Idaho Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

picture of a Monarch Butterfly the state butterfly of Idaho and part of the Idaho butterflies collection

Thanks for visiting Idaho butterflies.

This Pacific Northwest state hosts close to one hundred and seventy five butterfly species, putting it in the above average category for state butterfly diversity.

The list of Idaho butterflies is split according to families. It also includes pictures of some representative species. The top picture, for example, shows the Monarch butterfly, the official state butterfly.

Anyone looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of an Orangetip butterfly, part of the Idaho butterflies series
Habitat diversity and a geographical position near the Rocky mountains makes Idaho a nice area for Pieridae species.

Like some other Northwestern and Western states, there’s a balance between the whites and yellows. The picture shows a colorful Orangetip species.

picture of a Western Sulphur butterfly, part of the Idaho butterflies series
When it comes to the nine yellow butterflies in the Colias genera, identification can be rough.

The picture shows the Western Sulphur. It has cleaner wings (lack of pattern) than the more common Clouded and Cloudless Sulphurs.

Pacific Orangetip
Stella Orangetip
Large Marble
Desert Marble
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Western Sulphur
Christina Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Mead’s Sulphur
Giant Sulphur
Pelidne Sulphur
Pink-edged Sulphur
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of an Acmon blue butterfly
There’s always something happening with the Gossamar Wing butterflies in Idaho. The list indicates that visitors can go almost anywhere in the state and snap a new picture of blues, hairstreaks and coppers.

Identification of blue butterflies can range from fairly easy. Look for chevrons on the underside of the wings for Azures. Tailed-blues are the only blues with hairlike projections on the tails.

Other species have various numbers of orange spots along the bottom and/or tops of the wings. Melissa Blues, for example, have orange spots along both the upper and bottom wings. The Acmon Blue butterfly in the picture has orange spots on the bottom of the wings.

picture of a male purplish copper butterfly
The picture shows a Male Purplish Copper butterfly.

Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Northern Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Arctic Blue
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Nelson’s Hairstreak
Rosner’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Johnson’s Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Moss’ Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Tailed Copper
American Copper
Lustrous Copper
Gray Copper
Edith’s Copper
Bronze Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper
Mariposa Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a pacific fritillary butterfly
Spring comes late to most of Idaho. The brushfoot butterflies don’t really begin having their full impact on the state until late May or early June.

A butterfly such as the Mourning Cloak overwinters in many areas of Idaho and therefore it’s one of the first signs of spring when it reappears on the landscape.

A look down the list shows multiple fritillaries, checkerspots and wood nymphs dominating the Idaho brush footed butterfly category.

Checkerspots can often be found in residential areas throughout the state. Most fritillary species are partial to the mountain areas. The picture shows a Pacific Fritillary.

Brush footed
Variegated Fritillary
Mexican Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Edwards’ Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Callippe Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Atlantis Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Hydaspe Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Frigga Fritillary
Relict Fritillary
Pacific Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
Lorquin’s Admiral
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Arizona Sister
Leanira Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
Brush footed
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Northern Crescent
Field Crescent
Gillette’s Checkerspot
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Colon Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Zephyr Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Hayden’s Ringlet
Common Ringlet
Common Alpine
Ridings’ Satyr
Jutta Arctic
Chryxus Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of an Anise Swallowtail butterfly
The majority of Idaho swallowtail butterflies have yellow wings, making identification a bit of a challenge. Subtle differences, for example, differentiate the Eastern, Western and Canadian Tiger Swallowtails.

The Western Tiger Swallowtail has a state wide distribution, compared to the limited distribution for the two other species.

The picture shows an Anise swallowtail. It also has a state wide distribution.

The two Parnassian species have transparent wings that often have a white coloration. They too have a state wide distribution.

  • Clodius Parnassian
  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail

Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a mormon metalmark
The Mormon Metalmark is the state’s sole metalmark species.