Iowa Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

Shares 0

picture of a Pearl Crescent butterfly, part of the Iowa butterflies section

Thanks for visiting Iowa butterflies. The top picture shows a Pearl Crescent, one of the most widely distributed species in the state.

Gratography members can easily contribute their Iowa butterfly pictures and stories. Register today.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of an Orange Sulphur butterfly
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. The picture shows an Orange Sulphur Butterfly. With the exception of the Mexican Yellow, most of the Pieridae can be found throughout the state. The remainder of the Iowa Pieridae list follows.
Olympia Marble
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Mexican Yellow
Little Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Nelsons Juniper Hairstreak
Although small, the Juniper Hairstreaks are very attractive butterflies. They are typically found on and around cedar trees, the caterpillar hosts. It is distributed rather evenly in counties on the east and west parts of the state.

Many other Iowa blues, hairstreaks and coppers can be found in fields, forests and residential areas. The Marine Blue is probably the least common of the bunch, found only in a few counties.

Marine Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Summer Azure
Silvery Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Great Purple Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Henry’s Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak
American Copper
Gray Copper
Bronze Copper
Purplish Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a Goatweed Leafwing butterfly
Most of the butterflies that are common in residential areas and gardens throughout the state belong to the Brush footed category. The orange wings of many species such as Snouts, Monarchy, Queens, Fritillaries are a good indication of their being Brush Footed species.

The picture shows a Goatweed Leafwing, one of the few Brush Footed species with extended appendages at the bottom of the wings. Look for it in the counties that border the south end of the state.

Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple
arthemis White Admiral
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor
Common Mestra
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Bordered Patch
Brush footed
Pearl Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
American Lady
Goatweed Leafwing
Northern Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Common Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Zebra Swallowtail
Iowa hosts a small number of Swallowtail species. Three species are present throughout the state, the Black, Eastern Tiger SWallowtails. The picture is of a Zebra Swallowtail, a very uncommon species mostly found in one Southwestern County. Occasional strays can sometimes be found.
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail

Butterfly identification usually begins with color. The Iowa butterfly section is divided 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. Anyone looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.