30 Butterfly Species in New Jersey

In this article, you’ll explore the vivid world of 30 unique butterfly species found in New Jersey.

Get ready to delve into individual facts, including their distinctive features and their role in the ecosystem.

You’ll undoubtedly find yourself amazed by the diverse beauty of these fluttering wonders.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed-Blue is a delightful spectacle of nature, embellishing the scenery wherever it flutters.

Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly

  • Habitat: Originally from North America, they have adapted to various terrains, but prefer sunny, open spaces.
  • Appearance: This butterfly is identified by its striking blue wings, with delicate orange spots and short tails.
  • Size: They are relatively small, with a wingspan hovering between 1 inch to 1.25 inches (2.5 – 3.2 cm).
  • Diet: Immature caterpillars eat leaves, while adult butterflies prefer nectar-rich flowers.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay their eggs singly on the host plants, the site of birth for the next generation.
  • Lifespan: The Eastern Tailed-Blue has a brief lifespan of just a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: They exhibit a preference for legumes like beans, peas, and clovers.

From its shorter lifespan to its plant preferences, each facet of the Eastern Tailed-Blue presents an exciting dive into nature’s wonders.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

The Black Swallowtail, scientifically known as Papilio polyxenes, is a stunning butterfly species native to New Jersey.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: This species can be found in a variety of habitats such as open fields, roadsides, forests, and gardens.
  • Appearance: The Black Swallowtail is black to dark brown with yellow spots forming lines across the wings.
  • Size: They are relatively large, with a wingspan measuring 3.1-4.3 inches (8-11 cm).
  • Diet: As adults, they feed on nectar from a range of flowers, while caterpillars prefer juicy leaves.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale, brown eggs on host plants which later evolve into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The typical lifespan of a Black Swallowtail is approximately one month, depending on various factors.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of host plants commonly found in the carrot family, like parsley, Queen Anne’s Lace, and fennel.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Meet the Giant Swallowtail, the largest butterfly in North America. Sporting a captivating blend of colors, it is a staple in various parts of New Jersey.

giant swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: These creatures inhabit various environments, ranging from forests to wetlands.
  • Appearance: A fascinating mix of black and yellow adorns the wings, with a unique yellow ‘tail’.
  • Size: They boast a wingspan of about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm).
  • Diet: They feed on nectar from various flowers including lantana and azalea.
  • Reproduction: This species deposits their eggs singularly on host plants.
  • Lifespan: The Giant Swallowtail typically has a lifespan of 1 to 2 months in its final butterfly form.
  • Host Plants: They prefer citrus plants including oranges and lemons, often found in home gardens.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

The Spring Azure butterfly forms a vital part of New Jersey’s ecosystem.

Spring Azure butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll find them everywhere from woodland edges to gardens.
  • Appearance: Distinguishable by its blue topside wings and faintly spotted underside.
  • Size: Small in size, at approximately 0.75-1.25 inches (1.9-3.2 cm).
  • Diet: They feed on flower nectar, favoring dandelions and dogwoods.
  • Reproduction: Implement a fascinating strategy—females lay eggs on flower buds their caterpillars will later eat.
  • Lifespan: Adults live around a week, while the entire lifecycle lasts a year.
  • Host Plants: Most often found on dogwood, blueberries, and meadowsweets.

Curious beings, they show unique behavior. You’ll often see them flying low to the ground, engaging in a fluttery and quick flight pattern.

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

Meet the Question Mark butterfly, an intriguing species found mostly in wooded areas and city parks throughout New Jersey.

Question Mark butterfly

  • Habitat: Prefers wooded and urban areas. It’s named after the silvery marking on the underside of its hind wing, resembling a question mark.
  • Appearance: This butterfly features charmingly scalloped edges on its orange and brown wings. You’ll notice a summertime form that’s tagged with a dark, blackish-brown hindwing.
  • Size: The Question Mark is a medium-to-large butterfly, spanning between 2.25-3 inches (5.7-7.6 cm).
  • Diet: It has a preference for rotten fruit, tree sap, dung, and occasionally nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singularly, primarily on elms and nettles.
  • Lifespan: In the wild, their lifespan extends to nearly a year, experiencing overwintering as adults.
  • Host Plants: Look for them especially on American elm (Ulmus americana) and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).

If you’re patient and perceptive, you might just spot this butterfly and its unique, punctuated detail in your next nature walk.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

If you’re in New Jersey, the Monarch butterfly is one species you won’t miss. Known for their incredible mass migration, Monarchs are a sight to behold.


  • Habitat: Monarchs inhabit broad open spaces. They love fields, meadows, and even suburban and urban areas.
  • Appearance: The Monarch’s iconic orange and black wing pattern sets them apart. There’s also a hint of white spots along the edges.
  • Size: They are relatively large butterflies, averaging between 3.5 and 4 inches (8.9 – 10.2 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Adult Monarchs feed on the nectar of various flowers.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the host plant.
  • Lifespan: A Monarch’s journey from caterpillar to adult spans only about 6-8 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Milkweed is the primary host plant of Monarchs. The caterpillars feed on and acquire toxic compounds that protect them from predators.

You’ll not only appreciate the Monarch’s beauty but also its important role in biodiversity.

Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)

The Tawny Emperor, scientifically known as Asterocampa clyton, is a true delight to observe in New Jersey.

Tawny Emperor butterfly

Let’s delve into its world to learn more:

  • Habitat: Mainly found in deciduous woods and urban environments.
  • Appearance: Your eye will be caught by the brown upper-side of the wings. The under-side displays a fascinating pattern of brown and white.
  • Size: This species isn’t particularly small. A typical wingspan is between 2 and 2.8 inches, or 5 and 7 cm.
  • Diet: Much like other species, the Tawny Emperor has a fondness for nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs in large clusters, a beautiful sight if you’re lucky enough to see it.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live from early summer into late fall.
  • Host Plants: They have a strong liking for the hackberry tree, whose leaves caterpillars feast upon after hatching.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

The Great Spangled Fritillary captures hearts with its vibrant orange wings speckled with silver spots.

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll find them in a variety of habitats such as meadows, fields, and grasslands.
  • Appearance: Their upper side is tangerine orange with black spots and a black border, while the underneath is dark with silver scales.
  • Size: Their averaged wing span is between 2.5 to 3.5 inches (64-89 millimeters).
  • Diet: They enjoy consuming the nectar from different types of flowers, such as milkweed, while caterpillars prefer violets.
  • Reproduction: Males skim the top of vegetation looking for females to mate with. Females place eggs near host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult Great Spangled Fritillaries live for about a month.
  • Host Plants: Violets—such as the Common Blue Violet or the lance-leaved violet—are their principal host plants.

Now, you’re introduced to the lively beauty of the Great Spangled Fritillary, a regular performer in the natural scenery of New Jersey.

Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis)

The Atlantis Fritillary is an enchanting marvel of nature that graces the landscapes of New Jersey.

Atlantis Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: Mostly found in meadows, open woods, and fields, it enjoys sunlit clearings.
  • Appearance: It dons a persuasive mix of orange and brown patterns on the upper side and silver spots on the lower side of its wings.
  • Size: This butterfly is relatively large, with a wingspan ranging from 2.4 to 3.5 inches (6 to 9 cm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on flower nectar from various plants, while caterpillars feed on violet leaves.
  • Reproduction: They undergo a single annual reproduction cycle, laying eggs in late summer.
  • Lifespan: The adults typically live for several weeks only, while the life cycle takes a full year.
  • Host Plants: Interestingly, their caterpillar stage prominently feeds on various violet species.

The Atlantis Fritillary contributes to the vibrant display of butterflies in New Jersey, enhancing the state’s natural beauty.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The Common Buckeye is a striking butterfly, notable for its captivating eyespots. You might happen upon this species throughout New Jersey, particularly in open fields and roadsides.

Common Buckeye butterfly

Here’s what to know about this fascinating creature:

  • Habitat: They live in open, sunny areas with low vegetation and some bare ground.
  • Appearance: Brown wings with eye-shaped markings of orange, black and white.
  • Size: The wing span measures about 2-2.8 inches (50-70mm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on plants. As butterflies, they sip nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the underside of host plants. The larvae then feed on these plants after hatching.
  • Lifespan: Their life expectancy is about one year.
  • Host Plants: They use many plants including snapdragon, a plant species from the figwort family.

These features make the Common Buckeye both an interesting and important part of New Jersey’s rich biodiversity.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

You will immediately recognize the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by its striking yellow and black stripes. Their beauty is truly unmatched.

Adaptable butterflies, they can thrive in a variety of habitats.

eastern tiger swallowtail butterflyBelow are some essential facts:

  • Habitat: They are most commonly found in deciduous woods, forest edges, or near rivers and streams.
  • Appearance: They have large, yellow wings with black tiger-like stripes. The tails resemble a swallow’s tail, lending to their name.
  • Size: With a wingspan ranging from 3.1 to 5.5 inches (8-14 cm), they are considered one of the larger butterfly species.
  • Diet: These butterflies feed on nectar from flowers. Larvae feed on the leaves of host plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single, green eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies typically live for 6 to 14 days.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of plants, including the Wild Cherry and Tulip Poplar.

Enjoy observing these colorful creatures in your local habitats!

Baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton)

Welcome to the fascinating world of the Baltimore butterfly, also known as Euphydryas phaeton.

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly

  • Habitat: This species thrives in wet swampy sites, especially around Turtlehead plants.
  • Appearance: A multicolored beauty, you’ll definitely admire its orange and white patches on black wings. These patterns indeed resemble that of the famous Baltimore checkerspot.
  • Size: Typically, these butterflies are quite small, with a wingspan of 1.5-2.5 inches (3.81-6.35 cm).
  • Diet: Adult Baltimores primarily feed on nectar from flowers such as milkweeds and thistles.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in clusters, mainly on Turtlehead plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults boast a lifespan of about 10-15 days. In contrast, the full lifecycle from egg to adult can take up to two months.
  • Host Plants: Turtlehead plants serve as the primary host plant for their larvae, with larvae occasionally using Penstemon and Snapdragons.

You’ll find the Baltimore butterfly to be quite an intriguing and colorful character in New Jersey’s butterfly population.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

The ‘Cabbage White’ butterfly – Pieris rapae – is frequently found in gardens and fields.

Cabbage White butterfly

  • Habitat: Geographically varied, found across North America, Europe, and Asia, primarily inhabiting open spaces and gardens.
  • Appearance: Characterized by its white wings with small black spots on the upper-side, giving it a simple yet elegant look.
  • Size: Relatively small with a wingspan varying between 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm).
  • Diet: Adults are often found sipping nectar from a variety of flowering plants. The caterpillars primarily feed on leaves of plants in the Brassicaceae family.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single, yellow eggs on the undersides of host leaves, which hatch into caterpillars after 5 to 7 days.
  • Lifespan: Short-lived, usually surviving for about 1 to 2 weeks in the adult stage.
  • Host Plants: Favors plants from the Brassicaceae family – likes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

The Zebra Swallowtail is a stunning butterfly species that you may encounter in New Jersey.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly

Consider each of the following unique characteristics:

  • Habitat: Primarily found in woodland areas and fields with an abundance of Pawpaw trees.
  • Appearance: This butterfly has distinctive black and white striped wings, resembling the pattern of a zebra.
  • Size: Adult wing span ranges between 2.75 and 4 inches (70 to 100 mm).
  • Diet: They intake nourishment from flower nectar and decaying fruit.
  • Reproduction: Females lay spherical lime-green eggs individually on leaves of Pawpaw trees.
  • Lifespan: Adults generally live for a little over a month.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for their eggs are Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba).

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

‘Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple is a fascinating butterfly species you can spot in New Jersey. It’s certainly as intriguing as its name.

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

  • Habitat: They thrive in woodland habitats and suburban areas.
  • Appearance: This species exhibits an impressive black-blue color. Each wing is adorned with red-orange spots, giving them a remarkable contrast.
  • Size: Flying around with a wingspan of 3-3.5 inches (7.6-8.9 cm), they’re a delight to behold.
  • Diet: Their diet is quite diversified, feasting on tree sap, dung, rotten fruit, and occasionally, nectar.
  • Reproduction: These butterflies lay single, green eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: As adults, their lifespan is short, living up to 2 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Wild cherry and willows are their favored host plants, where female butterflies lay eggs.

With such distinct traits, ‘Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple certainly makes a lovely sight for nature enthusiasts in New Jersey.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

  • Habitat: You are likely to spot them in the wooded habitats and forests of New Jersey. They also frequent suburban gardens and parks.
  • Appearance: The top of their wings is a deep purple color with little red spots, giving them their name. The underside of their wings shows a stark contrast, resembling a leaf.
  • Size: Their wingspan ranges between 2.5 to 3.5 inches, or 6.35 to 8.89 cm, which is medium-sized for butterflies.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly

  • Diet: They indulge in a variety of nectars – from lilac flowers to rotting fruit, and even animal dung for sustenance.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on host plants, mainly on the leaves of cherry, willow or poplar trees.
  • Lifespan: It largely depends on the season, but typically these butterflies live up to 2 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Mainly cherry, willow, and poplar trees, where they lay their eggs.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

The American Lady, scientifically named Vanessa virginiensis, supports your garden diversity, making it an integrated part of New Jersey’s ecosystem.

American Lady butterfly

  • Habitat: Discover it in diverse environments such as meadows, parks, gardens, or woodland clearings.
  • Appearance: Distinctive, characterized by two large eye-spots on the ventral side and orange, white, and black patterns on the dorsal side.
  • Size: Moderate in size, boasting a wingspan of 2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar while the caterpillar diet consists of host plants’ foliage.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay eggs on the host plant; the emerging caterpillars consume the plant for sustenance.
  • Lifespan: Despite having a short lifespan of two weeks, they reproduce multiple times throughout the year.
  • Host Plants: Favors cudweeds, everlasting plants from the Aster family.

This butterfly species is relatively common, but its unique characteristics make it an exhilarating find during every encounter.

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

The unique butterfly known as the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) is a remarkable sight for butterfly enthusiasts in New Jersey.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies favor woodland areas, parks, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Boasting a deep maroon wing color with an egged yellow border, it truly stands out.
  • Size: With a wingspan of about 3 to 3.5 inches (7.6 to 8.9 cm), it’s quite noticeable.
  • Diet: Adults feed on tree sap, usually prefer oak. They’re also known to enjoy rotting fruit.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in clusters on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: One of the longer butterfly lives, they can live up to 11 months.
  • Host Plants: Preferred host plants are from the willow family, such as the black willow and other species.

This charming creature has a lot to admire, from its rich colors to its interesting dietary preferences.

Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

Found primarily in the southeast of New Jersey, the Falcate Orangetip is a striking butterfly species.

Basking Falcate Orangetip

  • Habitat: This species prefers open woods and areas near streams or ponds.
  • Appearance: It sports a bright orange tip on its upper wings, making it easy to identify. Its wings are white with a distinct black pattern.
  • Size: Adults have a wingspan measuring between 1.2 to 1.6 inches (3 to 4 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies sip nectar from spring flowers like the mustard plant.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green eggs on host plants that the caterpillars will later feed on.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies have a short lifespan and only live for a few weeks in spring.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed mainly on plants from the mustard family, such as rock-cresses and toothworts.

Despite being very small, this butterfly has a unique charm, with its distinctive appearance and habits.

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

The Eastern Comma, scientifically known as Polygonia comma, is a butterfly well-noticed in New Jersey. This species contributes to the state’s vibrant and diverse butterfly population.

Eastern Comma butterfly

Here’s some quick information about the Eastern Comma:

  • Habitat: Deciduous woodlands and urban parks are their fond hangout spots.
  • Appearance: The orange-brown color and comma-shaped silver mark on the underside of their hindwing differentiate them.
  • Size: The Eastern Comma is relatively large, ranging from 4.5 to 6.4 cm (1.8-2.5 inches).
  • Diet: Nectars from flowers, rotting fruit and tree sap are their primary food source.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the host plant; the caterpillars munch on leaves after hatching.
  • Lifespan: They have a lifespan of about 2 years, considered long for a butterfly.
  • Host Plants: Elm, nettle, and hops are their preferred host plants.

Make sure to handle these butterflies gently should you encounter one.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral, scientifically referred to as Vanessa atalanta, is one of the most delightful butterfly species that graces New Jersey.

This charming species earned its name from the vibrant red band and white spots that adorn its black wings.

red-admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: They thrive in moist areas like marshes, woods, parks, or backyard gardens.
  • Appearance: Black wings decorated with a red band and white spots. The underwings are mottled in pattern.
  • Size: Their wingspan ranges between 1.75 to 3 inches (4.4 to 7.6 cm).
  • Diet: They feed on fermenting fruits and bird droppings, and nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singularly on the tops of host plants leaves.
  • Lifespan: They have a relatively short lifespan of about 11 months.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants include nettle, false nettle, and pellitory.

Their striking colour and pattern make them easy to spot and a joy to observe during their active months.

Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)

This delicate flier is the Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene).

Silver-bordered Fritillary butterfly

Here are some well-known attributes:

  • Habitat: Favoring wet meadows and marshes, they bring a burst of color to such verdant spaces.
  • Appearance: This butterfly features orange wings with silver spots bordering the underwings, thus the name.
  • Size: Typically, its wingspan ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches (3.8-6.3 cm).
  • Diet: Adults enjoy nectar from small flowers, while caterpillars feed on violets.
  • Reproduction: Like others, females lay eggs on host plants with caterpillars emerging to feed.
  • Lifespan: On average, adults survive a few weeks, with overall lifecycle lasting one year.
  • Host Plants: Most often, violets serve as a nutrition source for the growing caterpillars.

This butterfly, with its silver-bordered wings, reminds us of nature’s artistry. Its specific taste for violets turns it into a joyous sight during spring and summer flowerings.

Viceroy (Limenitis Archippus)

The Viceroy butterfly is a fascinating species native to New Jersey. You’ll not easily forget its memorable features.

Viceroy butterfly

  • Habitat: Commonly found near marshes and swamps.
  • Appearance: Striking orange and black patterned wings; mimics the Monarch butterfly to deter predators.
  • Size: The adult wingspan typically ranges between 2.5 – 3.5 inches (6.4 – 8.9 cm).
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on the leaves of willow and poplar trees. Mature Viceroys enjoy feeding on rotting fruit and nectar.
  • Reproduction: Viceroys lay their eggs singly on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan typically… a trade secret of nature! Incredibly, these creatures can overwinter as pupae.
  • Host Plants: Willow, poplar, and aspen trees are their preferred nesting sites.

Next time you are in New Jersey, take a chance and see if you can spot the exquisite Viceroy butterfly. As you can see, this butterfly is not only beautiful but full of interesting characteristics.

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Cloudless Sulphur is a species of butterfly native to North America, including New Jersey. Renowned for its brightly colored, yellow wings, it can add a striking view to your day.

cloudless sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: Primarily present in open spaces, parks, and gardens.
  • Appearance: Possess a deep yellow color resembling a sulphur crystal, hence the name.
  • Size: Ranges from 2.3-3.1 inches (58-79mm).
  • Diet: Caterpillars feed on Cassia species in the pea family while adults prefer sweet nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green eggs on the topsides of the host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Short, usually ranging from 6 to 8 week.
  • Host Plants: Predominantly Cassia species in the pea family.

Recognizing and appreciating this beautiful butterfly can be a fulfillment on its own, especially when they are seen fluttering around in your own garden.

Their presence signifies a healthy environment.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

The Spicebush Swallowtail, Papilio troilus, is a captivating butterfly species.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: You can spot this butterfly in deciduous forests or nearby open areas.
  • Appearance: It flaunts its power with a blue or green ‘dusting’ on its black wings.
  • Size: An adult spreads its wings to a length of 3.5 – 4.5 inches (8.9 – 11.4cm).
  • Diet: Adults typically sip nectar from flowers, while caterpillars munch on leaves.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: This butterfly enjoys a short but sweet life of around two weeks.
  • Host Plants: For Spicebush Swallowtails, the spicebush and sassafras trees are vital for survival.

So next time you’re in the woods of New Jersey, watch out for the stunning Spicebush Swallowtail. Its impressive size, coupled with its unique coloring, will certainly leave you in awe.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

The Gulf Fritillary is an arresting spectacle you can easily spot in New Jersey. With a name linked to its frequent sighting around the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a uniquely fascinating specimen.

gulf fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: This species loves warm climates and is found in open locations like meadows and pastures.
  • Appearance: It sports a breathtaking bright orange coloration on the upper side of its wings, with silvery spots beneath.
  • Size: The Gulf Fritillary measures around 2.5 to 3.3 inches (6.35 to 8.38 cm) in width, making it quite conspicuous.
  • Diet: Adults feed on the nectar of a wide variety of flowers, but they favor the Lantana plant.
  • Reproduction: Females lay yellow eggs on their preferred host plant, the passionflower vine.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies have a lifespan of around 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Passionflower vines serve as the primary hosts – the larvae consume the leaves following the eggs’ hatching.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Meet the Painted Lady, a butterfly species known for its vivid colors and sweeping migration across continents.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: Painted Ladies are highly adaptable, seen in different settings from gardens to the countryside.
  • Appearance: They have orange-brown wings with black and white spots on its forewing tips.
  • Size: This lovely species spans from 2 to 2.9 inches (5 to 7.3 cm).
  • Diet: As adults, they mainly sip on nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: A single female can lay over 500 eggs, after which caterpillars emerge.
  • Lifespan: Despite these butterflies’ beauty, their lifespan is relatively short, usually 2-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: For caterpillars, thistle is their primary food source, although you might also spot them nibbling on hollyhock or sunflower.

Now you’re acquainted with the Painted Lady, a butterfly bearing not just beauty, but also a story of survival and adaptability.

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

The Common Checkered-Skipper is an inviting sight with its checkered pattern of white and dull gray-blue.

Often seen basking on foliage in the sunshine, they add a charming touch to the environment.

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Here’s what you need to know about these butterflies:

  • Habitat: They inhabit open areas, including fields, gardens, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: White and dark gray checker pattern, with fringed wings.
  • Size: Small to medium, with a wingspan of around 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8cm).
  • Diet: Adults feed on nectar from plants like asters and coneflowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants, where the caterpillars feed.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Larvae feed on plants from the mallow family.

Keeping these points in mind will aid in identifying the Common Checkered-Skipper. Despite its commonality, its presence never fails to excite butterfly enthusiasts.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Welcome! Get ready to enhance your knowledge of the Silver-spotted Skipper.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll find them frequenting grassy meadows, fields, and roadsides. Also, look out in sunny areas, especially near black locust trees.
  • Appearance: Their dark brown wings don an enticing silver-white iridescent spot. This spot grabs attention right away.
  • Size: They typically range from 1.75 to 2 inches(4.45 to 5.1 cm). Not too big, not too small.
  • Diet: Flower nectar is a gourmet meal for them! They also enjoy sap and dung.
  • Reproduction: They deposit single eggs on host plants. If you see a tiny white egg, think butterfly!
  • Lifespan: Adults survive a compact 10 to 15 days. However, they accomplish a lot in this short time.
  • Host Plants: Black locust and wild indigo are their favourites. But they are not too picky about their homes.

Isn’t the Silver-spotted Skipper a fascinating creature to learn about? Keep reading to discover more butterflies!

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

As you explore butterfly species in New Jersey, meet the Pearl Crescent, scientific name Phyciodes tharos. A gift from the world of Lepidoptera, it stands out with its bright colors and dotted appearance.

Pearl Crescent butterfly

Now, let’s dive into some fascinating facts about this creature:

  • Habitat: They’re mainly found in open spaces such as meadows, fields, and roadsides.
  • Appearance: The Pearl Crescent displays black and orange on the upper sides of their wings, with a tawny color underneath and black markings.
  • Size: This butterfly is relatively small, with a wingspan ranging from 1.25 to 1.5 inches (about 3.2 to 3.8 cm).
  • Diet: Adults nectar on various flowers, but they prefer composites such as asters and fleabane.
  • Reproduction: Females lay small groups of eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: An adult Pearl Crescent usually lives for about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: The favored caterpillar food plants are the smooth and heath asters.

This beauty adds a dash of color and charm wherever it settles.


Your exploration of the 30 butterfly species in New Jersey is now complete. The diversity is astounding, isn’t it?

Please, feel free to leave a comment about your favorite butterfly or share any special butterfly sightings you’ve had in the area.

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.

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