MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

WILDLIFE

INSECTS

BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS


MARYLAND BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

[photo, Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), Monkton, Maryland] While flying, the colors and patterns on a butterfly's dorsal (back) side, are readily visible; however, when resting, a butterfly usually folds its wings over its back, allowing the colors on the ventral (underside) side, to be displayed. A moth, on the other hand, will spread its wings to the sides, showing its back or dorsal side on top, while at rest.

Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) on Wild Clematis (Clematis virginiana), Glen Burnie, Maryland, April 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Admiral, Red (Vanessa atalanta)
Dorsal side: black-brown with white spots and red-orange bands.
Ventral side: red-orange bands and white and blue spots on forewings, and an overall marbled appearance on hindwings.

Drinks tree sap, nectar from clover, daisies and milkweed, and juice from fermenting fruit. Inhabits moist areas, including woods, parks, marshes, and yards. Hibernates over winter.


[photo, Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) butterfly, Baltimore, Maryland] Azure, Spring (Celastrina ladon)
Dorsal side of wings: brighter blue for male, while female is darker blue and has black markings on forewings' edges.
Ventral side: gray with black spots.

Drinks nectar from blackberry, privet, and milkweed. Inhabits areas near woods, fields, and marshes. As a caterpillar, it secretes a substance or honeydew that ants use as food and, in return, the ants protect the caterpillar from predators.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) butterfly, Baltimore, Maryland, June 2017. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Eastern-tailed Blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas), Baltimore, Maryland] Blue, Eastern-tailed (Cupido comyntas)
Dorsal side: blue with gray-brown edges for male, while female is brown or charcoal with some blue in Spring. Ventral side: gray or white with black spots. White fringe is present on wings and orange spots, and a narrow tail appears on the rear of hindwings.

Drinks nectar from wild strawberry, aster, and clover. Inhabits open, sunny areas, including fields, meadows, and parks. The caterpillar secretes a substance or honeydew that ants use as food and, in return, the ants protect the caterpillar from predators.

Eastern-tailed Blue butterfly (Cupido comyntas), Baltimore, Maryland, August 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia), Baltimore, Maryland] Buckeye, Common (Junonia coenia)
Dorsal side: brown with two eyespots on both forewings and hindwings. Two orange bars and a whitish band line the forewings, while an orange band stripes the hindwings.
Ventral side: brown in Summer and red in Fall.

Drinks nectar from aster, knapweed, and peppermint. Inhabits open areas, including fields, gardens, and savannas.

Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia), Assateague Island National Park Seashore, Berlin (Worcester County), Maryland, October 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Checkerspot, Baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton)
Dorsal side: black with white and orange-red spots along edge.
Ventral side: black, orange, and white.

White spots on abdomen. Drinks nectar from rose, viburnum, and milkweed. Inhabits swamps and meadows. Spends winter as larvae. Named for George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore. Maryland State Insect. Classified as endangered in Maryland.

Comma, Eastern (Polygonia comma)
Dorsal side: brown-orange with black spots on forewings, while hindwings, bearing a dark border with paler spots along edge, turn black in summer, then orange with black spots in winter.
Ventral side: mottled brown with a silver-white comma-shaped mark on hindwings.

Drinks tree sap and juice from rotting fruit. Inhabits woods near water and swamps.


[photo, Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos), Monkton, Maryland] Crescent, Pearl (Phyciodes tharos)
Dorsal side: orange with black edges and markings.
Ventral side: orange with dark marks, and a white-pearl crescent-shaped mark within a dark patch.

Male has black antennae. Drinks nectar from milkweed, dogbane, and aster. Inhabits open areas, including fields, open woods, and pastures.

Duskywing, Juvenal's (Erynnis juvenalis)
Dorsal side: brown with dark and white marks - spots for male, larger, more pronounced spots, especially on forewings, for female.
Ventral side: brown with two paler spots near hindwings' upper edges.

Drinks nectar from dandelion, blueberry, and lilac. Inhabits scrublands, woods, and fields.

Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos), Monkton, Maryland, October 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Elfin, Henry's (Callophrys henrici)
Dorsal side: brown, and female has a spot on forewings' edge.
Ventral side: light brown near edges and darker brown-black near body with some white marks separating colors.

Small tail on hindwings. Drinks nectar from redbud, willows, and hawthorn. Inhabits woodlands and barrens.

Elfin, Frosted (Callophrys irus)
Dorsal side: brown, and male has long, dark spot on forewings' edges.
Ventral side: red-brown with dark lines and whitish edges on hindwings, dark spots near small tail.

Drinks flower nectar. Inhabits scrublands, fields, and open woodlands. Classified as endangered in Maryland.


[photo, Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele), Monkton, Maryland] Fritillary, Great Spangled (Speyeria cybele)
Dorsal side: orange (darker near body) with black marks for male, while female is usually darker.
Ventral side: orange-yellow with black marks and several silver spots on forewings and brown-orange with silver spots and a wide cream band on hindwings.

Drinks nectar from thistle, coneflower, and milkweed. Inhabits fields, pastures, and woodlands.

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele), Monkton, Maryland, July 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Variegated Fritillary butterfly (Euptoieta claudia), Monkton, Maryland] Fritillary, Variegated (Euptoieta claudia)
Dorsal side: yellow-orange with black lines and black spots near edges. Black-ringed spot on front edges of forewings.
Ventral side: mottled orange, brown, gray, and yellow.

Drinks nectar from violets, coneflowers, and thistles. Inhabits open fields and meadows.

Hairstreak, Gray (Strymon melinus)
Dorsal side: blue-gray.
Ventral side: light to dark gray with white, black, and orange lines on forewings and hindwings; orange-red and black spot on hindwings.

Male has orange head and abdomen, while female has gray abdomen. Drinks nectar from milkweed, mint, and goldenrod. Inhabits open areas, including fields, parks, and gardens.

Variegated Fritillary butterfly (Euptoieta claudia), Monkton, Maryland, October 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Hairstreak, King's (Satyrium kingi)
Dorsal side: light brown.
Ventral side: light brown with brown markings, as well as an orange-topped blue spot and orange and black spots on hindwings.

One long and one short tail on hindwings. Drinks nectar from Allegheny chinquapin and sourwood trees. Inhabits areas near swamps and streams. Classified as endangered in Maryland.

Lady, American (Vanessa virginiensis)
Dorsal side: orange with black marks, and a black patch on forewings, as well as blue and white spots.
Ventral side: olive-brown with a pink area on forewings and a marbled pattern, a streak, and two large eyespots on hindwings.

Drinks nectar from dogbane, aster, goldenrod, and marigold. Inhabits open areas, including meadows, parks, and dunes.

Marble, Olympia (Euchloe Olympia)
Dorsal side: white with few dark patches on forewings and near body.
Ventral side: white with green-yellow marbling.

Drinks nectar of chickweed, houstonia, and phlox. Inhabits meadows, open woodlands, and shale barrens. Classified as endangered in Maryland.


[photo, Monarch butterfly caterpillars (Danaus plexippus), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Dorsal side: orange with black edges, veins, and a black patch of scent scales for male, while female is orange-brown with wider black edges and lines. White spots along edges.
Ventral side: orange with black veins and a black patch with white spots on forewings, and brown-yellow with thick black veins. Black edge with white spots.

Monarch butterfly caterpillars (Danaus plexippus), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Drinks nectar from milkweed, lilac, and blazing star. Inhabits fields, marshes, and meadows.

Moth, Catalpa Sphinx (Ceratomia catalpae)
Dorsal side: brown-yellow with some black marks and a white spot.
Ventral side: similar to dorsal side.

Body is gray. Inhabits catalpa trees, yards, and woodlands.

Moth, Cecropia (Hyalophora cecropia)
Dorsal side: brown (red near base of forewings) with white and reddish bands, crescent-shaped spots, and tan edges, as well as eyespots on tip of forewings.
Ventral side: similar to dorsal side.

Body is red with white stripes. Male has large, feathery antennae, while female has larger, rounded abdomen. Inhabits .

Moth, Giant Leopard (Hypercompe scribonia)
Dorsal side: white with black spots.
Ventral side: similar to dorsal side.

Abdomen is blue-black with orange-red marks; male has a yellow line along side. Inhabits fields, meadows, and areas near woodlands.

Moth, Io (Automeris io)
Dorsal side: yellow with dark markings on forewings for male, while female has brown-red forewings. Dorsal hindwings are yellow-orange with a large black-blue eyespot.
Ventral side: brown with dark spots on forewings, and small white-silver spots on hindwings.

Male has large antennae. Inhabits forests, parks, and yards.


[photo, Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae Harris), Friendsville, Maryland] Moth, Hickory Tussock (Lophocampa caryae Harris)
Dorsal side: yellow-brown forewings with darker areas and white spots. Dorsal hindwings are pale, nearly translucent white-yellow. Ventral side: similar to dorsal side.

Body is brown and hairy. Inhabits hickory, walnut, ash, elms, and other hardwood trees. Caterpillars are toxic and should not be handled. The adults, which may carry some toxins, have organs which allow them to "vocalize." Also known as Hickory Tiger Moth.

Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa caryae Harris), Friendsville, Maryland, October 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Purple, Red-spotted (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Dorsal side: blue-green with iridescent colors on hindwings.
Ventral side: brown with two red marks on forewings, and red spots on hindwings.

Drinks sap, juice from rotting fruit, nectar from privet and viburnum. Inhabits forests and plains. Same species as White Admiral.

Skipper, European (Thymelicus lineola)
Dorsal side: orange with black edges and dark veins. Male has a black patch of scent cells on forewings.
Ventral side: orange on forewings, and gray on hindwings.

Drinks nectar from thistles, clover, and milkweed. Inhabits meadows, fields and pastures.

Skipper, Peck's (Polites peckius)
Dorsal side: brown with yellow-orange patches and scent cells on forewings for male, while female is darker with pale spots.
Ventral side: red-brown with a central yellow spot on hindwings.

Drinks nectar from clover, milkweed, and purple vetch. Inhabits meadows, yards, and marshes.


[photo, Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), Baltimore, Maryland] Skipper, Silver-spotted (Epargyreus clarus)
Dorsal side: black-brown with square yellow spots on forewings.
Ventral side: dark brown with silver-white mark across hindwings.

Drinks nectar from non-yellow flowers, including milkweed, clover, and blazing star. Inhabits woods, gardens, and fields.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), Baltimore, Maryland, August 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Zabulon Skipper butterfly (Poanes zabulon), Baltimore, Maryland] Skipper, Zabulon (Poanes zabulon)
Dorsal side: orange with brown-black edges for male, while female is brown with pale spots on forewings.
Ventral side: orange-yellow with brown outer edges, brown-red spots, and a yellow spot for male; while female is brown-red with some gray-purple and a white line on hindwings.

Drinks nectar from clover, blackberry, and thistle. Inhabits woodlands, parks, and gardens.

Zabulon Skipper butterfly (Poanes zabulon), Baltimore, Maryland, August 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Sulphur, Clouded (Colias philodice)
Dorsal side: yellow with black edges, as well as dark spots on forewings, and a silver spot on hindwings for male. Female is either white or else yellow with white-yellow spots in black edges.
Ventral side: yellow for male, and yellow or white for female. Brown-ringed spot on hindwings.

Drinks nectar of milkweed, butterfly bush, and coneflower. Inhabits meadows, yards, and alfalfa and clover fields.

Sulphur, Orange (Colias eurytheme)
Dorsal side: yellow and orange with black edges for male, while female is yellow and has yellow spots through her black edges. Like the Clouded Sulphur, females also may be white in overall color. Dark spot on forewings.
Ventral side: yellow-orange with small black spots and a central silver spot.

Drinks nectar from milkweed, coneflower, and butterfly bush. Inhabits open areas, including alfalfa and clover fields, pastures, and meadows.


[photo, Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), Monkton, Maryland] Swallowtail, Black (Papilio polyxenes)
Dorsal side: black with orange-black spot on hindwings, and pale spot on forewings' edges. Male has a yellow band and spots across wings, while female has smaller yellow spots, as well as a large blue band on hindwings.
Ventral side: black, yellow, and blue.

Drinks nectar from clover, coneflowers, and milkweed. Inhabits gardens, fields, and marshes. Fastest swallowtail.

Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes), Monkton, Maryland, July 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus), Monkton, Maryland] Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger (Papilio glaucus)
Dorsal side: yellow with four black stripes and black edges for male, while female can be similarly colored (yellow morph), or black with black stripes (dark morph). Both female forms have a blue band on hindwings near tail. Male also has a few orange-red and blue spots near tail.
Ventral side: yellow and black with yellow spots along edges. Female shows some blue coloration on hindwings, as well as a row of orange spots.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus), Monkton, Maryland, July 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


Drinks nectar from cherry, lilac, and milkweed. Inhabits parks, gardens, and forests.

Swallowtail, Spicebush (Papilio troilus)
Dorsal side: black-brown with cream-colored spots along edges. Hindwings have green-blue patch for male, and an orange spot and a blue patch for female. The subspecies Papilio troilus ilioneus may have yellow spots instead of blue, as well as blue marks down the tail.
Ventral side: black with two rows of orange spots, and green or blue coloration between rows.

Drinks nectar from coneflower, milkweed, and butterfly bush. Inhabits meadows, gardens, and swamps.

Swallowtail, Zebra (Eurytides marcellus)
Dorsal side: white-green with black stripes, and two blue dots and a red dot on hindwings.
Ventral side: similar to dorsal side, but also runs a red stripe across hindwings.

Triangular wings and very long tails. Drinks nectar from blueberry, verbena, and milkweed, as well as water from sand. Inhabits swamps, fields, and woodlands.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
Dorsal side: orange and black with a thin black line cutting through the dark veins on hindwings, and white dots along black edges.
Ventral side: similar to dorsal side.

Drinks nectar from milkweed, goldenrod, and thistle. Inhabits areas near water, meadows, and fields.

White, Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
Dorsal side : black with white stripes, as well as blue and red marks on hindwings.
Ventral side: brown-red with white stripes.

Drinks tree sap, juice from rotting fruit, nectar from privet and viburnum, and aphid secretions. Inhabits forests. Same species as Red-Spotted Purple.

White, Cabbage (Pieris rapae)
Dorsal side: white with black patch on forewings' tip. Male has one black spot on forewings, while female has two.
Ventral side: gray-yellow with faint black dots or specks.

Drinks nectar from dandelion, mustard, and mint. Inhabits gardens, parks, and fields.

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