Thanks for visiting Mississippi butterflies. A small territory with mostly lowland plains explains the comparatively low butterfly diversity in the state.
Approximately one hundred and fifty species, including the Skipper butterflies have been documented.
That does not mean there’s a lack of Mississippi butterflies. In fact large numbers fly around the lowlands and in residential areas for most parts of the year.
According to the extension service of Mississippi State University, planning a butterfly garden to enjoy these creatures is easy.
The Master Gardeners at the Lee County Extension Office invite residents to check out their butterfly garden. They remind visitors
A Butterfly Garden needs both nectar plants for the adult butterfly to feed on and host plants for caterpillars. Butterflies will only lay their eggs on the host plant that each variety’s caterpillars will eat.
A variety of grasses, plants, shrubs and yes, even tress is all one needs to host butterflies throughout the year. For example, the Pawpaw, an easy to grow fruit tree is also the host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail. Plant one in the yard and you get both fruit and butterflies. It’s a great deal.
The top picture shows a Spicebush Swallowtail, the official state butterfly, and also the most common swallowtail species. Northern Spicebush is a perennial shrub that can grow in sun or partial shade. It’s the host plant and a great no fuss no bother shrub for the yard.
The following list provides a representative sample of pictures of Mississippi butterflies. Visitors looking for additional pictures and identification help can press the green butterflies button.
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. Like most of the states in the South, Mississippi has a move diverse yellow butterflies population.
The Great Southern White, pictured, is probably the most common of the white species, apart from the ever present Cabbage White. The following list documents the remainder of Mississippi’s Pieridae species.
The approximately one dozen yellow butterflies in the state are common in all states along the Gulf Coast. The picture shows a Southern Dogface. Their larvae consume leaves from a variety of plants in the pea family, including clover. It’s no wonder they are found in residential areas around the state who have clover growing in the yard.
Great Southern White
Large Orange Sulphur
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
When the talk is about Mississippi butterflies in th Gossamer Wing category, hairstreaks dominate the conversation. Combined there are less coppers and blues than their are hairstreak species. Still, compared to other Southern states, Mississippi lacks diversity in all the Gossamer Wing species. The picture shows a Pygmy Blue butterfly.
Many of the Hairstreak butterflies in Mississippi are common in the entire east. The picture shows a Dusky-blue Groundstreak, and exception to that general rule.
It’s a subtropical species found mostly in Texas with a little spillover to Louisiana and Mississippi. Notice the two hairs on the wings.
The caterpillars consumed dead leaves and fruit on the ground, so it’s kinda easy to see them in residential areas with wooded places nearby.
Great Purple Hairstreak
Eastern Pine Elfin
Brush Footed Butterflies
The presence of ten Wood Nymphs and Satyrs provides a bit of diversity in the Mississippi brush footed category. The remainder of the list is very similar to all the Gulf Coast states.
The picture shows a Pearl Crescent butterfly. Crescents rank among the smallest of the brush footed species. Look for them flying low to the ground.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Mississippi Butterflies: Swallowtails
Five of Mississippi’s swallowtail species have dark colored wings. The Palamedes Swallowtail, pictured can be most easily identified by the stripes on the abdomen.
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Zebra Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
- Spicebush Swallowtail
- Palamedes Swallowtail
- Giant Swallowtail
Only one metalmark, the Little Metalmark flies in Mississippi.