Cloudless Sulphur/Orange-barred Sulphur

Common Buckeye

Giant Swallowtail

Great Purple Hairstreak

Gulf fritillary/Zebra longwing

Hackberry Emperor

Lilac-banded Longtail/Long-tailed Skipper

Monarch/Viceroy

Palamedes Swallowtail

Phaon Crescent

Red-spotted Purple

Spicebush Swallowtail

White M Hairstreak/Gray Hairstreak

 

Cloudless Sulphur

(Phoebis sennae)

 

Range

Cloudless Sulphurs are very common in the Southern U.S. and are found as far West as Colorado and as far North as New Jersey. Their name is derived from a Greek god, Phoebe who was Apollo’s sister, and sannae from the genus Senna a host plant for the larvae.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are orange and oval
  • Larvae are green with yellow lateral lines and blue spots
  • Pupae can change color as they mature, from pale green to bright red
  • Adults migrate up and down the East coast. They are large with a wingspan 2-2.5 inches

Cloudless Sulphur males are uniformly yellow. The female’s forewing has a black margin and a black spot in the middle.

Host Plants

  • Sicklepod  (Senna obtusifolia)
  • Cassia or Coffee Senna (Senna occidentalis)
  • Sensitive Pea (Chamaecrista nictitan)                                                                                   Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

 

Orange-barred Sulphur

(Phoebis philea)

Range

Orange-barred Sulphurs are found in South Florida and from Texas to Brazil.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are slender and yellow and are laid one by one.
  • Larvae feed on leaves and flowers.  They can be green or yellow depending on their diet with black and yellow bands.
  • Pupae are green or pink
  • Adults frequent upland forest edges and gardens.  Their wingspan can be from 2.75 to 4 inches.  They undergo 3 generations a year

Orange-barred Sulphur males have an orange bar on the forewing and an orange hindwing margin.

Host Plants

Cassia or Coffee Senna (Senna occidentalis)

 

 

 

Common Buckeye

(Junonia coenia)

 

Range

Common Buckeyes are wildly distributed in the U.S. They can be found in Uplands, Scrubs, Savannas, and weedy Urban habitats. Adults migrate South from their summer breeding sites to over winter in Sothern Florida.

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay green eggs on host leaves
  • Larvae hide near the base of the plant. They are dark on the top and have white and orange on the sides with metallic blue and black spines
  • Adults are medium-size with a wingspan of 2 inches.  They undergo at least three reproductive cycles per year

Defense 

Chrysalis resembles bird droppings to avoid detections

Fun Fact:

Two other very similar species are found in Florida.  They are the Mangrove Buckeye (Junonia evarete) and the Tropical Buckeye (Junonia genoveva). There is evidence of interbreeding among these species in nature.

Host Plants

  • Oblongleaf Twin Flower  (Dyschoriste oblongifolia)
  • Virginia Plantain (Plantago virginica)
  • Matchweed (Phyla nodiflora)
  • Canadian Toadflax(Linaria Canadensis)

 

 

 

Giant Swallowtail

(Heraclides cresphontes)

 

Range

Giant Swallowtails are common.  They can be found from Canada to Panama.

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay cream-orange colored eggs on the new growth
  • Larva; Young larva rest on the upper surface of the leaves. Mature larvae rest on the branches
  • Pupae are found on the vertical twigs
  • Adults wingspan can be from 4.6 to 6.8 inches. They undergo at least three reproductive cycles a year

Defense

  • Larvae of all stages resemble bird droppings to escape predations
  • Pupae are cryptically-colored to avoid detection on stems

In the Florida Keys, there are two similar species that fly together with the Giant Swallowtail.  They are the federally endangered Schaus’ Swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus) and the Bahamian Swallowtail (Heraclides andraemon). In Mexico and the Neotropics, there are a number of other similar species, such as the Thoas Swallowtail (Heraclides thoas).

Fun fact:

Giant Swallowtail larvae, like all other swallowtails, display their osmeteria when disturbed. These are fleshy glandular projections that emit a nasty odor, repellant to predators.

Host Plants

  • Sour Orange (Citrus x aurantium)
  • Toothache Tree (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis )

 

 

 

 

Great Purple Hairstreak

(Atlides halesus)

 

Range

Great Purple Hairstreaks are found from Maryland in the U.S to Guatemala. In Florida they can be found in woody habitats

Life Stages

  • Eggs are white and can be laid one at a time or in a group on hots plant mistletoe
  • Larvae are green with yellow bands and are covered with thin orange hairs
  • Pupa is a stage of sudden development and reduced metabolism. It starts by forming a hard brown shell.
  • Adults; Males are iridescent blue on the upper side of the wings and dark purple with red and blue markings on the underside.  Females have less iridescent blue on the upper side.  Adults feed on nectar from plants such as goldenrods. Their wingspan can be from 1.25 to 2 inches.

Fun Fact

Moving tails and bright spots on the underside of the hind wings, of this and other species of hairstreaks, are called “false head”. They deflect attacks by predators by directing attention to this part of the wings, which can be lost, akin to lizard’s tail, without much harm to the butterfly. It has been shown that this pattern is an effective defense against jumping spiders.

Host Plants

  • Mistletoe  (Phoradendron leucarpum)  A parasitic plant

 

 

 

 

 

Gulf Fritillary

(Agraulis vanilla)

 

Range

Gulf Fritillaries are common in the Southern U.S down through Mexico to Central America. As well as West Indies to South America

Life Stages

  • Eggs are yellow and are laid one at a time
  • Larva; Mature larva are bright orange with black spines
  • Adults are medium size with elongated forewings.  Wingspan is 2.5 to 3.7 inches. The upper surface of the wings are bright orange with black markings. The undersides are brown with silvery-white spots.  Male and females look differently, they are dimorphic

Fun Fact

Adults move to Northern areas, like Florida, in the spring and Southern areas, like South America, in late summer

Host Plants

  • Passionflower (passiflora incarnata L.)
  • Corkystem passionflower (passiflora suberosa L.)
  • Yellow passionflower (passiflora lutea L.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zebra Longwing

(Heliconius charitonia)

 

Range

Zebra Longwings are common in Florida and in the Southern parts of the U.S to Mexico and Central America.  They can also be found in the West Indies to South America.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are yellow and laid one by one or in small clusters
  • Larva; Mature larvae are white with black spots and black spines
  • Adults are medium-size with elongated wings from 2.8 to 4 inches.

Male and females look the same. The underside of their wings has several small red spots near the body. Adults feed on nectar and pollen. They can be seen in hammocks, forest edges and shrubby areas.

Fun Fact .

Nectar provides more nutrients and allows adults to live for several months, longer than most butterflies of 2-4 weeks.      

Host Plants

  • Passionflower (passiflora incarnata L.)
  • Corkystem passionflower (passiflora suberosa L.)
  • Yellow passionflower (passiflora lutea L.)

 

 

 

 

 

Hackberry Emperor

(Asterocampa celtis)

 

Range

Hackberry Emperors are common in North Florida. They are wildly found in the Eastern U.S. reaching West to Colorado and Arizona. They can be found in uplands and hammock habitats

Life Stages

  • Eggs are laid singly or in a cluster on the underside of host leaves.
  • Larvae are green with yellow markings and have horns.  They rest on the underside of leaves. Larva turn brown and build shelters by rolling leaves to rest in during the winter in Florida.
  • Adults are medium-sized. With a wingspan of 2 to 2.6 inches. They undergo 2 -3 reproductive cycles a year that overlap with a similar species, the Tawny Emperar (Asterocampa clyton)

Fun fact:

The Hackberry Emperor also is called the Hackberry Butterfly. The latter can be a misleading name since other butterflies also use Hackberry Trees as a host.

Host Plants

  • Hackberry Trees (Celtis spp)

 

 

 

 

Lilac-banded Longtail

(Urbanus dorantes)

 

Range

Lilac-banded Longtails are common in Southern and Central Florida. They can also be found from Argentina to Central America and the Southern U.S.

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay a single greenish egg on the leaves and flower stalks of the host
  • Larvae have a dark line on the back covered with short hairs. They range in color from brown with yellow markings to green with white markings. The head is darker then the body and has a few spines
  • Adult have a wingspan of 1.5-2 inches.  The brown upper wing lacks the iridescent coloration of the similar Long-tailed Skipper. Adult Lilac- banded Longtails feed on nectar and in FL can go through 3-4 reproductive cycles a year.

Host Plants

  • Florida Beggarweed (Desmodium tortuosum)
  • Tick Clover (Desmodium Incanum)

 

 

 

 

 

Long-tailed Skipper

(Urbanus proteus)

 

 

Range

Long-tailed Skippers are common in the Southern U.S. as well as South and Central America. They can occasionally be found in Connecticut and Illinois.

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay eggs in a cluster on the underside of the host’s leaves.
  • Larvae when they are not feeding retreat to shelters created by rolling up leaves.  Their nickname is bean leaf rollers.  They pupate in the leaf roll as well.
  • Adults differ from Lilac-banded Longtails by their iridescent blue-green color on the base of its wings. Adults can undergo 3 reproductive cycles and are known to migrate south in late summer and north in the spring. Their wingspan is 1.9 inches.

Host Plants

  • Spurred Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum),
  • Florida Beggarweed (Desmodium tortuosum),
  • Downy Milkpea (Galactia regularis),
  • Eastern Milkpea (Galactia volubilis)

 

 

 

Monarch (Poisonous)

(Danaus plexippus)

 

Range

Monarchs have amazing migration ability. Some travel from North America to Central Mexico in the Fall to over winter the same ones then head north in March.

Not all populations or Monarchs migrate.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are laid one at a time on the underside of the host leaves.
  • Larvae; Mature larvae are yellow, white, and black striped.
  • Adults go through at least four generations a year.  Their wingspan is 3.5 to 4 inches.

Defense

  • Larvae gain their toxicity from chemical toxins in the host plants.
  • Their toxin is kept into adult stage.

Fun Fact:

Both Monarch and Viceroy resemble each other and both are poisonous. They join in a Mullerian Minicry complex.

Host Plants

  • Milkweed(Asclepias spp.)
  • Milkvines (Metalea spp.)
  • Climbing Milkweed(Sarcostema spp)

 

 

 

 

 

Viceroy (Poisonous)

(Limenitis archippus)

 

Range

Viceroys are distributed throughout most of North America and Central Mexico.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are laid one at a time on the tip of host’s leaves.
  • Larvae are cryptically colored.
  • Adults have a wingspan of 2.5 to 3.37 inches.

Defense

  • Chemical defense Salicin (similar to asprin) is extracted from leaves of the host plants.
  • •The toxin is kept into adult stage
  • Larvae and pupae are colored to resemble bird droppings to avoid detection

Fun Fact:

Both Monarch and Viceroy resemble each other and both are poisonous. They join in a Mullerian Minicry complex

Host Plants

  • Willow (Salix spp.)
  • Poplars & Cottonwood(Populus spp,)

 

 

 

 

 

Palamedes Swallowtail

(Pterourus Palamedes)

 

Range   

Palamedes Swallowtails are common in Florida except in the Keys. They are distributed across the southern U.S upward to Virginia and west to Texas

Life Stages

  • Eggs are slender, green and are laid on the new growth of the host plants.
  • Larvae are green with gray, black, white, and blue markings with conspicuous eyespots
  • Mature Larvae change color to pale yellow and pupate away from host
  • Adults are large butterflies with a wingspan of 4.38 to 5.12 inches that can be recognized by its dark coloration and yellow markings along the forewing and hindwing margins

Defense

Mimicry and camouflage

Fun Fact

In the northernmost part of its range it undergoes two reproductive cycles per year where in FL it undergoes three.

Sad Fact:

Laurel wilt disease has been greatly reducing the available host plants for the Palamedes Swallowtail. This disease is caused by the fungus Raffaelea lauricola and transmitted by the invasive redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus.

Host Plants

  • Red Bay ( persea borbonia)
  • Swamp Bay(persea palustins)

 

 

 

 

 

Phaon Crescent (poisonous)

(Phyciodes phaon)

 

Range

Phaon Crescents are common throughout the U.S. as far North as Iowa and Nebraska.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are laid in cluster on the underside of the leaves.  They are a greenish in color.
  • Larvae are sociable, make silk nests, they have sharp short spines and can vary in color from olive green to brown with light and dark bands.
  • Adults are small with a wingspan of about 1 inches.  They are poisonous, chemically protected by iridoid glycosides. Adults undergo at least 3 reproductive cycles a year.

Defense They are poisonous.  They have bright colors, and a slow flight with display behavior that is meant to instill unpleasant memories associated with the taste.

Fun fact:

There are records of Phaon Crescent butterflies displaying wing pattern coloration that differs from the normal pattern. These can be genetically or environmentally induced and are called aberrations.

Host Plants

  • Matchweed (Phyla nodiflora)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-spotted Purple

(Limenitis arthemis Astyanax)

 

Range

Red-spotted Purple is a common forest butterfly. They are distributed throughout the Eastern U.S.

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay single green eggs on the tip of the host leaves
  • Larvae feed on the softer tissue of the leaf leaving the midrib intact for resting on
  • Mature larvae resemble bird droppings believed to be used to avoid detection. They have 2 think branched projections on the prothorax and several small bumps on the back. They over winter in shelters attached to the stem of the host by silk.
  • Pupae are cryptically colored as well.
  • Adults have a wingspan of 3 to 3.5 inches. They go through 2 reproductive cycles per year

Fun Fact

Red-spotted Purple is thought to be involved in Batesian Mimicry of the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor). Batesian mimicry is where a nonpoisonous individual mimics a poisonous one.

Fun Fact

In nature, the Red-spotted Purple butterfly mates with White Admiral and Viceroy butterflies to create hybrids

Host Plant

  • Deerberry(Vaccinium stamineum)
  • Black Cherry(Prunus serotina)
  • Coastal Plain Willow(Salix caroliniana)

 

 

 

Spicebush Swallowtail

(Pterourus Troilus)

 

Range

Spicebush Swallowtails can be found from Canada to Florida and westward to Texas.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are pale green and laid one by one on the new growth.
  • Larvae; the young larvae resemble bird droppings and build nests made of silk in which they rest. Mature larvae change to a green color and rest in rolled leaves
  • Pupae are camouflaged as leaves. They can be green or brown
  • Adult are large with a wingspan of 3.8 to 4.7 inches and thought to mimic the Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor, which is toxic. They are also similar (although smaller) to the dark form of the Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

Defense

Mimicry and camouflage are found at all life stages

Host Plant

  • Red Bay  (Persea borbonia)
  • Swamp Bay (Persea palustris)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Camphortree (Cinnamomum camphora)

 

 

 

 

 

 

White M Hairstreak

(Parrhasius m-album)

 

Range

White M Hairstreaks are common throughout Florida, except the KeysThey can be found up the eastern U.S to Ontario, Canada

Life Stages

  • Eggs; Females lay flat white eggs one by one on the host leaves.
  • Larvae turn from green to red as they mature.
  • Adults have a wingspan of 3.2 to 4.1 inches. The upper side of their wings is an iridescent blue with a black border. The underside of their wings is a grayish brown with a white line forming an M shape.

Defense

  • Larvae’s coloration is reddish brown to blend in with young host leaves.

White M Hairstreaks differ from Gray Hairstreak by the M shaped line on the underside of the wing.

Host Plants

  • Sand Live Oak (Quercus germinata)
  • Water Oak (Quercus nigra)
  • Live Oak (Quecus virginiana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray Hairstreak

(Strymon melinus)

 

Range

Gray Hairstreaks are very common throughout Florida and the Easter U.S.

Life Stages

  • Eggs are small and white laid one at a time.
  • Larva feed-on leaves, flowers, and fruit. Potentially damaging to beans and cotton
  • Adults have a wingspan of .98 to 1.26 inches. Gray Hairstreaks differ from White M Hairstreaks by having a dark upper side without blue iridescent and silvery underside with less of an M in the line on the wing.

Defense

  • Larvae are variable in color ranging from yellow to green to red with conspicuous markings to avoid detection.

Host Plants

  • Clover (Trifolium spp.)
  • Jointvetches (Aeschynomene spp.)
  • Woodland Poppymallow  (Callirhoe papaver)