North Carolina hosts about one hundred and seventy five butterfly species, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the official state butterfly.
Gratography members can easily contribute to the North Carolina butterflies collection by registering today.
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Most North Carolina butterfly enthusiasts spend a lifetime trying to differentiate between the Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur and Cloudless Sulphur. First, the only real difference between the Clouded and Orange Sulphur is the presence of more orange on the top of the wing for Orange Sulphurs. In instances where a butterfly is old and has lost wing color that can be difficult.
The Cloudless Sulphur pictured has a more busy pattern on the side wing.
Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
West Virginia White
Great Southern White
Large Orange Sulphur
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
No differentiation of the Gossamer Wing butterflies is perfect. The Eastern-tailed blue, pictured, for example, has a hair like appendage at the bottom of the wing similar to hairstreaks. North Carolina’s Coral Hairstreak does not have that hair like appendage.
Keeping those caveats in mind, the state does support a nice and diverse population of blues, coppers and hairstreaks that are listed below.
Great Purple Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
Brush Footed Butterflies
Like many Southern states, North Carolina has a very diverse Brush Footed butterfly population. Many of the species easily take to back yard butterfly gardens. Hackberry Emperors, for example, can be found wherever the caterpillar host plant, Hackberry, grows.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
The Black Swallowtail identification using the top of the wings starts by noting that males have two lines of yellow dots. Blue dots between the yellow dots may be absent. Females show a less definite inner line of yellow with separate spot near tip of wing.
They are very common across North Carolina because the larval host plant is the very common parsley.
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Zebra Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Palamedes Swallowtail
- Giant Swallowtail
The Little Metalmark is the state’s only metalmark species.
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.