings.
  • Size: It is a small butterfly with a wingspan ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm).
  • Diet: These creatures feed on flower nectar, favoring red clover, alfalfa, and aster.
  • Reproduction: Mating occurs in the afternoon, with females laying eggs on host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: The Clouded Sulphur’s life cycle lasts four weeks, from egg to adult.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillar stage feeds on clover, alfalfa, and other legumes.

Each sighting of a Clouded Sulphur is fleeting, making each encounter all the more special.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

The Spicebush Swallowtail is a sight to behold, sparking a sense of wonder in those lucky enough to spot it in Maine.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: It is commonly found in deciduous woodlands, gardens, and fields, where they can find their preferred host plants.
  • Appearance: Its dark wings have striking light blue spots, and the underside bears twin orange spots.
  • Size: This butterfly ranges from 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: The adults feed on nectar from wildflowers and the larvae on leaves from the spicebush and sassafras trees.
  • Reproduction: Females lay spherical, green eggs on the bottom of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: It has a short life of about a month in its butterfly form.
  • Host Plants: The spicebush and the sassafras trees are the plants on which the butterfly’s life cycle depends.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

The Viceroy is a common sight in Maine’s natural environments.


  • Habitat: Viceroys thrive in a range of areas – marshes, meadows, and deciduous forests are the most well-loved.
  • Appearance: With their vibrant orange wings and black veined patterns, they look similar to Monarchs.
  • Size: The Viceroy has a wingspan of 2.5 – 3.1 inches (6.35 – 7.85 cm), a size that contributes to its elegance.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, this butterfly feeds on the leaves of Poplars and Willows. As an adult, it shifts to nectar from flowers and dung.
  • Reproduction: Female Viceroys lay green-colored eggs on the tips of willow and poplar leaves every summer.
  • Lifespan: The lifecycle, from egg to adult, lasts 40-50 days. Adults survive for only two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Willows, poplars, and cottonwoods are favorite host plants for this butterfly. It’s a mutual benefit – the plants provide food and the butterflies aid in pollination.

Pink-edged Sulphur (Colias interior)

The Pink-edged Sulphur is a butterfly species, distinctive yet elusive due to their preference for specific locales.

Pink-edged Sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: They seek meadows, bogs, and fields in northern United States and Canada.
  • Appearance: Males are pale yellow, while females display a white color with a pink edge. Hence their delightful name.
  • Size: The wingspans cater to a range of 1.5 to 2 inches (38-51mm).
  • Diet: Adults sip nectar from plants like asters and blackberries.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the host plant. The caterpillars consume the leaves upon birth.
  • Lifespan: They live for about 1 year, enduring a single generation per year.
  • Host Plants: Larvae thrive on wild blueberries and other heath family plants.

The Pink-edged Sulphur is an enchanting species, from their unique color to their blueberry nourished caterpillars.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

The Black Swallowtail, a striking butterfly species, captivates with its aesthetic beauty and fascinating life cycle. This species is bursting with interesting characteristics, habits, and traits.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: The Black Swallowtail flourishes in various environments, from open fields and gardens to marshes and meadows.
  • Appearance: Fashioned with a black base, it boasts yellow spots along the wing’s edge and a blue median band towards the hind wings.
  • Size: These flyers range from 2.7-3.9 inches (6.8-10 cm) in wingspan, neither too imposing nor too modest in size.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they enjoy dill, fennel, and parsley. Adult butterflies sip nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: They lay their spherical, cream-colored eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Average life expectancy for adult butterflies is about two weeks, though much of their lifetime is spent in the caterpillar stage.
  • Host Plants: Favored plants include parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, and other members of the carrot family.

This species boasts a stunning presence while offering a vibrant contribution to the local ecosystem.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The Common Buckeye is a fascinating butterfly species frequently seen throughout Maine. This adaptable species can inhabit a wide range of environments.

However, it truly thrives in sunny, open areas such as fields and meadows.

Common Buckeye butterfly

  • Habitat: Open, sunny areas including fields and meadows.
  • Appearance: Their wings display intricate patterns of eye spots, which are thought to distract predators. Diverse in color, they sport warm earthy tones that turn into a deep brown and orange.
  • Size: They are moderate in size, with a wingspan of 1.4–2.8 inches (3.5-7 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Buckeye butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the buds of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult common buckeye’s live 7-10 days, while the other lifecycle stages take about a month.
  • Host Plants: They prefer plantain, snapdragons, and members of the snapdragon family for their caterpillars.

Such unique characteristics make the Common Buckeye a must-see butterfly in Maine.

Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)

Let’s turn our attention to the Silvery Checkerspot, Chlosyne nycteis, a whimsical creature that adds to the beauty of Maine’s wild lands.

Silvery Checkerspot butterfly

  • Habitat: Find the Silvery Checkerspot in open fields, especially where its host plants grow.
  • Appearance: The upperside is orangish with black spots, while the underwings are yellowish with silvery spots giving it its name.
  • Size: This little beauty has a wingspan of 1.3 to 2 inches (3.3 to 5 cm), ideal for petite petals.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies sip nectar from flowers such as milkweed and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in clusters on the underside of host leaves.
  • Lifespan: With a lifespan of a few weeks, their existence is ephemeral yet magical.
  • Host Plants: Sunflower species, especially narrow-leaved Sunflower, serve as food for caterpillars.

Whether it’s their silvery spots or their delight in sunflower nectar, there’s an undeniable charm about the Silvery Checkerspot.

Next time you’re in Maine’s open fields, keep an eye out for this stunning butterfly.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a striking butterfly species quite common in Maine.

red-admiral butterfly

Here’s what sets this beautiful creature apart:

  • Habitat: Found in a variety of landscapes, ranging from gardens and parks to forests.
  • Appearance: Characterized by its black wings, contrasted with red bands and white spots along the wing edges, offering a captivating view when in flight.
  • Size: With a wingspan ranging from 1.75-3 inches (4.45-7.62 cm), it’s easy to spot.
  • Diet: As an adult, it feeds on nectar from several types of flowering plants. The caterpillar primarily eats nettles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale-green eggs on nettles. The caterpillars hatch after about a week.
  • Lifespan: It generally lives up to 9 months. However, not all make it through the winter, depending on the harshness of the season.
  • Host Plants: The preferential host plants are stinging nettle and false nettle. The caterpillars form a shelter by folding the leaves of these plants where they can feed and grow safely.

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

The Pearl Crescent is a fascinating butterfly species found in Maine.

Pearl Crescent butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies are common in a variety of open habitats, including meadows, fields, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: With their vibrant orange and black patterned wings each intricately bordered by subtle pearly crescents, they are truly a sight to behold.
  • Size: Pearl Crescents are quite small. They have a wingspan of just 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 – 3.8 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Pearl Crescents mainly feed on the nectar of various flowers. Meanwhile, the caterpillars feed on members of the aster family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs individually on the host plant. These later hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The adults live for about a month. There are often several generations per year.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillar form uses various species of aster as host plants for growth.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of Maine’s most recognizable butterflies due to its captivating color.

eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is adaptable. It can thrive in different environments, from woodlands to urban areas.
  • Appearance: This butterfly sports distinctive yellow and black stripes, with four black “tiger stripes” on each of its wings.
  • Size: The butterfly measures an impressive 3 to 5.5 inches (7.5 to 14 cm), making it one of the largest butterfly species.
  • Diet: Adults feed primarily on nectar from flowers. The caterpillars prefer the leaves of various trees.
  • Reproduction: Females will lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars which morph into butterflies.
  • Lifespan: Typically, their life cycle spans several weeks. The overwintering generation, however, can live up to several months.
  • Host Plants: They favor various tree species, such as cherry, birch, and willow.

Cabbage Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

As you explore the many butterfly species in Maine, you’ll likely come across the commonly seen, Cabbage Butterfly.

Cabbage White butterfly

  • Habitat: In various environments, particularly where cabbages and other cruciferous plants are cultivated.
  • Appearance: Sporting white or pale yellow wings with delicate, black tips along the leading edge. The females have two black spots on each wing, while males have one.
  • Size: With an average wingspan of about 2 inches (5 cm), it is a small to medium-sized butterfly that is easy to spot.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, it feeds primarily on leaves of cabbage and related plants. As an adult, it feeds on nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay small, yellowish eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: With a lifespan ranging from one to two months, these inhabitants of Maine are relatively short-lived.
  • Host Plants: Cabbages, radishes, and other brassicas serve as hosts.

This butterfly species speaks volumes about the natural beauty tucked away in the landscapes of Maine.

American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

American Copper, a remarkable species, shines in the Maine flora.

American Copper butterfly

As a butterfly enthusiast, unravel the aspects of this delightful species:

  • Habitat: Favoring meadows, fields, and gardens, it often thrives in disturbed areas.
  • Appearance: This butterfly showcases an orange and black design, with the undersides of the wings beautifully patterned.
  • Size: An American Copper wingspan is relatively small, averaging around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm).
  • Diet: Adults are nectar feeders, while the larvae munch on the leaves of sorrel or dock.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on their host plant, where the larvae remain until pupation.
  • Lifespan: Although the lifespan is short, typically a few weeks, there are several generations each year.
  • Host Plants: It prefers plants like Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) and Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), which are its primary larval food source.

The American Copper truly is an emblem of nature’s artistic mastery.

Eastern Tailed Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed Blue is among the most common butterfly species in Maine.

Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly

Here’s a dive into details:

  • Habitat: It thrives in sunny, open areas. Meadows, old fields, path margins, and even roadsides are common homes.
  • Appearance: This butterfly sports a blue shade on top with a tinge of violet. Its females’ wings have a darker shade than the males.
  • Size: Eastern Tailed Blues are small, with a wingspan of 7/8 to 1 3/8 inches (22 to 35 mm).
  • Diet: Their diet consists of legume flower nectar and occasionally, aphid honeydew.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on host plants. These hatch into green larvae with black heads.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan of the Eastern Tailed Blue is around one month.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillars feast on a variety of plants, but particularly pea family plants (Fabaceae). They are quite interesting, to say the least!

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

The Silver-spotted Skipper is a significant butterfly species in the Maine region.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

  • Habitat: Its primary habitat is open areas such as fields or gardens where host plants grow in abundance.
  • Appearance: A striking tan color with a silvery spot in the center of its hind wings gives it its name.
  • Size: The average length of the Silver-spotted Skipper can range from 1.5 to 2 in (4-5 cm), making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: Depending on its stage of life, it feasts on nectar from various flowers or leaves of host plants.
  • Reproduction: Female skippers lay eggs on the host plants; upon hatching, the caterpillars consume the leaves.
  • Lifespan: The Silver-spotted Skipper has a short lifespan, typically living for approximately a month during summer.
  • Host Plants: Some of their preferred host plants include the Black Locust, Honey Locust, and False Indigo plants.

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)

The American Snout butterfly is an easily identifiable and unique species found in Maine.

American Snout butterfly

  • Habitat: They favor semi-arid, shrubby areas and open woodlands.
  • Appearance: This butterfly earns its name from the elongated mouthparts that resemble a snout. It has sleek and elongated wings that are brown with orange spots.
  • Size: This medium-sized butterfly ranges from 1.4 to 2 inches (35.5–50.8mm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Adult American Snout prefer nectar from wildflowers such as dogbane and aster.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on the leaves of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: Its average lifespan is up to two months in the wild.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars of this species feed on hackberry tree leaves as their primary food source.

In spite of their unique appearance, American Snouts are still not thoroughly studied, leaving much to understand and discover about this remarkable species.

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)

This is a butterfly species you might find fluttering around in Maine. The White Admiral has unique features that differentiate it from others.

White Admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: Fond of woodland habitats, they’ve been seen basking in the sun along forest paths.
  • Appearance: White Admiral has distinctive white bands on its black wings.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 2.4-4 inches (6-10 cm), they are among the larger butterflies you’ll encounter.
  • Diet: They feed on the nectar of small flowers like milkweed and Queen Anne’s lace.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on birch, willow, and poplar trees where the larvae feed on the leaves.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan for an adult White Admiral is about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Aspen, birch, and willow trees are known to host these butterflies.

This stunning creature is a pleasant sight to see during the region’s warm months.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

The Red-spotted Purple, an eye-catching butterfly, is another species native to Maine.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly

Now, to better acquaint you with them:

  • Habitat: Mostly they live in deciduous forests, fields, and meadows. Additionally, you may find them in urban parks.
  • Appearance: They showcase a beautiful pattern of blue scales, intermixed with red-orange spots and white markings.
  • Size: They boast an impressive wingspan of about 3 inches (around 7.5 cm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on overripe fruit, sap flows, and animal dung.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay single eggs on the upperside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Usually live for approximately one month as a butterfly.
  • Host Plants: Preferred plants are black cherry, cottonwood, and willow trees.

The Red-spotted Purple is a true testament to the variety and beauty of butterflies in Maine.

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

The Mourning Cloak, scientifically known as Nymphalis antiopa, is a stunning butterfly specimen that is found in various habitats in Maine.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

Now, let’s talk about its specific features:

  • Habitat: Large variations – from woodland edges to city parks.
  • Appearance: Dark brown wings with a yellow border, blue spots on the edge.
  • Size: Expanse of 2-4 inches (5-10 cm), ranking it among the larger butterflies.
  • Diet: Prefers tree sap, particularly oak. Also enjoys fruits and nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay masses of up to 200 eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: One of the longest-lived butterflies, up to 12 months.
  • Host Plants: Various trees such as willow, elm, and poplar.

This beautiful butterfly is easily recognized by its unique colors and large size. It is an enchanting presence in any Maine habitat, adding a touch of magic to the natural landscape.


In conclusion, Maine is abundantly blessed with a variety of beautiful and awe-inspiring butterflies.

By closely observing these creatures, you can gain a better appreciation for the natural world surrounding you.

Do you have any favorite butterfly species? Feel free to drop your comments below, we would love to hear from you.

Butterflies   Updated: August 8, 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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