Washington DC Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

picture of a sleepy orange butterfly. part of the Washington DC butterflies series

For such a small physical area, Washingto DC, the nation’s capitol, is actually a nice place to track butterflies. DC butterflies, it seems, depend more on the flowers are warmth than they do for area.

Tourists can keep their eyes on flowers as well as monuments and come away with nice pictures.

This introduction to DC butterflies divides the species into families and subsequently wing color. The limited number of butterfly pictures presented are supplemented by a more detailed field guide found by pressing the green butterfly button.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a sleepy orange butterfly. part of the Washington DC butterflies series
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. Most states have more of the yellow butterfly species, Washington DC is no exception.

In the white butterflies category the Cabbage White is going to be the most conspicuous species. The caterpillars feed on plants in the cabbage family. Since they are very popular garden vegetbles, Cabbage White butterflies fly throughout the city’s neighborhoods from spring through fall.

The top picture shows a Sleepy Orange butterfly. It’s a southern species and during the summer when DC is a more sleepy type of town, it fits in perfectly.

Falcate Orangetip
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Little Yellow
Sleepy Orange

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Red Banded Hairstreak butterfly
A small territory partially explains Washington DC butterflies and the limited number of blue butterfly species. Otherwise, it has a healthy number of Hairstreak butterflies and Copper Butterflies. The picture shows a Red-banded Hairstreak.
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Summer Azure
Juniper Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Frosted Elfin
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Oak Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak
American Copper
Bronze Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a Common Buckeye butterfly
The Common Buckeye butterfly is so common, it shows up in residential areas around the country. Visitors to Washington DC will feel right at home when they spot one.
Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple
White Admiral
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor
Silvery Checkerspot
Pearl Crescent
Brush footed
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Gray Comma
Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
American Lady
Appalachian Brown
Little Wood-Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph

Washington DC Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar
As tourists walk through the nation’s capital city, they can stay on the lookout for Spicebush. It’s the larval plant for Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies. The picture shows a caterpillar. Following tradition, many of the swallowtail caterpillars have a funky look.
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Palamedes Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail