Rhode Island Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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picture of a sleepy orange butterfly, part of the Rhode Island butterflies collection

A small state in the north means Rhode Island butterflies number a bit less than the average for other states with larger territories. The state also does not designate an official state butterfly.

Regardless, visitors to the state have an opportunity to see a fairly stable population of common East Coast butterflies.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

Most states in the Northeast have more yellow butterflies than white butterflies in the Pieridae family, Rhode Island is no exception. The picture shows a Sleepy Orange butterfly.

Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.

Mustard White
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Little Yellow
Sleepy Orange

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a white M hairstreak butterfly
The paucity of blue butterflies in Rhode Island is a bit confusing. Tourists and residents can always look to the brush and flowers for the hairstreaks. Te picture shows a White M Hairstreak, a very common species throughout the Eastern United States.
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Summer Azure
Hessel’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Frosted Elfin
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Oak Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak
American Copper
Bronze Copper
Bog Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a question mark butterfly
Rhode Island gardens are filled with Brush Footed butterfly species from spring to fall. They mostly have orange color in the wings. The picture shows a Question Mark butterfly.
Brush footed
American Snout
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Atlantis Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple
arthemis White Admiral
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Hackberry Emperor
Silvery Checkerspot
Harris’ Checkerspot
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Brush footed
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Green Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
American Lady
Northern Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Appalachian Brown
Common Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail

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.