30 Butterfly Species in Wyoming

Experience the breath-taking biodiversity of Wyoming through its 30 butterfly species.

This article takes an up-close look at these graceful creatures, painting a vibrant picture of their lives in the state’s unique environment.

Prepare to embark on an enthralling journey through colorful wings and delicate antennae.

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)

When you cast your eyes across the Wyoming landscape, you might stumble upon the Checkered White (Pontia protodice).

This butterfly is a familiar sight, presenting a delicate and fascinating look due to its unique markings.

Checkered White butterfly

  • Habitat: You will often find them in the open, unwooded areas like fields and meadows.
  • Appearance: They are mostly white with grey-green veins and markings. Females present a more checked pattern by comparison.
  • Size: Their wingspan is usually 1-2.2 inches (25.4-56mm), giving them a small-to-medium stature.
  • Diet: Checkered whites prefer feeding on nectar from flowers of various mustard species.
  • Reproduction: They typically have two generations per year with second brood butterflies overwintering.
  • Lifespan: Roughly two weeks to a month, throughout the spring and summer seasons.
  • Host Plants: They lay eggs on bad mustard, rock cress and other cruciferous plants for the caterpillars to feed on.

If you’re fortunate enough, you could bear witness to these delightful creatures during your next Wyoming visit.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The Painted Lady butterfly, also known scientifically as Vanessa cardui, is quite a spectacle.

painted lady butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll find these beautiful creatures in a variety of environments, from meadows to suburban areas.
  • Appearance: Boasting of orange and black hues on the upper wings, and a neat pattern of five small circles on the lower wings.
  • Size: Adults typically fall within the 2.0–2.9 inch (5.1–7.3 cm) range in size.
  • Diet: These sippers feed on nectar from a variety of flowers. They often prefer thistles, asters, and cosmos.
  • Reproduction: Fascinatingly, females can lay hundreds of greenish-blue eggs. These are usually deposited on the host plants.
  • Lifespan: On average, they live for a period of two weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed off a variety of host plants. These include Hollyhock, Malva, and various other species of thistles.

Not only are these beautiful to behold, they are also vital to our world’s ecosystem. Explore more to discover the magic of these fluttering wonders!

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

The Clouded Sulphur, scientifically known as the Colias philodice, is a fascinating butterfly species found in Wyoming.

Clouded Sulphur butterfly

Let’s take a closer look at this species and its unique characteristics.

  • Habitat: This butterfly prefers open areas like meadows, fields, and roadside edges.
  • Appearance: Their wings are mostly yellow, but can range in color from white to orange. Males have solid black borders on their wings, while females have spotty edges.
  • Size: They are usually 1.25-2 inches in wingspan (3.2 – 5.1 centimeters).
  • Diet: As adults, they feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Once females mate, they lay their green eggs on the undersides of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan as adults is short, lasting only about one to two weeks.
  • Host Plants: They usually lay their eggs on pea, clover, and alfalfa plants.

This common yet beautiful species is a delight to observe, fluttering about in its natural habitat.

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

The Western Tiger Swallowtail is a blissful sight for nature lovers across Wyoming.

Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Cherishing the joys of open woods and gardens, these butterflies adapt to urban areas as well.
  • Appearance: Emblazoned with crisp black stripes on a yellow background, they have four tiger-like stripes on each forewing.
  • Size: These captivating creatures range from 2.75 inches to 4 inches (69 – 101mm), and their striking wings span impressively.
  • Diet: Satisfying their sweet tooth, they dive into flower nectar, rotting fruit, or dung.
  • Reproduction: The females lay globular, green eggs on host plants where they continue developing into a caterpillar and eventually a butterfly.
  • Lifespan: Their life span varies, but most reach about 6-14 days as adults.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae predominantly feed on deciduous trees such as willow, poplar, and chokecherry.

Capture a glimpse of their beauty but be careful not to disturb their natural habitat.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Set your sights on the North American native, the Black Swallowtail.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: The Black Swallowtail thrives in open fields, gardens, parks, and meadows.
  • Appearance: Dressed in black with yellow stripes around their wings’ edges, they are easily identifiable.
  • Size: Typically, they measure from 3.1 to 3.9 inches (7.9 to 9.9 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Black Swallowtail caterpillars mainly feast on plants in the carrot family. Conversely, adult butterflies sip nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their spherical, cream-colored eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adults live about 10 to 12 days, passing through 4 stages before becoming a butterfly.
  • Host Plants: They prefer plants from the carrot family as food for their larvae, including Queen Anne’s lace, carrot, and parsley.

Together, these factors create the unique essence of the Black Swallowtail. The versatility of their diet makes them a common guest in gardens— a delightful sight for any nature lover.

Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)

Welcome to the journey of knowing the precious ‘Sleepy Orange,’ also known scientifically as Eurema nicippe. A bright colored butterfly that’s a sight you don’t want to miss.

Sleepy Orange butterfly

  • Habitat: They choose various habitats, usually around wetlands, meadows, and fields.
  • Appearance: The upper side of their wings displays a vibrant orange, with black borders decorating the edges.
  • Size: Typically, their wingspan scales between 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8-5 cm), so they’re relatively small.
  • Diet: Being a butterfly, they primarily feed on nectar.
  • Reproduction: During warm months, females lay eggs on host plants, resulting in several generations per year.
  • Lifespan: The adults usually live for around two to three weeks.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants for larvae are legumes, particularly senna and partridge peas.

Isn’t it fascinating? The nature of the Sleepy Orange unleashes the magic of the Wyoming butterfly fauna for all of us to enjoy.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye, scientifically referred to as Junonia coenia, is a versatile butterfly found throughout Wyoming. Follow along to get a vivid picture of this stunning butterfly.

Common Buckeye butterfly

  • Habitat: Quite adaptable, the Buckeye makes its home in a wide range of environments – from open, sunny areas to gardens.
  • Appearance: Boasting eye-catching eye spots on its wings, the Buckeye mainly flaunts a brown and orange color scheme.
  • Size: As an adult, it can attain an impressive wingspan between 1.6 to 2.2 inches (40 to 56mm).
  • Diet: Their diet mainly consists of nectar from a variety of flowering plants, they have a soft spot for composite flowers.
  • Reproduction: When it comes to reproduction, the female lays singular eggs over host plants which soon hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Short, a matter of weeks as adults. However, the complete lifecycle extends for months.
  • Host Plants: Typical host plants consist of a variety of plants mainly from figwort family.

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Meet the Cloudless Sulphur, a charming butterfly that you can spot in Wyoming. This creature adds beauty to the biodiversity of Wyoming.

cloudless sulphur butterfly

This species is easy to recognize. Look for the following key characteristics:

  • Habitat: Open, sunny areas, especially those with flowers. You’ll often find them in parks, gardens, or meadows.
  • Appearance: Bright yellow wings with tiny black spots. In males, the top side of the wings has no marking. Females show the same color but faintly speckled with black.
  • Size: Fairly large; a wingspan of about 3.3 inches (8.4 cm).
  • Diet: Primarily nector from red and pink flowers such as Salvia, Bougainvillea, and Cordia.
  • Reproduction: Lay their eggs singly on host plants. Globular eggs are cream colored at first, slowly turning orange.
  • Lifespan: Short, ranging from few weeks up to 2 months in the wild.
  • Host Plants: Preference to senna species (Cassia).

Remember, each butterfly species plays a unique role in the ecosystem. The Cloudless Sulphur is no exception.

Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)

Silver-bordered Fritillary, scientifically known as Boloria selene, is a butterfly species that adorns the skies of Wyoming.

Silver-bordered Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: This butterfly species loves moist meadows adorned with rich grass, marshes, and woodland edges.
  • Appearance: It is identified by its orange wings with black spots and silver spots lining the peripheral of the undersides of its wings.
  • Size: Adults expand to a wingspan size of 1.6 – 2 inches (40 – 50 mm).
  • Diet: The Silver-bordered Fritillary’s diet mainly comprises nectar from flowers and aphid honeydew.
  • Reproduction: Breeds once annually and females lay eggs on violets, the feeding plant for their larvae.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan ranges from early spring through late fall before the winter diapause.
  • Host Plants: The host plants are typically violets (Viola species).

This species offers a vibrant touch to the Wyoming butterfly community, making it one of the most breathtaking focal points of nature’s beauty.

Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)

The Hackberry Emperor, scientifically known as Asterocampa celtis, is one noteworthy species of butterfly distinct to Wyoming.

Not just beautiful, they also play a significant role in our ecosystem.

Hackberry Emperor butterfly

  • Habitat: This species commonly resides in locales plentiful with Hackberry trees, their namesake.
  • Appearance: The upper side of their wings is tawny-orange with broad, cream-colored bands and dark speckles.
  • Size: Wingspan of 1.8-2.8 inches (4.5-7 cm). A petite beauty!
  • Diet: Apart from tree sap and rotten fruits, surprisingly, they prefer animal droppings and carrion as meals too.
  • Reproduction: Female lays green eggs that hatch into a thorny-looking, light brown larvae in about a week.
  • Lifespan: Adults survive for a month, enough time to mate and lay eggs.
  • Host Plants: The Hackberry tree is the favored host for these butterflies, providing both food and shelter.

This species adds to the diverse butterfly population in Wyoming, bouncing from one Hackberry tree to another.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

The Silver-spotted Skipper is a notable presence in the insect world of Wyoming.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

  • Habitat: It prefers sunny open areas and frequents gardens and fields.
  • Appearance: Its attractive body is adorned with brownish-black colour. What differentiates it is a large silvery white spot on the hindwings.
  • Size: Adults typically reach sizes between 1.75-2.65 inches (44.5-67 mm).
  • Diet: These butterflies feed on nectar from flowers like the pink phlox and thistles.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their green-colored eggs individually on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their life spans from spring to fall as adults.
  • Host Plants: They particularly favour Black Locust and other plants from the pea family.

The Silver-spotted Skipper adorns Wyoming with its exquisite markings, enriches the biodiversity and contributes to the balance in the ecosystem.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

This unique butterfly species is a sight you’re bound to enjoy. Let us now delve into the fascinating world of the Cabbage White.

Cabbage White butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll mostly find these friendly creatures in gardens, parks, and other green areas in towns.
  • Appearance: Sporting snowy white wings with modest black spots, a Cabbage White certainly stands out.
  • Size: The small to medium size species, with a wingspan of 1.5 – 2 inches (38.1 – 50.8 mm), is sure to capture your attention.
  • Diet: Cabbage Whites feed primarily on nectar from flowers but caterpillars enjoy cruciferous plants.
  • Reproduction: Females can lay hundreds of eggs on the undersides of leaves, preparing for the next generation.
  • Lifespan: Generally, the adult butterflies live for around two weeks, making the most of their short time.
  • Host Plants: Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, or wild species like watercress and lambsquarters, are their favorites.

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

The Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) is one of the most fascinating butterfly species found in Wyoming.

Eastern Comma butterfly

Here’s what you should know about the Eastern Comma.

  • Habitat: Woodlands, marshes, fields and city parks serve as the natural habitat for this species.
  • Appearance: It earns its name because of small silver, comma-shaped markings on the underside of its hind wings.
  • Size: With a wingspan ranging from 1.6 to 2.7 inches (or 4.1 to 6.9cm), it’s medium sized.
  • Diet: This species feeds on rotting fruit and tree sap. Caterpillars enjoy feeding on leaves of various plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green eggs on the host plant. In a few weeks, eggs hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The Eastern Comma can live up to 2 years, making it one of the longest living butterflies.
  • Host Plants: Hops, nettles, and elms are just some of the host plants on which you could find its caterpillars, specifically on their leaves.

These features make the Eastern Comma a must-see species when butterfly watching in Wyoming.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroys are striking butterflies indigenous to Wyoming.

Viceroy butterfly

  • Habitat: They thrive primarily in marshes and wet open areas, sometimes within forests.
  • Appearance: Sporting orange and black patterns, they closely resemble Monarch butterflies. However, a black line on their hindwing differentiates them.
  • Size: Adults are fairly small, reaching a wingspan of 2.5 – 3 inches (6.35 – 7.6 cm).
  • Diet: Viceroys feed on tree willow and poplar leaves as larvae, while adults find nourishment in nectar and dung.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on host plant leaves, where they’ll develop into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Adults live 14 – 28 days while it takes about 2 – 3 weeks for eggs to morph into adults.
  • Host Plants: Mainly from the Salicaceae family, like willows, aspen, and poplars.

This mimicry marvel flies with an impressive flexibility, making it a remarkable sight within Wyoming’s diverse butterfly species.

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

The Great Spangled Fritillary is a butterfly species particularly famous in Wyoming. This magnificent creature is characterized by its large size and distinctive orange coloration.

Great Spangled Fritillary

  • Habitat: They inhabit a wide range of eco-systems, including meadows, fields, and forest clearings.
  • Appearance: Notice their bright orange wings with black spots and brown borders. The undersides of the wings depict silver spots, giving them the name ‘Spangled’.
  • Size: These butterflies are sizeable, with a wing span between 2.5 to 4 inches (6.4 to 10 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on host plants. The caterpillars hatch and feed on the plant.
  • Lifespan: Generally, their lifespan ranges from a few weeks to a couple of months.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars usually feed on violet plants. Remember, host plants play a critical role in butterfly conservation.

Their beautiful array of colors and large size make the Great Spangled Fritillary a captivating sight in Wyoming’s natural landscapes.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is a captivating butterfly species that is widespread in Wyoming.

red-admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: Adaptable to various environments, they thrive in wetlands, forests, parks, and even backyard gardens.
  • Appearance: As the name implies, this butterfly sports a striking red band contrasting sharply with its black wings. A white spot pattern borders the wings’ edges giving it an enchanting look.
  • Size: They’re of medium size, approximately 2 to 2.75 inches (5 to 7 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies generally feed on flower nectar and overripe fruit.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs singly on host plants, which is especially favored by nettles.
  • Lifespan: Adults live for about 6 months, considerably long for a butterfly.
  • Host Plants: Various species of nettles serve as host plants; their caterpillars solely feed on these plants.

Keep an eye out for these captivating visitors the next time you’re in your garden or traversing Wyoming’s varied landscapes.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

When you think of butterflies, the Monarch is likely among the first to come to mind. An iconic symbol, the Monarch is unique in their migratory patterns, spanning over 3000 miles.


  • Habitat: Finding a home in open fields, meadows, and especially milkweed patches, they choose spaces with maximum sun exposure.
  • Appearance: They sport striking orange wings adorned with black veins and wide black borders with white specks.
  • Size: Monarchs span between 3.7-4.1 in or 93-104 mm in width – quite impressive for a butterfly.
  • Diet: The adult Monarchs feed primarily on nectar from various flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Monarchs lay eggs on milkweed plants. Their life cycles transition from egg to caterpillar, to pupa, and finally, to adult butterfly.
  • Lifespan: As adults, Monarchs live between 2 to 6 weeks.
  • Host Plants: For the larvae stage, the butterfly’s host plant is Milkweed – an important aid for their species’ survival.

Their vulnerability to climate change brings a sense of urgency to the conversation around global warming and wildlife conservation.

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

The Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), a common butterfly in Wyoming and indeed across North America, truly is a sight to behold with its distinctive features.

Gray Hairstreak butterfly

  • Habitat: This butterfly favors open areas such as fields, gardens, and meadows.
  • Appearance: The gray hairstreak is easily identifiable by its gray wings adorned with fine streaks and a narrow tail.
  • Size: It is by no means a large species, spanning just 1-1.5 inches (about 2.5-3.8cm).
  • Diet: Its diet consists of nectar from various plants, including sage, milkweed, and mint.
  • Reproduction: In terms of reproduction, Females lay their eggs on flowers and shoots of variety host plants.
  • Lifespan: These beautiful creatures have a short lifespan, typically 2-4 months.
  • Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of host plants, from cotton to mallow to beans, showing off nature’s incredible diversity.

The gray hairstreak harbours a unique, understated beauty that reflects the rich diversity of Wyoming’s butterfly population.

American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

The American Copper, otherwise known as Lycaena phlaeas, is a fascinating butterfly species often found fluttering around the state of Wyoming.

American Copper butterfly

  • Habitat: They are commonly seen in open, disturbed sites. This includes areas such as vacant lots, power-line corridors and open fields.
  • Appearance: They sport a bright copper color on the upper sideof their wings.
  • Size: Adults typically have a wingspan of around 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm).
  • Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on flower nectar, filling the air with their fluttering as they move from one flower to another.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies typically live for about 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: It’s the dock plants (Rumex) that serve as a common host plant for their caterpillars.

It’s the striking hue and affinity for simple environments that make the American Copper a captivating sight in Wyoming.

Spring Azure (Celastrina “ladon”)

The Spring Azure is among the earliest butterflies to appear, thus earning its name. In Wyoming, these are regular guests in sunny, open habitats.

Spring Azure butterfly

  • Habitat: Usually, you’d spot them around the edges of woodlands, meadows, and gardens.
  • Appearance: These tiny creatures exhibit a real spectacle of colors. The upper side is silvery blue, while the underside showcases a combination of gray, blue, and brown.
  • Size: Measuring just an inch (2.54 cm), they’re tiny but visually striking.
  • Diet: Adult Spring Azure feeds primarily on the nectar from various flowers.
  • Reproduction: The females lat eggs on flower buds, which the caterpillars eat on hatching.
  • Lifespan: Typically, they live for about a year, making the most of all seasons.
  • Host Plants: The specific plants they choose include flowering dogwood and New Jersey tea. Like faithful guests, they return to them year after year.

Spring Azure’s iridescent, illustrious appearance certainly contributes to Wyoming’s biodiversity brilliance.

Queen (Danaus gilippus)

An intriguing specimen of the butterfly fauna in Wyoming is the ‘Queen’ (Danaus gilippus).

Queen Butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll often spot these regal creatures basking in open spaces and sunny areas, particularly in fields and meadows.
  • Appearance: The Queen flaunts a rich chocolate-brown color, adorned with white spots and a subtle lining of black veins.
  • Size: This species has a wing-span ranging between 2.5-3.5 inches (approx. 6.3-8.9 cm).
  • Diet: As a adult, the Queen feeds mostly on the nectar from sweet flowers, while their larvae feed on milkweed.
  • Reproduction: Queen butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants, which then hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Queens have a life expectancy of approximately 2 to 6 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The main host plant for the Queen butterfly larvae is the milkweed, an important aspect for their survival, as it provides food and shelter for the developing caterpillars.

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

The Orange Sulphur, also known as Colias eurytheme, is a sight to behold. This butterfly species makes its grand presence felt within the gorgeous Wyoming landscape.

Orange Sulphur butterfly

  • Habitat: It’s adaptable and can be found in diverse habitats including meadows, lawns, and alfalfa fields. It’s usually found near plants its caterpillars feed on.
  • Appearance: Shimmering with tinges of orange-yellow, it also showcases a black outer edge on its wings giving it a unique contrast.
  • Size: Typically, they attain a wingspan of 1.3 to 2.2 inches (3.3 to 5.6 cm).
  • Diet: Winged adults savor the nectar from a variety of flowers like dandelions, asters, and clovers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their tiny eggs on host plants where the larvae consume leaves.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of this species is a year. Division of its life is between larval, pupal, and adult stages.
  • Host Plants: Larvae feed on plants from the pea family, mostly alfalfa and white clover. The utilization of these plants determines their distribution.

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

With striking orange hues, the Variegated Fritillary is a butterfly species that is not hard to identify. Native to Wyoming, these beauties are quite adaptable and are present throughout the US.

Variegated Fritillary butterfly

  • Habitat: Typically found in open, sunny areas. They love meadows and fields.
  • Appearance: Displaying rich orange and black patterns, these butterflies also feature lighter brown spots which add to their uniqueness.
  • Size: Adult butterflies measure about two to three inches (5-7.5 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Mainly feed on nectar from various flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lays eggs individually on the host plants. Each butterfly can go through multiple broods in a season.
  • Lifespan: In their adult stage, they live for about a couple of weeks. The whole life cycle can take two months.
  • Host Plants: Variegated Fritillaries use a variety of host plants. Some favorites include various species of violets, passionflower, and flax.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed-Blue, scientifically known as Everes comyntas, is an enchanting butterfly species native to Wyoming.

Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly

Notice how intricate its life and traits are:

  • Habitat: They are pretty adaptable and can be found in a range of environments including meadows, fields, and gardens.
  • Appearance: This species is distinguishable by its blue upper wings, marked with black spots. There’s a small tail-like projection at each hindwing.
  • Size: Small but not too dainty, they span around 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) when fully grown.
  • Diet: Nectar from various flowers and occasionally, dung, make up their dietary intake.
  • Reproduction: Females lay green eggs on the buds of host plants.
  • Lifespan: They usually live for about a week in their adult butterfly stage.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillars feed on a variety of legumes like clover and alfalfa.

Now, isn’t that truly fascinating? How something as delicate as a butterfly can be so resilient? Let’s move on to our next species.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

The American Lady is a striking butterfly species found in the wide expanses of Wyoming’s outdoors. It stands out from other butterflies through its distinctive characteristics.

American Lady butterfly


  • Habitat: This species thrives in open and sunny environments like meadows or gardens. They can also be found in disturbed areas.
  • Appearance: The American Lady is recognized by its two large eyespots on the bottom side of hind wings, with smaller eyespots circling the larger ones. The upper side flaunts an orange-brown blend with black spots.
  • Size: Typically, their wingspan spans between 2 to 2.75 inches (approximately 5-7 cm).
  • Diet: Primarily, they feed on flower nectar but they also enjoy sap flows, rotting fruits, and occasionally bird droppings.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs individually on the top of host plants.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan is about two weeks.
  • Host Plants: Key host plants include the entire Artemisia genus, pearly everlasting, and burdock. This makes them quite versatile. These plants serve as sources of food for the larvae and places to lay their eggs.

Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

The Northern Crescent is a beautiful species to behold. It carries an intricacy that brings ordinary garden scenes to life.

Northern Crescent butterfly

  • Habitat: Preferring open spaces, you would find it in meadows, roadsides, and even your backyard.
  • Appearance: Sporting a deep orange shade with dark spots, the Northern Crescent stands out. Their outer edges, however, boast intricate engravings.
  • Size: Growing up to 1.25-1.6 inches (32 – 41 mm) in width, a sight of it is truly delightful.
  • Diet: It’s convenient being a butterfly. It means you can live off nectar from flowers and fluid from soft fruits.
  • Reproduction: The crescent-shaped markings tell what species they belong to, aiding in the mating process.
  • Lifespan: Living for about a month, it means that every moment counts in the butterfly world.
  • Host Plants: How they love thistles, asters, and sunflowers! They lay their eggs on these plants, and caterpillars feed on them.

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

The Giant Swallowtail is a sight to behold.

giant swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: These butterflies enjoy a variety of environments, from forests to gardens. They’re found all over Wyoming, particularly where their host plants are abundant.
  • Appearance: Sporting striking black and yellow markings, Giant Swallowtails are easy to spot. Their underside has a yellow hue with blue and red spots, giving an attractive contrast.
  • Size: They’re the largest butterfly in North America! You’ll find these beauties with a wingspan ranging between 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).
  • Diet: As adults, they drink nectar from many flowers. However, as caterpillars, their diet is more specific to certain host plants.
  • Reproduction: The female Giant Swallowtail lays her eggs on the underside of the host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies live for a month, while the whole lifecycle lasts up to two months.
  • Host Plants: Citrus trees are their favorite. In Wyoming, Wild Lime, Gas Plant, and Torchwood are abundant, providing ideal conditions for these butterflies.

You’ll surely be captivated by their charm if you come across one in Wyoming!

California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)

The California Tortoiseshell is quite the fascinating butterfly. Extremely prevalent in parts of Wyoming, they’re a sight to behold.

California Tortoiseshell butterfly

  • Habitat: This creature is primarily found in woodland areas and in mountains.
  • Appearance: The wings showcase a complex pattern of brown, black and a deep orange hue.
  • Size: The average wing span of the adult California Tortoiseshell ranges from 2 to 3 inches (5.1 – 7.6 cm).
  • Diet: The adult butterflies mainly thrive on nectar from a wide array of plants such as thistles and rabbitbrush.
  • Reproduction: After mating, the female lays her eggs on the host plant. The caterpillar that emerges is spiky and black.
  • Lifespan: Adults usually live for several weeks. This species undergoes two generations annually.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants are various species of the genus Ceanothus, which are commonly referred to as wild lilacs.

White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)

White Admiral is an exquisite butterfly species that grace the skies of Wyoming. This section will walk you through crucial details about this species.

White Admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: They typically inhabit deciduous forests and are more common in rural environments.
  • Appearance: White Admirals exhibit a striking contrast of white and dark blue, with a band of white stripes across the wings.
  • Size: They grow to be about 2 – 4 inches (5.08 – 10.16 cm) wide.
  • Diet: Adults prefer nectar from a variety of flowers. Their larvae eat plants like willows and poplars.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. The larvae then build leaf nests and undergo metamorphosis.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan averages 2-3 weeks, quite typical for butterflies.
  • Host Plants: They feed on various host plants, particularly favoring willow, poplar, and birch during their larval stage.

The White Admiral, with its stunning colors and adaptive survival skills, is indeed a fascinating butterfly to come across in Wyoming.

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

As you delve into the world of nature, you’ll come across the unique Mourning Cloak butterfly.

Mourning Cloak butterfly

Here’s some pertinent information you might find interesting:

  • Habitat: This butterfly is at home in various environments, from sunny clearings to woodland areas.
  • Appearance: Its dark coloring topped with blue spots and yellow lines sets it apart.
  • Size: These creatures average around 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in wingspan.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, and occasionally nectar.
  • Reproduction: The females lay eggs in clumps on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Ranging from 11-12 months, this species has one of the longest lifespans in the butterfly world.
  • Host Plants: Numerous tree species, especially willows and elms, provide nourishment for the caterpillars.

Enjoy observing this intriguing butterfly on your next nature walk!


You’ve delved into the colorful world of Wyoming’s butterfly population, examining only 30 out of countless species.

Isn’t it wonderful how such delicate creatures present a rich tapestry of biodiversity?

If you’ve enjoyed this journey or have personal encounters with these fluttering wonders, please leave a comment below.

Butterflies   Updated: September 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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