Maine Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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picture of a Satyr comma, par of the Maine butterflies series

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With approximately one hundred and twenty butterfly species, Maine ranks on the lower end of the butterfly diversity spectrum for US states.

While the number might be small in size, the people of Maine take their butterflies seriously. The publishers of the Maine butterfly atlas recently said,

several of Maine’s butterfly species are of regional, national, and global conservation concern. Of special note is the relatively high proportion (~20%) of Maine butterflies that are currently considered Historic or Extirpated (9 spp.), or state-listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern (15 spp.), a result consistent with global trends elsewhere for the group

This page provides a current list of Maine butterflies with pictures covering a sample of representative species.

Visitors looking for additional butterfly identification help can press the green butterflies button.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a male Cabbage White butterfly
Cabbage White butterflies are the most common of the white butterflies. They fly around residential gardens from spring through summer. Females, like the one in the picture, have two black spots on an otherwise white wing. Males have one black spot on the wing. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
Mustard White
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Pink-edged Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Bog Copper Butterfly
Unlike many states on the East Coast, Maine does host a fair number of copper butterflies. The picture shows a Bog Copper.
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Summer Azure
Silvery Blue
Northern Blue
Greenish Blue
Arctic Blue
Hessel’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Frosted Elfin
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Bog Elfin
Oak Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Early Hairstreak
American Copper
Bronze Copper
Bog Copper
Dorcas Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of an Eastern Comma butterfly
Maine’s location in the northern part of the United States, along with a mountain terrain means that fritillaries and commas are going to be the dominant species. They both have orange shaded wings. The picture shows an Eastern Comma.

Species from both genera can occasionally be found in gardens and residential areas. In more populated areas, the remainder of the Maine brush footed butterflies are commonly seen in gardens and residential areas. They are fairly easy to photography as they nectar on flowers.

Brush footed
American Snout
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Atlantis Fritillary
Bog Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Frigga Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
White Admiral
arthemis White Admiral
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Silvery Checkerspot
Harris’ Checkerspot
Brush footed
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
American Lady
Northern Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Appalachian Brown
Common Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Polixenes Arctic
Jutta Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Black Swallowtail butterfly
Four of the six swallowtail butterflies that live in Maine have dark color wings. The picture shows a Black Swallowtail. The small light spots on the otherwise dark abdomen serve as a good field identification clue.
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail

Maine Butterflies: Other

picture of an Arctic Skipper butterfly
Metalmarks are not a common East Coast butterfly family, and there are no recorded species in Maine. Otherwise, Maine does host approximately three dozen skipper butterflies. The picture shows an Arctic Skipper.

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.