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
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.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple or
astyanax Astyanax’ Red-spotted
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
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.
Great Purple Hairstreak
Olive’ Juniper Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
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 common Cabbage White butterfly. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
Great Southern White
Large Orange Sulphur
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
- 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.