Basic Butterfly Facts
There are almost seven hundred (700) species of butterflies found on the North American continent.
People who study butterflies are called Lepidopterists. Scientists
organize butterflies into families. There are ten families in North
You can tell one family from another (differentiate) by characteristics of the
body, legs or wings.
Butterflies and moths are all insects. They have 6 jointed legs,
two antennae and three body sections or segments.
Butterfly families: Skippers | Sulfurs,Whites | Swallowtails | Brushfooted | Gossamer Wings
compact - resemble moths
small triangular wings
color - mostly orange, brown, black, or gray
Example: Silver Spotted Skipper
Skippers - eNaturalist
medium size - 1.25 inches to 2 inches
wings have powdery scales
color - white, yellow,or yellowish green
Example: Clouded Sulphur, Cabbage White
large - 2 inches to 5.50 inches
large wings with long tails
color - yellow and black, white and black, blue and
black. all have spots.
Examples: Spicebush Swallowtail, Monarch
Tiger Swallowtail, Zebra
size - 1.50 inches to 3 inches
small forelegs that are useless for walking so they
appear to have only 4 legs
large knobs on their antennae
color - orange
Examples: Red Admiral, Red Spotted Purple
size small - 7/8 inches to 2 inches
tiny string tails on wings.
color - blue, copper, brown or orange
chrysalis produces a faint sound believed to ward off
Examples: American Copper, Eastern Tailed Blues
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Updated 9/2007 by Cynthia J. O'Hora