Fun fact: Illinois butterflies constitute less than ten percent of the total Illinois Lepidoptera population. Of the approximately 2000 butterfly and moth species in the state, about 150 of them are butterflies. One of the, the very popular Monarch Butterfly, pictured, is the state’s official state butterfly.
In the Chicago areas, butterflies can be abundant in butterfly gardens. About twenty different species can live year to year in the metropolitian area because their caterpillars or pupa overwinter.
The section presents a list of Illinois butterflies divided by families. It is accompanied by some pictures of representative species.
Anyone looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. The picture shows a Barred Yellow butterfly. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
The picture shows a Bronze Copper. They can most often be found near areas with water, including roadside ditches and ponds across the state.
Great Purple Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
ontario Northern’ Southern
Brush Footed Butterflies
Illinois hosts a nice variety of Brush Footed butterflies, as shown in the following list. Visitors can often many of them in the larger metropolitan areas around areas with flowers.
Keep an eye out for the Painted Lady in the picture. It is one of the most common butterflies in the world, often refereed to as the Cosmopolitan butterfly. Its global range can be attributed to the fact that the caterpillars are not picky eaters and will feed from many host plants.
Great Spangled Fritillary
astyanax Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
The picture shows an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. They are very common because a variety of trees such as apple trees and cherry trees serve as larval hosts. Since they are basically the only swallowtail species in Illinois with yellow wings, identification is fairly straight forward. There’s always a catch. Some females have a dark form. They can be identified by the absence of white spots on the abdomen.
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Zebra Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Giant Swallowtail
Butterfly identification usually begins with color. So, the butterfly section is split into nine different categories based on wing color and/or the butterfly family to help all visitors and members easily categorize and document their butterfly pictures.