Oregon Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

Welcome to the Oregon butterflies section.

Size and a diverse landscape provide Oregon with plenty of different butterfly habitat. It easily translates in a diverse group of butterflies. The video at the top of the page shows a handful of species, highlighting different wing colors.

Visitors looking for butterflies would do well to start at the coast, the coastal range mountains, the Cascades and areas East of the Cascades, especially the Steens. Additionally, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in the southern part of the state is an especially good butterfly hot spot.

The story of Oregon butterflies is not always sunshine. Two species, The Taylor’s Checkerspot and the Fender’s Blue are listed as endangered.

picture of a Taylor's Checkerspot butterfly, part of the Oregon butterflies collection
Taylor’s Checkerspot is a very colorful butterfly and a subspecies of the Edith Checkerspot. Habitat destruction accounts for most of the population decline.

Its primary habitat, oak and grasslands have been converted for agriculture and urban development purposes. In 2013 the US Fish and Wildlife Service released their habitat plans for the species saying:

the Service designated 1,921 acres in Washington and 20 acres in Oregon. Almost 400 of those acres belong to conservation organizations that support the designation as part of their missions

Currently conservation organizations such as the Xerces Society are working on a two-pronged approach to help the populations: habitat rehabilitation and captive rearing.

In the past decade, population numbers have increased. Currently the use of pesticides in agricultural lands near the Taylor checkerspot areas is under consideration.

Visitors looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.

Oregon Butterflies, Blues, Hairstreaks and Coppers

picture of an arrowhead blue butterfly, Oregon butterflies
Spring, summer and fall, there is always a healthy diversity of Oregon butterflies in the gossamer-wing category. Like many Western states, Oregon does have nice balance of coppers, blues an hairstreaks. Traveling east and west of the Cascade Mountains is necessary for seeing and photographing the entire bunch.

The picture shows an Arrowhead blue, they are often found in particular mountain locations.

picture of an Acmon Blue butterfly, part of the Oregon butterflies collection
A careful comparison of any blue butterfly side view begins the identification task. Consider the next picture, the Acmon blue. It’s primarily a West Coast species. The side of the bottom wings are covered by orange spots with a bit of blue fluorescence.

picture of a Nelsons Hairstreak butterfly
Hairstreak butterflies are also abundant throughout Oregon. With the exception of the Gray Hairstreak, most have a regional habitat. The Cascade Mountains often, but not always, serves as a primary regional dividing line.

The picture shows a Nelson’s Hairstreak. Cedar trees serve as the larval host plant for the species and therefore it’s distributed across Oregon where ever the trees grow.

picture of a Thicket hairstreak
Identification tips for hairstreak butterflies is similar to blue butterfly identification. A side view of the butterfly, noting the colors and patterns along the edge of the wing close to the hairs on the bottom part of the wings represents the best initial ID tip. The picture shows a Thicket hairstreak.

The following columns provide a checklist of the blues, hairstreaks and coppers in the state.

Tailed Copper
American Copper
Lustrous Copper
Great Copper
Edith’s Copper
Gorgon Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper
Mariposa Copper
Columbian Blue
Golden Hairstreak
Great Purple Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Nelson’s Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Johnson’s Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Moss’ Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Gold-hunter’s Hairstreak
Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Pumice Dotted-Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Intermediate Dotted-Blue
Pacific Dotted-Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Northern Blue
Anna’s Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Sierra Nevada Blue

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Pacific Orangetip
Oregon butterflies consist of a variety of species in the family Pieridae. Most people know them as the the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings.

Many of the white butterflies have a regional range in the state. The picture shows an Orangetip butterfly, one of the white wing butterflies with a bit of sparkle added to the wings. They are fairy common at all elevations, as long as the larval host plant, mustards, is present. Of course, spring gets to the mountains later than it arrives in the valley so visitors can catch Orangetips in May in the valleys through July in the mountains.

picture of a pair of Western Sulphur Butterflies
Oregon is also a great place for visitors to catch up on a few of the Yellow butterflies for their checklist.

With the exception of perhaps the Western Sulphur, pictured, the other sulphurs have a presence from coast to coast. Catch the Western Sulphurs in the mountains.

Pacific Orangetip
Stella 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
Western Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Pelidne Sulphur
Pink-edged Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Tailed Orange

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a Painted Lady butterfly
The list shows that the types of butterflies in Oregon belonging to the Brush footed family tend to fall into a few common genera such as Fritillaries, Checkerspots, Commas and Crescents.

As tourists travel up and down the coast, or from west to east across the mountains, it’s good to remember that fact. There’s always a new butterfly species around the corner or at the next rest stop.

Brush footed
picture of a Field Crescent butterfly
Field Crescent

picture of a Mylitta Crescent butterfly
Mylitta Crescent

picture of a Callippe Fritillary butterfly
Callippe Fritillary

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

picture of a Monarch butterfly, top view
Monarch Butterfly

picture of a Satyr Comma butterfly, Oregon butterflies
Satyr Comma

picture of a Milbert's Tortoiseshell butterfly, Oregon butterflies
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell

Brush footed
picture of a Red Admiral butterfly
Red Admiral

picture of an American Lady butterfly, side view
American Lady

picture of a side view of a Painted Lady butterfly
Painted Lady (side view)

picture of a West Coast Lady butterfly
West Coast Lady

picture of a top view of a California Sister butterfly
California Sister (side view)

picture of a butterfly
Lorquin’s Admiral

picture of a California Tortoiseshell butterfly
California Tortoiseshell

The pictures are a starting guide for the brush-foots of Oregon. Most of the Fritillary butterflies are found in the mountain areas. The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is an especially good place for Fritillary butterflies.

The following list rounds out the remainder of the Brush footed species. Please press the butterflies button at the top of the page for additional butterfly pictures and identification help.

Brush footed
Variegated Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Hydaspe Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary
Pacific Fritillary
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
California Sister
Leanira Checkerspot
Hoffmann’s Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
California Crescent
Pale Crescent
Northern Crescent
Brush footed
Gillette’s Checkerspot
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Colon Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Zephyr Comma
Gray Comma
Oreas Comma
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
European Peacock
Common Ringlet
Common Alpine
Ridings’ Satyr
Great Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Oregon Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Pale Swallowtail, Oregon butterflies
Oregon hosts a variety of Swallowtail species, including two Parnassian species. The official state insect is the Oregon Swallowtail. Pale Swallowtails look very similar to western Tiger Swallowtails. The difference is a more pale looking set of yellow wings.
  • Clodius Parnassian
  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Oregon Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail

Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a mormon Metalmark, oregon butterflies
  • Mormon Metalmark