Thanks for visiting Louisiana butterflies.
The state’s approximately one hundred and fifty butterfly species puts it in the middle of the state butterfly diversity spectrum. Large areas with grassy coverings make it especially fertile ground for Skipper butterflies, whose larvae depend mostly on native grasses.
In total, Louisiana hosts approximately five dozen skipper species, that, for the most part divided into two types that can initially be identified by their wing position at rest. The common name spread wing skippers, for example refers to the fact that their wings are spread while they nectar on flowers.
The grass skippers, on the other hand can often be found with their wings closed. It’s important to not think of them as opposites in terms of wing position. Quite often the grass skippers can be seen slightly opening their wings. However, they do not lay their wings flat.
The video shows the White-striped Longtail. Despite the fact that the video shows it on the flowers with closed wings, it belongs to a separate group of skippers called dicots because their larvae do not consume grass. It’s one of three Louisiana butterflies that grow the extra long tails.
This introduction to Louisiana butterflies provides a list of the native species, divided into families. In fact, butterfly families and genera serve as a great identification guides due to their similar physical characteristics such as wing color and patterns. For example, the Julia Heliconia in the picture has distinctly long, thin orange wings. That places it in the brush foot family. As noted by the video, skippers mostly have brown wings.
Space limitations mean that only a few butterfly pictures can be presented. Please press the green butterflies button for additional butterfly pictures, videos and identification help.
Louisiana Butterflies: Brush Footed Typical Garden Butterflies
Recently Louisiana named the Gulf Fritillary as the official state butterfly. It belongs to the brush footed family. Large orange shaded wings represents the best initial field identification clue for these family butterflies.
Of course there are exceptions to the orange wing identification trick. The next picture, for example, shows a Southern Pearly Eye, one of the Wood Nymph species that call the state home. Typically their wings are more brown shaded.
The following sets of brush footed butterflies shows some variations in the wing colors and patterns of many Louisiana butterflies.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Silver Bordered Fritillary
The list below rounds out the brush-footed butterfly species in the state.
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Louisiana Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Louisiana hosts a large number of butterflies with yellow wings that belong to the family Pieridae. The picture shows an Orange sulphur, a very common species.
Only a handful of white butterflies have been documented in the state. Everyone knows the cabbage white. It’s a European import that is found in every neighborhood that has a back yard garden.
The larvae consume leaves in the cabbage family. They are very common back yard vegetables.
The picture shows a Great Southern White. Because it is a southern species visitors from the north can snap a quick picture and add it to their life list. Look for the blue tips of the antenna as a good field identification clue.
Great Southern White
Large Orange Sulphur
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
The blue butterflies are plentiful wherever on travels. The picture shows a Cassius Blue. It’s a good find for visitors from the West or North because it’s primarily a southern specialty.
Hairstreaks dominate the Louisiana Gossamer Wing category in the state. The picture shows the very common Mallow Scrub Hairstreak.
Great Purple Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
Northern’ Southern Hairstreak
Louisiana Butterflies: Swallowtails
For a southern state, Louisiana hosts a relatively small number of swallowtail species. They are all very common species in neighboring states.
The picture shows a pair of Spicebush Swallowtails. They are one of the four species with dark wings.
Identifying the four species can be tricky. Take a top of the wings view and a side of the wings view for the best field identification clues.
If you are looking at the Spicebush Swallowtail from a top of the wings view, there are light blue/white marks around the edges. If you are looking at it from a side view of the wings take a look at the orange spots. There are two rows. The abdomen also has dots on it.
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Polydamas Swallowtail
- Zebra Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Palamedes Swallowtail
- Giant Swallowtail