Wyoming Butterflies: Pictures and ID Tips

Thanks for visiting Wyoming butterflies.

Despite the more northern climate, Wyoming geography, especially the presence of the Rocky Mountains, makes it a fairly good state for butterfly diversity. Yellowstone National Park, for example has 134 documented species.

Anyone planning a Fourth of July visit to the park might want to check out the annual butterfly count. The number of species documented year to year changes depending on weather conditions and flight seasons for butterfly seasons. Anywhere between thirty five and sixty some species can be found in the park during the summer season.

This introduction to Wyoming butterflies lists documented species in the state along with a handful of butterfly pictures and identification tips based on some general physical characteristics that are common to species fit into butterfly families and genera.

The video at the top of the page shows a group of Pale swallowtails. Wing color, along with top and bottom views of the wing patterns highlighted in the video represent the primary physical identification clues.

Visitors interested in additional video, pictures and ID tips are encouraged to press the green butterflies button.

Wyoming Butterflies: Swallowtails


picture of an indra swallowtail butterfly, Wyoming butterflies
Staying with the swallowtails, the extended appendages at the bottom of the wings explain the common name. The Indra swallowtail bucks that trend a bit because some have small or no tails. The black wing color and pattern provide the necessary clues for initial field identification.

The Tiger swallowtail group has wing patterns similar to the pale swallowtail, however wing color can change to darker shades of yellow.

In the group, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail ranges only in the northwest corner of the state. Otherwise the other species have a broad, although not often a state wide range. In any event.

Parnassians inhabit most mountain areas and can initially be identified by the presence of translucent wings.

  • Clodius Parnassian
  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian
  • Old World Swallowtail
  • Black Swallowtail
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Indra Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail

Wyoming Butterflies: Whites and Yellows


picture of a Western White butterfly
Diversity in Pieridae species is a treat that all Wyoming visitors ought not miss. The family breaks down into the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. Most states have more of the yellow butterfly species.

The picture shows a Western White butterfly. It’s common in all of Wyoming.

The Orangetips are usually spring flyers that can be found in all elevations. Tourists need to remember that spring comes later to the mountains than to the valleys so the Orangetips arrive in the mountains in midseason.

The Olympia Marble is common in the East, so visitors might want to keep and eye out for the Large Marble. It’s the most common marble species and has a state wide range.

picture of a Clouded Sulphur butterfly, part of the Wyoming butterflies series
Tourists interested in adding a new yellow butterfly to the list might want to visit the mountains where the Mead’s Sulphur shows itself in a subalpine environment.

As for the other yellow butterflies, sometimes the Clouded sulphur looks very similar to the Orange sulphur. With a good side view picture, the Orange sulphur shows more color on the top wing.

The picture shows a Clouded Sulphur, a common species across the fields of the United States.

Some yellow butterflies such as the Dainty sulphur can be differentiated by size. Others such as the Mexican Yellow have a historical presence in the state, however, Wyoming is at the very norther range for the species.

Whites
Stella Orangetip
Southern Rocky Mountain
Southwestern Orangetip
Large Marble
Olympia Marble
Desert Marble
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Yellows
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Christina Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Mead’s Sulphur
Scudder’s Sulphur
Giant Sulphur
Pelidne Sulphur
Pink-edged Sulphur
Southern Dogface
Cloudless Sulphur
Mexican Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers


picture of a Behr's Hairstreak butterfly
The Wyoming butterflies list also shows a nice balance as well as great diversity of blue butterflies, hairstreak butterflies and copper butterflies.

Hairstreak butterflies are very popular in the state. The green Sheridan’s hairstreak (Callophrys sheridanii) is the official Wyoming butterfly.

The picture shows a Behr’s Hairstreak a resident of places in the state where a few of the members of the Rose family grow. The extended appendages or hairs at the bottom of the wings, represent the first field ID clue for the group.

Because some of the species have shades of brown in their wing color, identification of these species also depends on looking at the wing patterns

picture of a pair of Boisduval Blue butterflies, Wyoming butterflies
Many of the blue butterflies of the state are also common in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast areas. Groups such as the azures may look similar and are differentiated by season. Otherwise, they can be reasonably identified with the use of pictures. The picture shows a pair of Boisduval blues.

picture of a Silvery Blue butterfly
Picture two shows a Silvery blue butterfly, demonstrating how good side view pictures help with identification.

Both the Boisduval blue and Silvery blue have circular spots on the wings. The arrow points to the dark spots on the bottom wing of the Silvery blue. That’s one good clue for determining the difference between the two species.

Blues
Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Summer Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Rita Dotted-Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Northern Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Acmon Blue
Lupine Blue
Arctic Blue
Rustic’ Arctic Blue
Hairstreaks
Colorado Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Moss’ Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Coppers
Tailed Copper
American Copper
Lustrous Copper
Gray Copper
Edith’s Copper
Bronze Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Dorcas Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper
Mariposa Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies


picture of a greater fritillary, Wyoming butterflies series
With very few exceptions, the greater fritillary butterflies rank as the most difficult identification task in the Brush-footed butterflies category. Researchers commonly site the physical variability among the current sixteen species, their multiple subspecies, and the introduction of DNA analysis as the problems and tools necessary for clarifying species over time.

The picture shows the general look of a greater fritillary from the top of the wings. Again, generally speaking, the large butterflies with orange wings and similar wing patterns fit into the category. The first nine fritillaries listed below fit the category.

picture of Silver-bordered fritillary,  Wyoming butterflies series
Fortunately for fritillary species, members of the Boloria genus (lesser fritillaries) can be more easily identified with top and side views of the species in question. The picture shows a silver-bordered fritillary.

Finally, other species such as the Variegated fritillary (Euptoieta), do have more distinct wing patterns and are fairly easy to identify.

picture of a Northern Checkerspot butterfly, part of the Wyoming butterflies series
Checkerspots are medium sized brush-footed butterflies. The wing pattern explains the common name and they can generally be identified using top and side views of the species in question.

picture of a Common wood-nymph butterfly, Wyoming butterflies series
The group called Arctics, Satyrs, Wood-nymphs etc., al can be initially identified by the presence of brown shaded wings. Wing color and eye-spots are often sufficient for accurate identification.

Brush footed
American Snout
Monarch
Queen
Aphrodite Fritillary
Atlantis Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Edwards’ Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Regal Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
Bog Fritillary
Dingy Fritillary
Freija Fritillary
Frigga Fritillary
Mountain Fritillary
Relict Fritillary
Silver-bordered Frittillary
Variegated Fritillary
White Admiral
Viceroy
Dotted Checkerspot
Silvery Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
Rockslide Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Pale Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Brush footed
Gillette’s Checkerspot
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
American Lady
Goatweed Leafwing
Eyed Brown
Hayden’s Ringlet
Little Wood-Satyr
Magdalena Alpine
Common Alpine
Yellow-dotted Alpine
Colorado Alpine
Ridings’ Satyr
Wyoming Satyr
Polixenes Arctic
Jutta Arctic
Melissa Arctic
White-veined Arctic
Chryxus Arctic
Alberta Arctic
Uhler’s Arctic
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Wyoming Butterflies: Metalmarks


picture of a Mormon Metalmark, Wyoming butterflies
Last, but not least of the Wyoming butterflies is the Mormon Metalmark. Most metalmarks are subtropical species. Only the Mormon metalmark makes its way as far north as the state.