Missouri Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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picture of an American Snout, part of the Missouri butterflies series

The show me state has a nice diversity of butterflies to show their visitors. In fact, Missouri butterflies hover around the two hundred species mark.

The question that Missouri tourists might ask, where to find Missouri butterflies, has been partially answered by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Natural habitats in Missouri that meet that description include prairies, glades and fens. A pasture of virtually a single species of non-native grass, while it will be sunny and open, will not supply the needs of most insects. The same can be said of most urban lawns, unless insect-friendly plants are included in nearby plantings.

The picture at the top of the page shows a close up of an American Snout. They can sometimes be found in great numbers around the state, depending on how well their initial broods further south develop. Large numbers of the migrate north through the season for their second breeding.

This page provides pictures of a few representative species of native butterflies. Individuals looking for additional butterfly identification information can press the green butterflies button.

Missouri Butterflies: Brush Foots

picture of an American Lady butterfly
A nice variety of fritillary, checkerspot, crescent and wood nyph species means that visitors to the Show Me state can keep their cameras on so Missouri can show them their butterfly diversity. The picture shows an American Lady butterfly, one of the members of the popular Vanessa genera. The white dot on the top wing serves as a great field ID clue.
Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Julia Heliconian
Zebra Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary
Diana Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple or
astyanax Astyanax’ Red-spotted
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor
Common Mestra
Arachne Checkerspot
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Bordered Patch
Harris’ Checkerspot
Painted Crescent
Phaon Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Cuban Crescent
Texan Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
White Peacock
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
American Lady
Tropical Leafwing
Goatweed Leafwing
Southern Pearly-eye
Northern Pearly-eye
Creole Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Appalachian Brown
Common Ringlet
Gemmed Satyr
Little Wood-Satyr
Carolina Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a female Purplish Copper Butterfly
Many of the Gossamer wing butterflies in Missouri are common species from coast to coast. In the Blue category, Azures and Silvery Blues fit that description. Great Purple Hairstreaks and Juniper Hairstreaks also fit that description. However, most of the Hairstreak butterflies in the state are common only in the eastern areas.

The Purplish Copper butterfly in the picture can also be found on the West Coast.

Cassius Blue
Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Summer Azure
Dusky Azure
Appalachian Azure
Silvery Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Miami Blue
Melissa Blue
Great Purple Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Olive’ Juniper Hairstreak
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Oak Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Soapberry Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak
American Copper
Gray Copper
Bronze Copper
Purplish Copper

Whites and Yellows

picture of a Cabbage White butterfly
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. The picture shows a common Cabbage White butterfly. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
Falcate Orangetip
Olympia Marble
Florida White
Pine White
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Great Southern White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Little Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Palamedes Swallowtail
Missouri shares all of the Swallowtail butterfly speceies common in the Midwest, and probably throughout the eastern portion of the United States. The picture shows the very common Palamedes Swallowtail. It’s one of five species with dark wings. Look for the stripes on the abdomen for a better identification clue.
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Polydamas Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Ozark Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Palamedes Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail

Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a Swamp Metalmark
  • Northern Metalmark
  • Swamp Metalmark

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. Anyone looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.