Montana Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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picture of a Mourning Cloak, the official state Butterfly of Montana and part of the Montana butterflies series

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Big Sky country also had sufficient land mass to host an incredible two hundred butterfly species. That’s quit a large number for a northern state. The picture shows a Mourning Cloak, the official state butterfly.

The following list contains butterfly pictures and descriptions of some additional representative species.

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

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Becker's White butterfly, credit, Bob Danley Flickr
Many states in the north, including Montana, have a balanced diversity of butterfly species in the family Pieridae. They are easy to initially identify by their mostly white or yellow wings.

The picture shows a Becker’s White. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.

Stella Orangetip
Large Marble
Olympia Marble
Desert Marble
Northern Marble
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Western Sulphur
Christina Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Mead’s Sulphur
Labrador Sulphur
Giant Sulphur
Pelidne Sulphur
Pink-edged Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Ruddy Copper butterfly.

Montana’s large geographical area, coupled with its diverse habitats makes it a great place for the Gossamer Wing butterflies. Blues, hairstreaks and coppers abound. All tourists, especially those in the area for fly fishing need do little more than look at the grass and brush that surround the streams they visit and they will easily find a handful of different species.

The picture shows a Ruddy Copper butterfly.

Marine Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Summer Azure
Echo Azure
Hops Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Northern Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Arctic Blue
Cassiope Blue
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Nelson’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Moss’ Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
American Copper
Lustrous Copper
Gray Copper
Edith’s Copper
Bronze Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper
Mariposa Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a Western Meadow fritillary
With close to two dozen fritillary species and Wood Nymph/Satyr species, Montana is the place to go for these Brush Foots. The Fritillary species will be the most difficult to identify.

Tourists would be advised to snap as many side view and top view of the same Fritillary so that they can have time at home learning to identify them. Fortunately, they are abundant in most areas in the summer months, and they perch on flowers and branches, making them good photographic subjects. The picture shows a Western Meadow Fritillary.

Brush footed
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Edwards’ Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Callippe Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Atlantis Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Hydaspe Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Bog Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Frigga Fritillary
Relict Fritillary
Pacific Fritillary
Freija Fritillary
Alberta Fritillary
Astarte Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple
arthemis White Admiral
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Lorquin’s Admiral
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Rockslide Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
Brush footed
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Field Crescent
Gillette’s Checkerspot
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Colon Checkerspot
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Oreas Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Eyed Brown
Hayden’s Ringlet
Common Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Magdalena Alpine
Common Alpine
Red-disked Alpine
Yellow-dotted Alpine
Colorado Alpine
Ridings’ Satyr
Wyoming Satyr
Polixenes Arctic
Jutta Arctic
Melissa Arctic
White-veined Arctic
Chryxus Arctic
Alberta Arctic
Uhler’s Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of an Indra Swallowtail
  • Clodius Parnassian
  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail

Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a Mormon Metalmark butterfly
Montana host one Metalmark species, the Mormon 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.