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.

Estimates of butterfly populations in Las Vegas tend to differ by about ten species plus or minus. Generally about one hundred and twenty species are recorded in all of Clark County.

Areas such as Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston are the most butterfly diverse, and as advertised a quick drive from Las Vegas.

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.

No doubt the Mount Charleston blue butterfly, a subspecies of he more comma Shasta Blue, receives headlines because of its 2013 Endangered Listing.

The good news is that 5,214 acres of land in the Spring Mountains of near Clark County were designated as critical habitat. That makes the entire area a butterfly safe zone and great place checking out all of butterflies.

The picture at the top of the section shows a mating pair of Boisduval’s blue.

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.

See the following blue butterfly pictures as an example.

Blue Butterflies
picture of an Acmon Blue butterfly
Acmon Blue

picture of an Anna's Blue butterfly
Anna’s Blue

picture of an Arrowhead Blue butterfly
Arrowhead Blue

picture of a Boisduval's Blue butterfly
Boisduval’s Blue

picture of a Ceeranus Blue butterfly
Ceranus Blue

picture of an Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly
Eastern Tailed Blue

picture of an Echo Blue butterfly
Echo Blue

picture of a Greenish Blue butterfly
Greenish Blue

Blue Butterflies
picture of a Marine Blue butterfly
Marine Blue

picture of a Melissa Blue butterfly
Melissa Blue

picture of a Reakirt's Blue butterfly
Reakirt’s Blue

picture of a Sierra Nevada Blue butterfly
Sierra Nevada Blue

picture of a Silvery Blue butterfly
Silvery Blue

picture of a Square-spotted Blue butterfly
Square-spotted Blue

picture of a Western Pygmy Blue butterfly
Western Pygmy Blue

picture of a Western Tailed Blue butterfly
Western Tailed Blue

Here’s a group of blue butterfly pictures. The species are often found in the areas around Las Vegas.

The remaining list of blue, hairstreak and copper butterflies covers all of Nevada.

Spring Azure
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
Shasta Blue
Lupine 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
Hairstreaks and Coppers
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
Las Vegas 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 Checkerspots. Many of the species, such as the California Sister in the picture are 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
Canyonland Satyr
Ridings’ Satyr
Chryxus Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph
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

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