Louisiana Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

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.

picture of a Julia Heliconia female butterfly, part of the Louisiana butterflies series

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

picture of a Gulf fritillary, the state butterfly of Louisiana, part of the Louisiana butterflies series
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.

picture of a Southern Pearly Eye
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.

Brush footed
picture of an American Snout butterfly
American Snout

picture of a White Peacock butterfly, Louisiana butterflies
White Peacock

picture of a Mourning Cloak butterfly
Mourning Cloak

picture of a Pearl Crescent butterfly
Pearl Crescent

picture of a Texas Crescent butterfly
Texas Crescent

picture of a side view of a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly
Great Spangled Fritillary

picture of a Silver Bordered Fritillary butterfly
Silver Bordered Fritillary

picture of a Monarch butterfly, top view
Monarch Butterfly

picture of a side view of a Queen butterfly, top view
Queen Butterfly

Brush footed
picture of a Common Buckeye butterfly
Common Buckeye

picture of a Red Admiral butterfly
Red Admiral

picture of an American Lady butterfly, side view
American Lady

picture of a Viceroy butterfly

picture of a Red-spotted Purple butterfly
Red-spotted Purple

picture of a side view of a Hackberry Emperor butterfly
Hackberry Emperor

picture of a Tawny Emperor butterfly
Tawny Emperor

picture of an Eastern Comma butterfly
Eastern Comma

picture of an Question Mark butterfly
Question Mark

Many of the species in the next set of pictures are commonly seen in residential areas and gardens around the larger cities such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Note the large percentage with orange color in the wings. So many species with similar color wings can make for difficult identification.

The list below rounds out the brush-footed butterfly species in the state.

Brush footed
Zebra Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary
Diana Fritillary
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Common Mestra
Gorgone Checkerspot
Bordered Patch
Phaon Crescent
Brush footed
Goatweed Leafwing
Creole Pearly-eye
Appalachian Brown
Gemmed Satyr
Georgia Satyr
Little Wood-Satyr
Carolina Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph

Louisiana Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of an Orange Sulphur, Louisiana butterflies
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.

picture of a Great Southern White butterfly, Louisiana butterflies
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.

Falcate Orangetip
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Great Southern White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Southern Dogface
White Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Little Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Cassius Blue butterfly
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.

picture of a Mallow Scrub Hairstreak, Louisiana butterflies
Hairstreaks dominate the Louisiana Gossamer Wing category in the state. The picture shows the very common Mallow Scrub Hairstreak.

Cassius Blue
Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Summer Azure
Ceraunus Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Great Purple Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Frosted Elfin
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Oak Hairstreak
Northern’ Southern Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
King’s Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Dusky-blue Groundstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak

Louisiana Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a pair of Pipevine Swallowtails mating, Louisiana butterflies
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