Texas Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help

picture of a Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed, part of the Texas Butterflies collection

Texas butterfies, it’s a topic that not only could fill books, but also it literally does fill books.

The state tops the list of states in butterfly diversity, with well over half of all the United States butterflies found in the state. According to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), three counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr, host approximately three hundred of Texas’ approximately four hundred and fifty butterfly species.

In fact, a handful of these types of butterflies are subtropical and tropical species that can only be found in South Texas. It’s the northern most edge of their range.

The video shows five such butterfly species: Blue Metalmark, Mexican Bluewing; Band-celled Sister; Crimson Patch; Red-bordered Pixie.

Most of Texas north of the area also promotes butterfly diversity, with butterfly garden tips, and butterfly checklists available in most cities.

Butterfly festivals happen in South Texas during the Fall. In some fields it looks like tens of thousands of butterflies have hatched and are flying together. It’s a sight better than any butterfly house in the United States. For butterfly enthusiasts it’s a sight not to be missed.

Can’t get to Texas in the fall? No worry. Tourists can literally find butterflies in Texas throughout the year, so there’s never an excuse to be bored. The top picture shows a Monarch Butterfly, the official Texas State insect.

This introduction to Texas butterflies provides only a few butterfly pictures. Please click on the green butterfly button for additional butterfly pictures and information.

Butterfly identification usually begins with color. The article divides Texas butterflies according to families, which also conveniently groups butterflies into color.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Giant White butterfly
Texas butterflies diversity starts with the family Pieridae. Most people know them as the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. Most states have more of the yellow butterfly species. Texas has a nice balance.

The picture shows a Giant White. It’s primarily a South Texas species although a few stray sightings are documented in some Midwest states. Common Melwhites, Mexican Dartwhite and Costa-spotted Mimic-Whites are also South Texas specialties, and still mostly rare finds.

The remaining white butterflies are common across much of the United States.

picture of a Yellow Angled-Sulphur, part of the Texas butterflies section.
Close to two dozen yellow butterflies call Texas home. They tend to be regional species. Interestingly enough, all the species can be found in South Texas.

The picture shows a Yellow Angled Sulphur. They are the White Angled Sulphurs are great finds during the season.

Costa-spotted Mimic-White
Desert Orangetip
Southwestern Orangetip
Falcate Orangetip
Olympia Marble
Desert Marble
Florida White
Common Melwhite
Pine White
Mexican Dartwhite
Viardi White
Cross-barred White
Mountain White
Cabbage White
Checkered White
Spring White
Great Southern White
Giant White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Yellow Angled-Sulphur
White Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Large Orange Sulphur
Orange-barred Sulphur
Tailed Sulphur
Statira Sulphur
Lyside Sulphur
Barred Yellow
Boisduval’s Yellow
Mexican Yellow
Salome Yellow
Ghost Yellow
Tailed Orange
Little Yellow
Mimosa Yellow
Dina Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of an Arizona hairstreak
Copper butterflies are most prominent along the West Coast, so that’s about the only category of butterflies the state lacks. The large number of Hairstreaks, including ministreaks and groundstreaks more than makes up for it.

The picture shows an Arizona Hairstreak.

Cassius Blue
Marine Blue
Cyna Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Summer Azure
Silvery Blue
Rita Dotted-Blue
Ceraunus Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Melissa Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Colorado Hairstreak
Mexican Cycadian
Great Purple Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Olive’ Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Xami Hairstreak
Sandia Hairstreak
Frosted Elfin
Henry’s Elfin
Eastern Pine Elfin
Goodson’s Greenstreak
Tropical Greenstreak
Clench’s Greenstreak
Gold-bordered Hairstreak
Marius Hairstreak
Sky-blue Groundstreak
Oak Hairstreak
Northern’ Southern Hairstreak
Poling’s Hairstreak
Coral Hairstreak
Edwards’ Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
King’s Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Soapberry Hairstreak
Black Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Telea Hairstreak
Strophius Hairstreak
Orange-crescent Groundstreak
Ruddy Hairstreak
Muted Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak
Dusky-blue Groundstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak
White Scrub-Hairstreak
Lacey’s Scrub-Hairstreak
Red-lined Scrub-Hairstreak
Yojoa Scrub-Hairstreak
Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak
Bromeliad Scrub-Hairstreak
Big Bend Scrub-Hairstreak
Megarus Scrub-Hairstreak
Red-spotted Hairstreak
Leda Ministreak
Clytie Ministreak
Gray Ministreak
Pearly-gray Hairstreak
Zebra-striped Hairstreak
Aquamarine Hairstreak
White-M Hairstreak
Arizona Hairstreak
Gray Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of an Empress Leilia butterfly
The presence of a large number of tropical butterflies, including the crackers and sailors, explains the large number of Brush Footed butterflies in Texas.

The picture shows an Empress Leila. Texas covers all the so called Royalty butterflies, with Emperors, Empress, Monarchs and Queens.

As the list of brushfooted butterfly species presented below also shows, many Texas butterflies are similar to those on both the East and West Coasts. Checkerspots, crescents and the Vanessa genus (Red Admiral and Ladies) are all very well represented.

Please press the butterflies button for a more complete butterfly field guide with pictures and descriptions covering most of these species. It will also help answer additional butterfly identification questions.

Brush footed
American Snout
Tiger Mimic-Queen
Klug’s Clearwing
Cotytto Clearwing
Mexican Silverspot
Gulf Fritillary
Julia Heliconian
Banded Orange Heliconian
Isabella’s Heliconian
Zebra Heliconian
Erato Heliconian
Variegated Fritillary
Mexican Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Tailed Cecropian
Blomfild’s Beauty
Red-spotted Purple
Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Arizona Sister
California Sister
Band-celled Sister
Spot-celled Sister
Many-banded Daggerwing
Ruddy Daggerwing
Waiter Daggerwing
Hackberry Emperor
Empress Leilia
Tawny Emperor
Pavon Emperor
Silver Emperor
Red Rim
Common Mestra
Florida Purplewing
Dingy Purplewing
Blackened Bluewing
Mexican Bluewing
Gray Cracker
Glaucous Cracker
Variable Cracker
Guatemalan Cracker
Brownish Cracker
Orange Cracker
Red Cracker
Common Banner
Orange Banner
Tithian Sailor
Mexican Sailor
Blue-eyed Sailor
Anna’s Eighty-eight
Mexican Eighty-eight
Dotted Checkerspot
Brush footed
Crimson Patch
Definite Patch
Eumeda (Medial) Patch
Red-spotted Patch
Banded Patch
Rosita Patch
Theona Checkerspot
Fulvia Checkerspot
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Bordered Patch
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Tiny Checkerspot
Elada Checkerspot
Vesta or Graphic
Painted Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Phaon Crescent
Mexican Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Tulcis Crescent
Texan Crescent
Black Crescent
Chestnut Crescent
Baltimore Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Tropical Buckeye
White Peacock
Banded Peacock
Rusty-tipped Page
Question Mark
Eastern Comma
Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Tropical Leafwing
Goatweed Leafwing
Angled Leafwing
Chestnut Leafwing
Pale-spotted Leafwing
Forrer’s Leafwing
One-spotted Prepona
Southern Pearly-eye
Northern Pearly-eye
Creole Pearly-eye
Gemmed Satyr
Canyonland Satyr
Georgia Satyr
Little Wood-Satyr
Viola’s Wood-Satyr
Red Satyr
Carolina Satyr
Common Wood-Nymph
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Red-bordered Satyr

Texas Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of a Polydamus Swallowtail butterfly
Pipevine Swallowtail
Polydamas Swallowtail
Dark Kite-Swallowtail
Zebra Swallowtail
Variable Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Two-tailed Swallowtail
Three-tailed Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Palamedes Swallowtail
Magnificent Swallowtail
Victorine Swallowtail
Thoas Swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail
Broad-banded Swallowtail
Ornythion Swallowtail
Ruby-spotted Swallowtail
Pink-spotted Swallowtail

Texas Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a Zela Metalmark butterfly
Metalmark butterflies are most diverse in the tropical areas of the Americas. That explains the unusually high number of Texas metalmarks.

picture of a Red-bordered Pixie butterfly

Some especially colorful species such as Pixies and Blue Metalmarks can be seen in South Texas. The picture shows a Red-bordered Pixie.

picture of a white-striped Longtail butterfly
Most people rightfully associate the Skipper butterflies with the color brown. Texas is filled with close to two hundred skipper species, often with brown wings.

The picture shows a White-striped Longtail. They are one of about fifteen different Longtail species found in South Texas.