Florida Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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picture of a Zebra Longwing butterfly, the official state butterfly of Florida and part of the Florida butterflies series

Butterflies here, butterflies there, almost everywhere non-state residents on a typical beach vacation look, they experience the distinct pleasure of seeing and photographing many Florida butterflies they do not ordinarily see in their home state. The Zebra Longwing or Zebra Heliconian in the top picture is only one example. It’s also the official state butterfly, and it’s also a member of the brushfoot butterfly family.

Common Brushfoot butterflies such as Gulf Fritillaries, Monarchs, Queens, Crescents and Buckeyes visit most gardens around the state. The list shows all the Florida butterflies in the brushfoot family.

Brushfoots
Snouts
American Snout

Heliconians and Fritillaries
Gulf Fritillary
Julia
Zebra Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary

True Brushfoots
Silvery Checkerspot *R
‘Seminole’ Texan Crescent
Cuban Crescent *R
Phaon Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Question Mark
Eastern Comma *R
Mourning Cloak *R
American Lady
Painted Lady
Common Buckeye
Mangrove Buckeye
Tropical Buckeye *R
White Peacock
Malachite

True Brushfoots
Admirals – Relatives
Red-spotted Purple
Viceroy
Dingy Purplewing *R
Florida Purplewing *R
Ruddy Daggerwing

Leafwings
Florida Leafwing *E
Goatweed Leafwing

Emperors
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor

Satyrs and Wood Nymphs
Southern Pearly-eye
Creole Pearly-eye *R
Appalachian Brown
Gemmed Satyr
Carolina Satyr
Georgia Satyr
Little Wood-Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph
Monarch
Queen
Soldier

Florida Butterflies: Swallowtails


picture of a Palamedes Butterfly
With ten documented species, visitors will never have to look far to see Swallowtails, the physically largest of the butterflies. They constantly fly around gardens and all places with flowers.

The top picture shows a Palamedes Swallowtail. Look for it around swampy areas everywhere in Florida with the exception of the Panhandle.

picture of a Zebra Swallowtail
Of course, butterfly enthusiasts can never get enough of swallowtails. Here’s the always fabulous Zebra Swallowtail butterfly.

  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Polydamas Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail
  • Schaus’ Swallowtail *E
  • Bahamian Swallowtail *R
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Palamedes Swallowtail

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows


picture of a Barred Yellow butterfly in Florida
In most areas of the state, tourists will also see a handful of Swallowtails, Yellows, Hairstreaks and Brushfoots. They are the categories with the most species and the most wide ranging species. All states have different mixes of butterfly species, Florida is no exception. There are no Copper Butterflies in the state and only one Metalmark species, the Little Metalmark.

picture of a cloudless-sulphur butterfly
The whites and yellow butterflies technically belong to the same family, Pieridae. The top picture shows a Barred Yellow butterfly. The second picture shows a Cloudless Sulphur.

picture of a Great Southern White butterfly
Florida butterflies also include the Great Southern White in this group. The larger than average size and the blue tips at the end of the antenna are great field identification clues.

Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.

Whites
Florida White
Checkered White
Cabbage White
Great Southern White
Yellows
Orange Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Cloudless Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Statira Sulphur
Pink-spot Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Little Yellow
Mimosa Yellow *R
Dina Yellow *R
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues and Hairstreaks


picture of a Red-banded Hairstreak in Florida


picture of a White M Hairstreak in Florida
Pro-tip for tourists: keep your eyes peeled on the ground and around shrubs for the small Hairstreak butterflies. With almost two dozen different species documented in the state, multiple species can be found living around almost all tourist destinations. As a note, there are no documented copper butterfly species in the state.

The first picture shows a Red-banded Hairstreak. The second picture shows a White M Hairstreak. Note that it only takes a few different lines of orange color along the wings to differentiate the two Hairstreak species.

Many of these small butterflies share physical characteristics. Taking many pictures during an outing and then comparing the pictures later increases the chance of getting pictures of multiple species.

Hairstreaks
Atala *R
Great Purple Hairstreak
Amethyst Hairstreak *R
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak *R
Banded Hairstreak
King’s Hairstreak *R
Oak Hairstreak
Brown Elfin *R
Frosted Elfin *R
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Juniper Hairstreak
Hessel’s Hairstreak *R
White-M Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Martial Scrub-Hairstreak
Bartram’s Scrub-Hairstreak *E
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Disguised Scrub-Hairstreak *R
Fulvous Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Ministreak *R
Blues
Eastern Pygmy-Blue
Cassius Blue
Miami Blue *E
Nickerbean Blue *R
Ceraunus Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue *R
Spring Azure
Summer Azure

Endangered Butterflies of Florida


picture of a Schaus' Swallowtail, an endangered butterfly in Florida
Butterfly enthusiasts and long term Florida residents see the same species and a little bit more. For example, they have documented the presence of over one-hundred and fifty different Florida butterflies. Close to one-half of them fit into the skipper family, that consists of the predominantly small, brown winged butterflies that often go unnoticed by any but the rabid butterfly enthusiasts.

Long term Florida residents have also noticed dwindling butterfly populations as population growth and the economic growth that accompanies it, encroached on butterfly habitat. A few years back three native butterflies were designated as extinct, the Florida Zestos Skipper, the Rockland Meske’s Skipper, and the Keys Zarucco Skipper. Two more species, the Bahamian Swallowtails and the Nickerbean Blues no longer live in Florida, however there are some Caribbean populations.

A handful of Florida butterflies have also been listed as endangered, with the Miami Blue and the current public relations campaign to save it, serving as the poster child for the downward population trend. The picture shows the Shaus’ Swallowtail, another endangered species. Encouraging local residents and public officials to create butterfly gardens represents one element of the public relations campaign to keep Florida butterfly friendly.

The buttons underneath the text organize Florida butterflies into either family or color, using the assumption that many people use color as the first clue for identifying any butterfly species. Members are encouraged to post their butterfly pictures and stories in all the different categories. Help us build a top notch Florida butterfly identification resource.