Thanks for visiting Nebraska butterflies. The picture shows a Painted Lady, a very common species in gardens across the state. They, along with the other Vanessa species are migratory butterflies like the Monarchs. Each year they fly to southern areas for the winter and return to breeding grounds in the north.
Nebraska might be one of the last states anyone might guess as a butterfly hot spot. Geography explains the designation. It’s Midwest location. Taking into account its proximity to the eastern slopes and fields of the Rocky Mountains means it attracts butterflies from the east, north and south.
This introduction to Nebraska butterflies provides a list of the species along with a handful of butterfly pictures. It divides into families which incidentally also by default organizes the butterflies often by wing color
Visitors looking for additional butterfly pictures and identification help can press the green butterfly button.
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. The
The Florida White and the Spring White are good examples of how butterfly diversity in the state builds up over time. Florida Whites are rare strays from the East and are occasionally documented in the state. Spring Whites are Western species that reach the end of their range in western Nebraska.
The picture shows a Pine White butterfly. It’s another of the Western spillover species. Pines and other conifers are larval host plants.
A green tint to the wings is a good field identification clue for the Lyside Sulphur. It’s a Southern stray into the state. Clouded Suphurs and Orange Sulphurs are probably the most widespread species.
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
It’s a bit out of place for a state to have more blues than hairstreaks and coppers. That’s an interesting tid bit that makes Nebraska butterflies exciting.
Azures can be identified by unmarked, light-blue upperwings. Females have wide dark edges around the forewings. From the side view picture, the underwings show a white background, coupled with a variable number of small black spots and chevrons across the top of the wings. Basically there are spring and summer varieties, depending on when they appear.
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Western Green Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Brush Footed Butterflies
Tourists and residents alike see brush footed species more than species from any other family. Many of the specie have orange in the wing and commonly fly in parks, gardens and residential areas. The list of Nebraska butterflies in the brush footed family is lengthy.
Fun Fact: Nebraska hosts all four of the native Vanessa species, the American Lady, the West Coast Lady, the Painted Lady and the Red Admiral. The picture shows an American Lady butterfly. Notice the white spot in the forewing. That is the best field identification clue.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
West Coast Lady
Any butterfly enthusiast who might want to photograph as many swallowtail specie as possible would do well to visit Nebraska. It ranks at the top of the list for swallowtail diversity.
The picture shows a Giant Swallowtail. It’s easily identified by its very large size and the wide, yellow stripe that is continuous across both upper forewings. Another fun swallowtail fact. Their caterpillars have bright red or orange “horns” they can pop out of their foreheads when alarmed. The horns serve as defense mechanisms.
- Rocky Mountain Parnassian
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Zebra Swallowtail
- Old World Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Anise Swallowtail
- Indra Swallowtail
- Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Western Tiger Swallowtail
- Pale Swallowtail
- Two-tailed Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Palamedes Swallowtail
- Giant Swallowtail