Arizona Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help


Chiricahua White butterfly, part of the Arizona butterflies section

It’s Arizona butterflies galore.

Like it’s neighbors California and New Mexico, Arizona is filled with butterflies. The mountains of the north and the deserts of the south support two sets of butterflies species making the state butterfly diverse.

The Sonoran Desert, for example, hosts 250 butterfly species. Many are well known species in the Southwest such as the Queen butterfly. Others such as the Chiricahua White in the top picture are a must see species, endemic to the region.

This introduction to Arizona Butterflies presents a list of species divided according to families and consequently often wing color.

Visitors looking for additional butterfly pictures and identification help are invited to press the green butterflies button.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Tailed Orange butterfly, part of the Arizona butterflies section
Arizona butterfly diversity ranks second to none in the United States. Mountains in the south and north along with desert and generally warmer winters makes it a butterfly haven for many butterfly species common across the country along with regional specialties.

Arizona also hosts almost every yellow butterfly species. The list has twenty of them. The picture shows a Tailed Orange butterfly.

picture of a Desert Orangetip in Arizona
Photographing and documenting the three dozen white and yellow butterflies would be enough to keep any tourist happy for weeks.

In addition to the Chiricahua White, the list of white butterflies includes some other regional specialties. The picture shows a Desert Orangetip.

Desert Orangetip
Southwestern Orangetip
Sonoran Marble
Desert Marble
California Marble
Florida White
Pine White
Chiricahua White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Great Southern White
Howarth’s White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Yellow Angled-Sulphur
White Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Tailed Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Boisduval’s Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Tailed Orange
Little Yellow
Mimosa Yellow
Dina Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Leda Ministreak, part of the Arizona butterflies section
Arizona butterflies also means gossamer-wing butterflies. Family Lycaenidae divides into three groups, the blues, hairstreaks and coppers. The list shows over five dozen different species, so tourists will need an extended stay to insure they can even find and photography a small portion of them.

The picture at the top of the section shows a Leda Ministreak. It’s a Southwest specialty.

picture of an 'arizona Hairstreak butterfly, part of the Arizona butterflies section
This next picture shows an Arizona hairstreak, a state namesake with a beautiful set of green wings.

picture of a Ceranus Blue butterfly
When it comes to the blue butterflies, unless you are an expert it will be a very difficult challenge to sort through all the Dotted-blues in the state.

The other blue butterfly species are fairly easy to identify. The picture shows a Ceranus Blue butterfly.

Marine Blue
Cyna Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Small Dotted-Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Bernardino Dotted-Blue
Ellis’ Dotted-Blue
Bauer’s Dotted-Blue
Pacific Dotted-Blue
Mojave Dotted-Blue
Rita Dotted-Blue
Pallid Dotted-Blue
Spalding’s Dotted-Blue
Ceraunus Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Melissa Blue (includes Karner Blue)
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Arctic Blue
Colorado Hairstreak
Golden Hairstreak
Great Purple Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Desert Green Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Xami Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Desert Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Long-winged Greenstreak
Marius Hairstreak
Creamy Stripestreak
Ilavia Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Soapberry Hairstreak
Black Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Red-lined Scrub-Hairstreak
Yojoa Scrub-Hairstreak
Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak
Leda Ministreak
Clytie Ministreak
Gray Ministreak
Sonoran Hairstreak
Arizona Hairstreak
Tailed Copper
Ruddy Copper
Ferris’ Copper
Blue Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of an Arizona Sister butterfly
Almost one hundred brush footed butterflies call Arizona home. So many butterflies, so little time to find them all. Even hearing about the dozen Crescent species sounds a bit strange to seasoned butterfly watchers.

The picture shows an Arizona Sister. It’s related to the California Sister on the West Coast and the Band-celled Sister in Texas.

Brush footed
American Snout
Mexican Silverspot
Gulf Fritillary
Isabella’s Heliconian
Zebra Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary
Mexican Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Nokomis Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Tailed Cecropian
Blomfild’s Beauty
Red-spotted Purple or White Admiral
Arizona Red-spotted Purple
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Bredow’s Sister
Arizona Sister
Many-banded Daggerwing
Ruddy Daggerwing
Hackberry Emperor
Empress Leilia
Tawny Emperor
Dusky Emperor
Silver Emperor
Common Mestra
Dingy Purplewing
Blackened Bluewing
Brush footed
Glaucous Cracker
Black-patched Cracker
Dotted Checkerspot
Arachne Checkerspot
Eumeda (Medial) Patch
Rosita Patch
Theona Checkerspot
Black Checkerspot
Fulvia Checkerspot
Leanira Checkerspot
Silvery Checkerspot
California Patch
Bordered Patch
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Tiny Checkerspot
Elada Checkerspot
Vesta or Graphic Crescent
Painted Crescent
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Phaon Crescent
Mexican Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Field Crescent
Tulcis Crescent
Texan Crescent
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Tropical Buckeye
White Peacock
Question Mark
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Tropical Leafwing
Goatweed Leafwing
Angled Leafwing
Common Ringlet
Nabokov’s Satyr
Canyonland Satyr
Pine Satyr
Red Satyr
Ridings’ Satyr
Alberta Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph
Red-bordered Satyr
White Morpho

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a two-tailed Swallowtail, the official state butterfly of Arizona. butterfly
Arizona’s warmer climate makes for a diverse Swallowtail butterfly population. Over a dozen different species are documented. The picture shows a Two-tailed Swallowtail, the official state butterfly. They do lack the Parnassian species, because they are the more cold hardy of the swallowtail family species.
  • White-dotted Cattleheart
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Polydamas Swallowtail
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail
  • Three-tailed Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail
  • Broad-banded Swallowtail
  • Ruby-spotted Swallowtail

Arizona Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of an Arizona Metalmark
Many first time visitors to Arizona mightbe a bit confused about the identity of some rather ordinary looking butterflies, the Metalmarks. Metalmark butterflies are mostly a sub-tropical and tropical family. Metalmark diversity is at its highest in the Southwest. Arizona boasts over a dozen different species, including the Arizona Metalmark in the picture. Here’s the list.
  • Fatal Metalmark
  • Wright’s Metalmark
  • Arizona Metalmark
  • Bumblebee Metalmark
  • Maria’s Metalmark
  • Zela Metalmark
  • Ares Metalmark
  • Mormon Metalmark
  • Sonoran Metalmark
  • Palmer’s Metalmark
  • Hepburn’s Metalmark
  • Crescent Metalmark
  • Nais Metalmark