30 Butterfly Species in New Hampshire

If you have a penchant for butterflies, New Hampshire is a place to see. The state is home to a myriad of fluttering beauties with around 30 species fluttering about.

The list ranges from the delicate Spring Azure to the majestic Monarch, painting a vibrant tapestry of biodiversity that fuels the state’s ecosystem.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

The Spring Azure is a charming species you’ll definitely come across in New Hampshire.

Spring Azure butterfly

On closer inspection:

  • Habitat: This butterfly species prefers open woodland and forest edges.
  • Appearance: Dressed in varying shades of blue, the insides of their wings are a mesmerizing sight.
  • Size: They span between 0.8 to 1.1 inches (2 to 2.8 cm), a bit smaller than a house key.
  • Diet: Adults feed on flower nectar, while caterpillars enjoy a variety of host plants.
  • Reproduction: In spring and summer, females lay eggs on host plants, giving rise to multiple generations per year.
  • Lifespan: Adults live approximately one week, while the entire life cycle lasts around a month.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on Flowering Dogwood, Meadowsweet, and Blueberry, among others.

This beautiful, tiny blue butterfly is a captivating sight in New Hampshire’s open woods and forest edges.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

The Clouded Sulphur is a widely known butterfly, marking New Hampshire with its beautiful display.

Clouded Sulphur butterfly

This butterfly species primarily thrives in:

  • Habitat: Open spaces such as fields, lawns, meadows, roadsides, and marshes.
  • Appearance: Yellow to white wings with sharp black edgings and small black spots. Males are primarily yellow, while females can be yellow or white.
  • Size: A medium-sized butterfly, wingspan ranges between 1.25 to 2 inches (3.2 to 5.1 cm).
  • Diet: Adults survive on nectar from various flowers, with clover being a favorite. Caterpillars feed on plants in the pea family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay singular, pale-green eggs on host plant leaves. The caterpillars emerge in about one week.
  • Lifespan: Adults live approximately 2 weeks, with multiple generations each year.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on a variety of leguminous plants such as alfalfa, clover, and pea plants.

Amazingly, the Clouded Sulphur’s numbers increase during different seasons, contributing to their widespread distribution in New Hampshire.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

The Giant Swallowtail is a fascinating butterfly species that you’ll encounter in New Hampshire.

giant swallowtail butterfly

Let’s explore some of its characteristics:

  • Habitat: Favors warm climates, typically seen in woodlands, gardens, orchards, parks, and tree-filled suburbs.
  • Appearance: Comes with a brownish-black color and a bold yellow horizontal band across wings.
  • Size: Boasts a wingspan of 4.8-5.5 inches (12-14 cm), making it one of the largest butterfly species.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily drink nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females deposit lime-green eggs singly onto leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult lifespan is about a month while the entire lifecycle lasts about 6-7 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae, named ‘orangedogs’ due to their orange and white markings, feast on citrus plants. Watch out, these caterpillars have a sneaky trick up their sleeve; they emit a foul smell when threatened!

Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)

The Compton Tortoiseshell is a fascinating butterfly you’ll find in New Hampshire. This butterfly isn’t as well-known as others, but its characteristics make it worth knowing.

Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly

  • Habitat: They frequent deciduous woodlands, often near water.
  • Appearance: Displaying a beautiful array of colors, they have orange-brown wings with a prominent blue spot surrounded by white and black on each corner.
  • Size: Falling in the medium to large category, their wingspan ranges from 2.5 to 3 inches (6.35 to 7.62 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies eat sap, rotting fruit and rarely flower nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in groups on the bark of host trees, which hatch in about 10 days.
  • Lifespan: The adults have a lifespan of up to 12 months, unusually long for a butterfly.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae enjoy feasting on Aspen, Poplar, and Willow trees.

Learning about the Compton Tortoiseshell can enrich your understanding of New Hampshire’s butterfly species.

Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)

The Atlantis Fritillary is a butterfly species that stands out with its distinct appearance in New Hampshire’s natural diversity.

Atlantis Fritillary butterfly

Typically, you’ll find them in places they love:

  • Habitat: Open forest regions with plenty of wildflowers and sunny spots are their preferred spaces.
  • Appearance: You can spot them by their orange-brown wings covered in silvery spots.
  • Size: Their average wingspan ranges between 2.3 to 3.5 inches (58 to 89 mm).
  • Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from flowers like thistles and milkweeds.
  • Reproduction: Females lay the eggs on or near violets, which the caterpillars eat upon hatching.
  • Lifespan: The adults live about a month after emerging from pupae.
  • Host Plants: Violet plants are essential, serving as the primary food source for their larvae.

So the next time you wander around New Hampshire’s wilds, keep an eye out for the Atlantis Fritillary. This butterfly is a unique specimen of nature’s variety in the region.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Recognized as one of the most widespread species, you can readily sight the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) in New Hampshire.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: Preferring open and disturbed environments, they can be found in fields, gardens, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: Characterized by orange-brown wings, black and white spots on their forewings, and five small spots circling larger one on the hindwing.
  • Size: With a wingspan of 2 to 2.9 inches (5 to 7.3 cm), they lie under medium-sized species.
  • Diet: As adults, they enjoy the nectar of various wildflowers, while thistle and mallow feed the caterpillars.
  • Reproduction: Females lay hundreds of tiny, pale green eggs on the upper side of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Average life span is 2 weeks in the wild, though some can overwinter and live up to 10 months.
  • Host Plants: Thistles, hollyhock and legumes are some of their favorite host plants.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

You might find the ‘Red-spotted Purple’, or Limenitis arthemis, fluttering around forests and fields. Its name derives from its unique coloring, which consists of a deep, iridescent blue with red spots on the wings.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly

  • Habitat: Found in woodlands, parks, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Dazzling blue with white bands and red spots on the wings.
  • Size: Adults sport a wingspan of 2.75-3.5 in (7-9 cm).
  • Diet: They feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, and dung. Occasionally, they sip nectar.
  • Reproduction: The female butterflies lay single green eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their life cycle, from egg to adult, lasts about one month. Adults live for a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: They use a variety, including willow, cottonwood, and aspen.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

The Monarch is one of the most familiar butterfly species in New Hampshire.

Monarch Butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies favor a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, and gardens. They can be frequently seen around milkweed patches, their host plant.
  • Appearance: Monarchs come with a distinctive orange and black wing pattern, bordered by white spots. Their striking colors advertise their toxicity to predators.
  • Size: Monarchs have an average wingspan about 3.7 to 4.1 inches (9 to 10.4 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Monarchs feed on flower nectar, while caterpillars feast on milkweed leaves.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs underneath milkweed leaves. In 2 weeks, a caterpillar hatches and progresses into a butterfly in a month.
  • Lifespan: Adult Monarchs can live up to 9 months, especially the ones that migrate.
  • Host Plants: Monarchs are dependent on milkweed plants. This forms part of their diet and also serves as their breeding ground.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

On your Butterfly-spotting adventure in New Hampshire, look out for the distinctive Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). So, what does this butterfly look like?

Common Buckeye butterfly

  • Habitat: Common Buckeyes love to bask in sunny spots. Look for them in open, sunny fields and meadows.
  • Appearance: Sporting large, circular eye spots on each of its four wings, the Common Buckeye is a true show-stopper. Its base color is brown with distinct orange and white markings.
  • Size: Its wingspan can reach from 1.6 to 2.7 inches (4.1 to 6.9 centimeters).
  • Diet: As an adult, this butterfly feeds mainly on nectar but the caterpillars are not as selective, feeding on a variety of plants.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs singly on the leaves of the host plant.
  • Lifespan: They typically live about two weeks, a short but vibrant life.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars prefer plantain plants but will also eat snapdragon, Gaura, and several other species.

‘Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)

This butterfly is an enchanting sight. It’s distinguished by its exotic colors and unique markings. Ready to discover more about it?

‘Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)

  • Habitat: You can encounter this species in a variety of habitats. This includes forests, meadows, gardens, and even parks.
  • Appearance: It boasts a vibrant, deep blue color, highlighted by bright red spots. You’ll also notice a band of white on the outer wings.
  • Size: This species typically represents a wingspan of 7 to 10.1 cm or 2.75 to 4 inches.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on leaves. Once they mature, their diet consists mainly of nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. They develop from egg, caterpillar, pupa to butterfly.
  • Lifespan: The entire life cycle is completed within a few months.
  • Host Plants: Include willows, poplars, and fruit trees.

This butterfly, in fact, is fascinating. Keep your eyes peeled for them on your next nature walk!

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

The Cabbage White, scientifically known as Pieris rapae, is a butterfly species that flourishes in the wilderness of New Hampshire.

Cabbage White butterfly

  • Habitat: Mostly found in open, sunlit spaces including gardens and fields.
  • Appearance: This species boasts off-white wings with black spots on the upper side.
  • Size: The wingspan typically stretches between 1.3 to 2.2 inches (3.3 to 5.5 cm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they favor the taste of cabbage and other Brassicaceae plants. Adults feed on flower nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the undersides of host leaves. These evolve into green caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Adults survive for around 2 weeks.
  • Host Plants: They love to munch on a variety of cruciferous plants including cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

The Cabbage White butterfly is a common sight in New Hampshire, adding a delicate touch to the picturesque landscapes.

However, it’s essential to monitor their population, considering their caterpillars’ damaging effects on commercial cabbage crops.

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

The Mourning Cloak, scientifically known as Nymphalis antiopa, is one of the most captivating butterfly species you’ll find residing in New Hampshire.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

  • Habitat: This butterfly types are usually located in open fields and gardens, as well as forested regions.
  • Appearance: The Mourning Cloak is unmistakable with its dark brown wings bordered with creamy, yellow lines, and dotted with vibrant blue spots.
  • Size: Its wing span varies, measuring roughly between 2.25-4 inches (5.7-10.1 cm).
  • Diet: These butterflies fancy rotting fruit, tree sap and even animal dung; quite unexpected for such a lovely creature!
  • Reproduction: Female Mourning Cloaks lay grouped eggs on the upper side of host plants.
  • Lifespan: One of the longest lived butterflies, it can survive anywhere up to 11-12 months.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on a diverse range of trees which include willows, elm, and poplar.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

The Black Swallowtail, scientifically known as Papilio polyxenes, is an easily identified butterfly species in New Hampshire.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Black Swallowtail thrives in open fields, suburban areas, marshes and roadsides. It’s versatile in terms of habitat.
  • Appearance: This species is black with two rows of yellow spots along the edge of the wings. Males have a yellow band at the center, and females display a series of iridescent blue spots.
  • Size: Adult Black Swallowtails can reach a wingspan from 3.1 to 4.7 inches (8 to 12 cm).
  • Diet: The adults feed on the nectar of plants like milkweed and thistle, while the caterpillars prefer dill, parsley, and carrots.
  • Reproduction: Females lay spherical, yellow-green eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan varies from 10 to 13 days for adults.
  • Host Plants: The Black Swallowtail caterpillars favor the inclusion of plants from the parsley family in their diet.

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

The Eastern Comma is a species of butterfly known for its characteristic ‘comma’ marks on the undersides of its wings.

Eastern Comma butterfly

  • Habitat: Mainly residing in wooded areas, this butterfly is also found in urban spaces.
  • Appearance: Features jagged edges on its orange-brown wings and a small silver comma-like mark on the lower side.
  • Size: This butterfly measures about 1.25 to 2.25 inches (3.1 to 5.7 cm).
  • Diet: Favoring rotting fruit and tree sap, it also feeds on flower nectar.
  • Reproduction: Eastern Comma females lay solitary green eggs on the host plant’s leaves.
  • Lifespan: Lives up to about 2 weeks as adults. Some survive winter by hibernating.
  • Host Plants: Its favored hosts are hops and nettles among others. It is also known to use elms or willows as host plants.

You’ll see the Eastern Comma flitting about in the spring, summer, and fall. Its incredible transformation and beauty make it a joy to observe.

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

You may often encounter the vibrant Orange Sulphur, also known as Colias eurytheme, fluttering in New Hampshire’s open areas.

Orange Sulphur butterfly

Here are some fascinating details about this particular butterfly:

  • Habitat: Look for it in sunny fields, roadsides, or gardens.
  • Appearance: Displaying a striking orange hue, it has charcoal-black borders with white spots on the wings.
  • Size: These delicate creatures are small, measuring roughly 1.4 to 2.25 inches (3.5 to 5.7 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on flower nectar, especially from plants like alfalfa and clovers.
  • Reproduction: With a singular yearly mating cycle, females lay tiny pale green eggs on host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult Orange Sulphurs live about a month, experiencing most of their life in the caterpillar stage.
  • Host Plants: Clover, alfalfa, and various legume species serve as suitable nutrition for developing larvae.

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)

With the common name American Snout, the butterfly Libytheana carinenta is indeed a unique sight.

American Snout butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies are fond of both open and forested habitats, usually near water sources.
  • Appearance: They have distinctive long, snout-like appendages on their heads, with a brown and white-spotted body. Males have a black patch on their forewings.
  • Size: A relatively small species, they average a wingspan of around 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm).
  • Diet: They are known to consume nectar from a variety of flowers, with Mexican sunflower being a favorite.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs singly on the leaves of their host plants.
  • Lifespan: The adult butterflies can live for a few weeks, while their entire life cycle lasts for about a month.
  • Host Plants: The larval stages primarily feed on plants from the mallow family, including hackberry and sugarberry trees.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

The American Lady is a butterfly species with a distinctive charm you will often spot in New Hampshire.

Living predominantly in open fields and gardens, their meandering flight is a sight to behold.

American Lady butterfly

  • Habitat: The species primarily habitat open areas, fields, or gardens and can be found throughout New Hampshire.
  • Appearance: They have a distinctive orange, black and white pattern on the upper side of their wings, with two large eye spots on the underside.
  • Size: American Lady butterflies are modest in size, measuring about 2 to 2.75 inches (5-7 cm).
  • Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on nectar. Their caterpillars feed on a variety of plants.
  • Reproduction: They lay their green eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies have a lifespan of about two weeks to a month.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars are fond of plants like the pussytoes, everlasting, and plantain.

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

The Gray Hairstreak is a fascinating creature, admired for its adaptability and beauty.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies can thrive in diverse locations, from meadows to forest edges and even urban gardens.
  • Appearance: Like its name suggests, it has a predominantly gray body with streaks of white and orange spots near the tail.
  • Size: Adults are relatively small, with a wingspan ranging from 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 – 4 cm).
  • Diet: They tend to feast on the nectar of a range of flowers, including milkweed and mint.
  • Reproduction: Female Gray Hairstreaks lay eggs individually on the buds or flowers of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan ranges from a few weeks to a month, with several generations often occurring within a single year.
  • Host Plants: You can find them on a variety of plants including clover, alfalfa, and soybean.

Profoundly adaptable, Gray Hairstreaks, are a lovely addition to any butterfly garden.

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)

  • Habitat: The White Admiral butterfly thrives in mixed-wood forests & along streams.
  • Appearance: This unique species sports a black body with contrasting white bands running across the wings.
  • Size: It’s a medium-sized butterfly, with an average wingspan of 5.6 cm (2.2 in).

White Admiral butterfly

  • Diet: The adults engage in ‘puddling’. This means they sip mineral-loaded water from mud puddles. Their primary diet is nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the leaves of host plants. These hatch into caterpillars who gorge on leaves.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan of the White Admiral is short, typically between 7-20 days.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants are willow, birch, and poplar trees. The caterpillars munch on their leaves.

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

The Question Mark Butterfly is a colorful character you might encounter while exploring New Hampshire’s landscapes.

Question Mark butterfly

Let’s dive into its fascinating world:

  • Habitat: These creatures favor open woods, gardens, and even suburban areas.
  • Appearance: Noticeable for its orange wings with black spots. Look closely to see the white question mark shape on the underside of the hind wing.
  • Size: It has a wingspan of 2.4-3 inches (60-75mm), a respectable size for a butterfly.
  • Diet: This species enjoys tree sap, rotting fruit, and even dung, in addition to nectar.
  • Reproduction: Question Marks have a unique winter form, darker in color, which emerges in spring to lay eggs.
  • Lifespan: It has a lifespan of around one year.
  • Host Plants: Elm trees, nettles, and hops serve as the host plants, where female butterflies choose to lay their eggs.

Understanding more about these stunning creatures deepens our appreciation for New Hampshire’s rich biodiversity.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Around New Hampshire, the Viceroy’s quite the spectacle.


Colorful and majestic, here’s more about this wonderful species:

  • Habitat: Viceroys love wet meadows and marshes. You’ll also spot them near ponds or lakes.
  • Appearance: They have a striking resemblance to Monarch butterflies, with their orange and black pattern. But Viceroys have a characteristic black line across their hind wings.
  • Size: Adult Viceroy wingspans range between 2.75 to 3 inches (70 – 75mm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they mainly munch on Willows and Poplar leaves. Adult Viceroys are known to feast on flower nectar, rotting fruit, and even dung.
  • Reproduction: They lay their green eggs one at a time on the leaf’s upper surface of their preferred plants.
  • Lifespan: They hardly live beyond two weeks after the metamorphosis stage.
  • Host Plants: Willows and Poplars serve as the primary host plants for the Viceroy caterpillars.

So, keep these fascinating facts about this noble insect in mind the next time you come across a Viceroy in New Hampshire.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is an easily recognizable butterfly species in New Hampshire due to its striking color palate.

red-admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: They are found in a wide variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and even residential areas.
  • Appearance: This butterfly possesses black wings intersected by an arresting red band and surrounded by a white margin.
  • Size: With a wingspan of about 2-2.75 inches (approximately 5-7 centimeters), it’s neither too big nor too small.
  • Diet: Adult Red Admirals primarily feed on nectar from various plants, but they also enjoy tree sap, decaying fruit, and bird droppings.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their green eggs singly on host plant leaves, where the caterpillars will have instant access to food once they hatch.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for about 6 weeks, during which they make the most of life by eating, mating and laying eggs.
  • Host Plants: Stinging Nettles and False Nettles serve as the main host plants for their larvae, supplemented occasionally by the Pearly Everlasting plant.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, or Papilio glaucus, is a key species you might spot in New Hampshire.

eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: They reside in diverse habitats. They might be seen in woodland areas, along streams, or even in your backyard.
  • Appearance: This butterfly exhibits distinctive yellow and black stripes, similar to a tiger, hence the name. Males are yellow, while females can be yellow or black.
  • Size: They are quite large, with wingspans ranging from 3.1 to 5.6 inches (8 to 14 cm).
  • Diet: The adults feed on nectar from various flower species.
  • Reproduction: Female will lay eggs on host plants. These hatch into caterpillars which eventually form chrysalises and transform into adults.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies live for approximately one month, though the entire lifecycle can span up to two years.
  • Host Plants: Wild cherry, aspen, birch, and willow trees are among the caterpillar’s host plants.

Don’t be alarmed if you see an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in your garden; they’re harmless and a beautiful sight to see.

Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

The Northern Crescent is another beautiful butterfly species you can find in New Hampshire.

Northern Crescent butterfly

  • Habitat: It prefers meadows, fields, open woods and roadsides. They are territorial creatures often found near the ground.
  • Appearance: This species is primarily orange with an array of black and brown spots.
  • Size: It has a wingspan of approximately 1.25 to 1.75 inches (around 40mm).
  • Diet: They feed on flower nectar from plants such as clover and dogbane.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on the undersides of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan typically ranges from early June through to October with multiple generations within this period.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae feed on various Aster plant species.

Take time to observe these intriguing creatures when you come across them. Their vibrant colors add an enchanting touch to the country’s landscapes.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

The Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), which is abundant throughout all of New Hampshire, is a fascinating butterfly species.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

  • Habitat: Prefers open, sunny areas such as meadows, fields, gardens, and road edges.
  • Appearance: It sports an earthy, dark brown body, with silver-white spots dotting the underneath part of its hind wings.
  • Size: An adult Silver-spotted Skipper usually measures 1.75 to 2.5 inches (44-64 mm) in width.
  • Diet: Adult Skippers love nectar, their favorites being plants like the butterfly bush, milkweed, and thistles.
  • Reproduction: The female will lay single eggs on a host plant, primarily choosing legumes.
  • Lifespan: On average, an adult Silver-spotted Skipper lives for about a month in the wild.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars consume legumes, particularly Black Locust trees and various species of wild beans.

It’s a species you won’t easily forget once spotted, thanks to its distinct, silver-white spots.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly is a sight to behold.

Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly

Here’s a quick rundown of its features:

  • Habitat: Primarily, they favor open areas, like meadows and fields.
  • Appearance: Males possess a beautiful blue upperwing, while females have it fawn-like. Both sexes flaunt diminutive tails on their hind wings.
  • Size: They display a wingspan, small by standard, between 0.9-1.3 inches (2.2-3.3 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Tailed-Blues prefer flower nectar. In contrast, their larvae feed on plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the buds, and plants serve nursery purposes, too.
  • Lifespan: Usually living for a few weeks, the last generation of summer goes into ‘hibernation’ and emerges right into Spring.
  • Host Plants: Clover, alfalfa, and other legumes serve as host plants for the larvae, ensuring they have a continuous food supply.

Now, when you see a Tailed-Blue fluttering about, you’ll know a little bit more about them.

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

The Variegated Fritillary, or Euptoieta claudia, is a visually striking butterfly variety that you can often spot in New Hampshire.

Variegated Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: Typically, you’ll find them in open spaces, such as meadows, fields, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: Their top side is orange with black markings, while the underside is light brown with darker markings and silver spots.
  • Size: The wingspan of this butterfly ranges from 1.75 to 3.25 inches (approx. 44 to 83 millimeters).
  • Diet: Adults primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, such as violets and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs one at a time on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult Variegated Fritillary butterflies usually live for 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on a variety of plants, including violets, passion flower, and moonseed.

This butterfly species stands out for its fast flight, which can be a real spectacle for nature lovers.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

The Great Spangled Fritillary is one magnificent butterfly to behold. It’s famous across New Hampshire and stands out uniquely in its native environment.

Great Spangled Fritillary

  • Habitat: This species loves meadows, fields, and gardens. It can also be seen savoring the nectar of thistles, milkweeds, and ironweeds.
  • Appearance: It boasts an orange-brown color with black markings on the upper side of the wings, and silver spots on the underside, giving it a dazzling appearance.
  • Size: On average, its wingspan ranges between 2.5 to 3.5 inches (6.4 to 8.9 cm), placing it among the larger species of butterflies in New Hampshire.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, it primarily feeds on violets. As an adult, it nourishes on the nectar of various flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs near violets, which serve as the primary food source for emerging caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The average life span is about one month for adults, and up to nine months for the egg, larva, and pupal stages combined.
  • Host Plants: Violets serve as its host plants for the caterpillar stage.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Let’s explore the enchanting world of the Spicebush Swallowtail, a spectacular butterfly species that calls New Hampshire home.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Prefers woodlands and fields with plenty of spicebush and sassafras plants.
  • Appearance: It showcases an impressive blue shade on the hindwing in males and bluish-green in females. Both genders have a characteristic dash of orange at the bottom of each wing.
  • Size: On average, the wingspan of this species is between 3.5 to 4.5 inches (8.9 to 11.4 cm).
  • Diet: Adults feast on nectar from a wide variety of plants. Caterpillars prefer the leaves of spicebush and sassafras trees.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green-colored eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: The adult Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly typically lives for around 2 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Mainly relies on spicebush and sassafras plants through its life stages.

Observing a Spicebush Swallowtail in its natural setting can truly be a rewarding experience. So next time you’re in New Hampshire, be sure to keep an eye out!

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

The Pipevine Swallowtail is a visually striking butterfly, native to New Hampshire.

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll discover their residence in diverse habitats such as meadows, forests, and even suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: Riveting with its black-blue iridescent wings, the Pipevine Swallowtail is hard to miss amid the lush green foliage.
  • Size: The adult butterfly spans approximately 3-3.5 inches or 7-9 cm, resting on their host plants with their wings open.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies mainly sip nectar from several species of flowers, while caterpillars feed on their host plants.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on the leaves of the host plant, which will become the food for the hatched caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The Pipevine Swallowtail has a lifespan of approximately 22 days from caterpillar to butterfly.
  • Host Plants: This species is partial to the Pipevine plant (Aristolochia species), resulting in their given name.

The Pipevine Swallowtail, with its attractive appearance and easy-to-spot presence, truly epitomizes the diverse fauna of New Hampshire.


Thank you for joining us on this fascinating journey through the varying colors and patterns of New Hampshire butterflies.

We hope that you now have a deeper appreciation for these fluttering friends.

Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or share a butterfly experience that you’ve had in the Granite State.

Butterflies   Updated: August 11, 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 *