Nebraska Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

picture of a Painted Lady butterfly, part of the Nebraska butterflies collection

Thanks for visiting Nebraska butterflies. The picture shows a Painted Lady, a very common species in gardens across the state. They, along with the other Vanessa species are migratory butterflies like the Monarchs. Each year they fly to southern areas for the winter and return to breeding grounds in the north.

Nebraska might be one of the last states anyone might guess as a butterfly hot spot. Geography explains the designation. It’s Midwest location. Taking into account its proximity to the eastern slopes and fields of the Rocky Mountains means it attracts butterflies from the east, north and south.

This introduction to Nebraska butterflies provides a list of the species along with a handful of butterfly pictures. It divides into families which incidentally also by default organizes the butterflies often by wing color

Visitors looking for additional butterfly pictures and identification help can press the green butterfly button.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Pine White Butterfly
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. The

The Florida White and the Spring White are good examples of how butterfly diversity in the state builds up over time. Florida Whites are rare strays from the East and are occasionally documented in the state. Spring Whites are Western species that reach the end of their range in western Nebraska.

The picture shows a Pine White butterfly. It’s another of the Western spillover species. Pines and other conifers are larval host plants.

picture of a Lyside Sulphur
A green tint to the wings is a good field identification clue for the Lyside Sulphur. It’s a Southern stray into the state. Clouded Suphurs and Orange Sulphurs are probably the most widespread species.

Falcate Orangetip
Large Marble
Olympia Marble
Florida White
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Christina Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Yellow Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Tailed Orange
Little Yellow
Mimosa Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a Spring Azure butterfly
It’s a bit out of place for a state to have more blues than hairstreaks and coppers. That’s an interesting tid bit that makes Nebraska butterflies exciting.

Azures can be identified by unmarked, light-blue upperwings. Females have wide dark edges around the forewings. From the side view picture, the underwings show a white background, coupled with a variable number of small black spots and chevrons across the top of the wings. Basically there are spring and summer varieties, depending on when they appear.

Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Summer Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Rita Dotted-Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Lupine Blue
Western Green Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Leda Ministreak
American Copper
Gray Copper
Bronze Copper
Ruddy Copper
Purplish Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of an American Lady butterfly
Tourists and residents alike see brush footed species more than species from any other family. Many of the specie have orange in the wing and commonly fly in parks, gardens and residential areas. The list of Nebraska butterflies in the brush footed family is lengthy.

Fun Fact: Nebraska hosts all four of the native Vanessa species, the American Lady, the West Coast Lady, the Painted Lady and the Red Admiral. The picture shows an American Lady butterfly. Notice the white spot in the forewing. That is the best field identification clue.

Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Julia Heliconian
Zebra Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Edwards’ Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Callippe Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Red-spotted Purple
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Ruddy Daggerwing
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor
Common Mestra
Dotted Checkerspot
Fulvia Checkerspot
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Bordered Patch
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Brush footed
Vesta Crescent
Painted Crescent
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Phaon Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Field Crescent
Texan Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
White Peacock
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Satyr Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Tropical Leafwing
Goatweed Leafwing
Northern Pearly-eye
Eyed Brown
Common Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Ridings’ Satyr
Uhler’s Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Giant Swallowtail
Any butterfly enthusiast who might want to photograph as many swallowtail specie as possible would do well to visit Nebraska. It ranks at the top of the list for swallowtail diversity.

The picture shows a Giant Swallowtail. It’s easily identified by its very large size and the wide, yellow stripe that is continuous across both upper forewings. Another fun swallowtail fact. Their caterpillars have bright red or orange “horns” they can pop out of their foreheads when alarmed. The horns serve as defense mechanisms.

  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Zebra Swallowtail
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Palamedes Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail