Nevada Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help


picture of a Pearl Crescent butterfly, part of the Nevada butterflies collection.

One look down the list might surprise butterfly enthusiasts who never thought of Nevada as a butterfly hot spot. The types of butterflies in Nevada are dependent on Nevada Geography. From the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Toiyabe Range in Central Nevada to the deserts and the large metropolitan areas like Las Vegas, butterflies abound.

This introduction to Nevada butterflies provides a list of the species in the state arranged according to family. Fortunately for butterfly identification purposes, most of the families are differentiated by wing color.

Limited space means only a few butterfly pictures can be presented here. Visitors looking for additional butterfly pictures and identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.
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.

All four or the Orangetips look similar, they have different geographical locations in the state. Look for a white butterfly with orange spots on the top of the wings in early spring in the valleys and early summer in the mountains.

The picture shows a Pine White butterfly. They are common in forest areas and their larvae feed on trees in the pine family. Becker’s Whites and Checkered Whites are more common in the fields and desert areas around Las Vegas.

Barred Yellow butterfly. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.

Desert Orangetip
Pacific Orangetip
Stella Orangetip
Southwestern Orangetip
Gray Marble
Large Marble
Desert Marble
California Marble
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Southern Dogface
White Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Boisduval’s Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Mimosa Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of Boisduval's blue butterflies
Nevada is one of a handful of states where blue butterfly diversity outpaces hairstreak diversity. Because of their small size, it’s important to get macro shots of the side view or shots of the underwings of the blue butterflies in order to accurately identify them.

The picture shows a mating pair of Boisduval’s blue.

Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Small Dotted-Blue
Bernardino Dotted-Blue
Intermediate Dotted-Blue
Ellis’ Dotted-Blue
Bauer’s Dotted-Blue
Pacific Dotted-Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Mojave Dotted-Blue
Pallid Dotted-Blue
Spalding’s Dotted-Blue
Ceraunus Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Northern Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Sierra Nevada Blue
Friday’s Blue
Colorado Hairstreak
Golden Hairstreak
Great Purple Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
comstocki Desert Green
Nelson’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Desert Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Leda Ministreak
Tailed Copper
Lustrous Copper
Edith’s Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Dorcas Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a California Sisters butterfly
Arizona visitors, especially those from the East Coast, would do great things for their butterfly life list by keeping their eyes peeled for the Admirals, Sisters and Cherkerspots. Many of the species, such as the California Sister in the picture and not native to areas of the East Coast.

Other species, such as snouts, monarch, queens and some of the fritillary are common across the east.

Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Nokomis Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Carol’s Fritillary
Callippe Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Pacific Fritillary
Lorquin’s Admiral
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Arizona Sister
California Sister
Hackberry Emperor
Dotted Checkerspot
Arachne Checkerspot
Fulvia Checkerspot
Leanira Checkerspot
California Patch
Bordered Patch
Brush footed
Hoffmann’s Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
California Crescent
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Phaon Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Field Crescent
Texan Crescent
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Colon Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Tropical Buckeye
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Common Ringlet
Canyonland Satyr
Ridings’ Satyr
Chryxus Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Nevada Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Pale Swallowtail butterfly
Nevada also has a nice diversity of swallowtail butterflies. The Parnassians and Old World Swallowtail would be the best finds for East Coast visitors. The picture shows a Pale Swallowtail. It looks very similar to the Tiger Swallowtails with and more pale yellow wing color.
  • Clodius Parnassian
  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail

Nevada Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a Fatal Metalmark butterfly
Metalmarks species range in size as well as having a variety of wing patterns and behaviors. One quick tip for differentiating between sexes is to look at the legs. Females have three pairs of walking legs, but males have two. Their front legs are reduced. The picture shows a fatal metalmark.
  • Fatal Metalmark
  • Wright’s Metalmark
  • Mormon Metalmark
  • Sonoran Metalmark
  • Palmer’s Metalmark