Types Of Butterflies

There are many types of butterflies around the world and it would take more than one article to describe them all. Both butterflies and moths belong to a group of animals in the order of insects called Lepidoptera. And, there are over 180,000 species of butterflies and moths!

Types of Butterflies

With so many different butterfly species and varieties, occupying various types of terrain, I’ve decided to structure the list based on habitat. The 3 main types of butterflies based on habitat are grassland butterflies, mountain butterflies, and coastal butterflies.

Grassland Butterflies

You’ve probably seen grassland butterflies, they the butterfly types that are commonly seen in pastures and around flower beds. They have brightly colored wings and are drawn to the flowers that are abundant in these areas. Some common types of grassland butterflies are:

Regal Fritillary Butterflies

This orange butterfly has black borders on its wings with white dots. The interior of the wing is mostly orange with black dots and markings.

Regal Fritillary Butterfly

The regal fritillary is a striking nymphalid butterfly found among some of the remaining tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies in the east-central United States.

This prairie-specialist butterfly has a characteristic deep orange color and unmistakable dark hindwings with two bands of spots.


Monarch Butterflies

This red-orange butterfly has vein-like black patterns that look like stained glass. Its wings have black borders with white specks.

The monarch butterfly or simply monarch is a milkweed butterfly in the family Nymphalidae.

Other common names depending on region include milkweed, common tiger, wanderer, and black veined brown.

It may be the most familiar North American butterfly and is considered an iconic pollinator species.


Pearl Crescent Butterflies

These types of butterflies have red and brown wings that have crescent-shaped white spots.

Pearl Crescent Butterfly.

The pearl crescent is a butterfly of North America. It is found in all parts of the United States except the west coast, and throughout Mexico and parts of southern Canada, in particular, Ontario.

Its habitat is open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, open pine woods.


Viceroy Butterflies

These species of butterflies look like monarch butterflies. They have the same pattern with its dark orange coloring and black veins. Viceroy butterflies even have a series of white spots along its wing edges.

Viceroy Butterfly.

The viceroy is a North American butterfly that ranges through most of the contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

The westernmost portion of its range extends from the Northwest Territories along the eastern edges of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada mountains, southwards into central Mexico.


Woodland Butterflies

These butterfly species are usually less colorful than the grassland butterflies. Also, due to the large variety of food sources, there are more types of butterflies found in woodland habitats than in any other.

Acadian Hairstreak Butterflies

These types of butterflies have gray undersides and brown-gray uppersides. Each hindwing also has a tail.

Acadian Hairstreak Butterflies.

Satyrium acadica, the Acadian hairstreak, is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It is found in North America from British Columbia east to Nova Scotia and south to Idaho, Colorado, the northern Midwest, Maryland, and New Jersey. The wingspan is 29–38 mm. There is one tail on each hindwing.


Pine Butterflies

Pine Butterfly.

The pine white butterfly is also known as the pine butterfly. It has a wingspan of between 1 3/4 and 2 1/4 inches. Its forewings are white on the uppersides with heavy black marking on its wingtips and black edges.

The undersides of its back wings have black veins. Males and females are similar, but the female is a little duller in color and her hindwings are sometimes edged in red and tinged with yellow.


Comma Butterflies

These types of butterflies have ragged wings. The underwings are mottled brown with a white mark that resembles a comma. The upper wings are orange, brown, and white with brown-tinged wingtips.

Comma Butterfly.

The angular notches on the edges of the forewings are characteristic of the genus Polygonia, which is why species in the genus are commonly referred to as anglewing butterflies.


Map Butterflies

Map butterflies have orange upper-wings in the spring. However, they change colors in the summer and develop black upper-wings.

It is common throughout the lowlands of central and eastern Europe, and is expanding its range in western Europe. 


Mountain Butterflies

Did you know that there is a large variety of butterflies that live in the coldest mountain in the arctic tundra? These types of butterflies are normally darker in color which helps them absorb more heat from the little sunlight in these regions. They also have long, hairy scales that cover their body which helps them retain heat. Here are some examples of mountain butterflies!

Moorland Clouded Yellow Butterflies

These butterflies are usually of a lemon yellow to a pale yellow color outlined with black (sometimes a pinkish-purple) borders.

Moorland Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Colias palaeno, known by the common names moorland clouded yellow, palaeno sulphur, and pale Arctic clouded yellow, is a butterfly in the family Pieridae


Piedmont Ringlet Butterflies

These butterflies have dark brown to black upper wings with red post-discal bands. Its an alpine butterfly (found in the Alps).

Piedmont Ringlet Butterfly

Arctic Fritillary Butterflies

These types of butterflies are typically dark orange with black spots, with chevron markings, and bars.

Arctic Fritillary Butterfly.

Boloria chariclea, the Arctic fritillary or purplish fritillary, is a butterfly found in the northern part of the Palearctic ecozone and the Nearctic ecozone.

Northern Blue Butterflies

The male of this species of butterfly has an upper side that is shimmering blue while the female upperside is brown with orange spots. The hindwing has small black dots that mark the outer edges.

Northern Blue Butterflies.

Plebejus idas, the Idas blue or northern blue, is a butterfly that usually inhabits grassy flowery areas, mixed evergreen forests and wet meadows up to alpine levels.

Creamy Marblewing Butterflies

These species of butterfly have a one-inch wingspan with an underside that is usually marbled cream and green in color.

Creamy Marblewing Butterfly

Euchloe ausonides, the large marble or creamy marblewing lays eggs on the terminal flower buds of a variety of plants in the mustard family.

Coastal Butterflies

These butterfly species prefer living along salt marshes, canals, and coastal regions. The most common types in this group are:

Falcate Orangetip Butterflies

These butterflies are quite small and have a hooked wing. The males have orange markings, but the female is white with one black spot on the wings.

Falcate Orangetip Butterfly.

Anthocharis midea, the falcate orangetip, is a North American butterfly that’s mostly seen in the eastern United State.

Falcate Orangetip Butterflies.

Red Admiral Butterflies

These types of butterflies are distinguishable by their black forewings that are marked with red bars and white spots. The underside of their hindwings has brown and black patterns.

Red Admiral Butterfly.

Vanessa atalanta, the red admiral or previously, the red admirable, is a well-characterized, medium-sized butterfly with black wings, orange bands, and white spots. It has a wingspan of about 2 inches.


Green Hairstreak Butterflies

These butterflies are small and very rare. However, it is still found in two of its original habitats in San Francisco, Golden Gate Heights and Presidio’s coastal bluffs and dunes.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly.

Sleepy Orange Butterflies

The upper wings on this butterfly are bright orange with black borders. The colors vary depending on the season. In the summer. the butterflies are a deep butter color, but in colder months they can range from tan to brick red.

Sleepy Orange Butterflies.

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