Butterflies & Moths

Butterfly at Harmond Field, N.C. Species of Butterflies and Moths

Here is a listing of some of the 200,000 different species of butterflies and moths and more information about butterflies and moths. Of the 200,000 lepidoptera; approximately 15,000 are butterflies and the rest are moths. 


Angle Shades Moth – These moths are found throughout the UK all year round. They are quite common and found in gardens. This moth resembles a wrinkled leaf and has very distinctive markings and colours.

Silk Worn Caterpillar – This caterpillar spins thread around themselves to form a cocoon. Silk comes from the caterpillar of a silk moth. We make this thread into cloth and clothes can be made from this silk cloth.

Zephyr Metalmark Butterfly – These butterflies have gold or silver markings on their wings that look like bright metallic specks.

American Copper Butterfly - This butterfly has a coppery color on the upperside of the forewings, sometimes offset by a dark band and several dark spots. 

Apollo Butterfly – These butterflies are the high-flying champions of the butterfly world of Europe and Asia. Their wings are shiny white with a few black spots on the fore wings and large reddish/orange spots on the hind wings. It is one of the strongest fliers. It flaps its wings high over hills and mountains and then stops for a rest on a flower or rock in the bright sunshine.

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly – These butterflies look like a checker board. They are black, orange and white in colour. They seek out the Turtlehead, a creamy white pink-rimmed flower of the snapdragon family, as their nourishment for growth.

Bombyx Mori - a silkworm that is the caterpillar of a month.

Brown Argus – This butterfly is not seen that often. Its’ upper side of its wings are mainly brown with some orange marking and a white ridge. Their under wings are greyish-brown with black spots encircled by white and also some orange markings.

Brown Hairstreak – These butterflies have bright, golden brown under wings with two white lines that cross and a prominent tail on the hind wing. This tail is a false antennae used to confuse its predators. If a bird were to peck a butterfly wing (as opposed to the butterfly's head) it would be much less damaging to the the butterfly. The upper wings are rarely seen and are a dull brown. 

Cabbage White - This Australian butterfly is also known as 'small white' in other parts of the world. It is a very common butterfly.

Chalkhill Blue – This is a beautiful blue butterfly with bits of black trim and white fringe. The male tends to be a paler blue.

Cinnabar Moth - found in Europe and western and central Asia.  Cinnabar moths are day-flying.


Clouded Yellow Butterfly - This United Kingdom and European butterfly is bright yellow with black tipped wings and other bits.  This butterfly rarely rests with its wings open and is a fast flyer.

Common Blue Butterfly – These butterflies can be found throughout the UK. It is the most commonly seen of all the blue butterflies.

Common Brown - This Austrailian butterfly is a brownish orange forewing.  Both the male and female have an eyespot on their front and hindwings. 

Common Sailor Butterfly – This butterfly is black and white in color.

Cracker Butterfly – When these butterflies are disturbed they make cracking sounds with their wings and don't make any sound when flying.

Dogface Butterfly – When these butterflies land you can see the poodle faces on their top wings. When they are in flight in the fields and meadows they look just like many other yellow butterflies.

Eastern Comma Butterfly – These butterflies have a comma on the underside of their wings - when folded or when held in the up right position.

Elephant Hawk Moth – (Deilephila Elpenor)  These moths are found throughout England , Ireland , Scotland and Wales. It gets its name from the caterpillar which has a trunk-like snout. The larvae feed on rosebay willowherb and other plants as well as bedstraw.  They fly from May to July.  The photos of these caterpillars were taken in Ascot in August 2008  Their size is big - up to 90mm long and quite round.  When I spotted this caterpillar I thought it must be the caterpillar of a dragonfly dut to its size.

Elephant Hawk Moth Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar Elephant Hawk Moth 87
Elephant Moth Caterpillar Elephant Moth Caterpillar Elephant Moth Caterpillar

Emperor Moth – The female has grey wings with an eye-like spot on each wing. The male is browner in colour and smaller.

Falcate Orangetip Butterfly – The Falcate Orangetipe butterflies have pointed and curved wings - falcate.  Their wings are white with orange tips.  These butterflies usually fly in the springtime before most butterflies take flight.

Garden Tiger Moth – Also known as the Great Tiger Moth.  This moth is very popular and attractive. It is found in Europ and Asia and flies during July and August.

Great Mormon Swallowtail Butterfly – This butterfly has black fore wings that are mostly transparent. Its hind wings are black orange and white in color.

Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly – This is the largest of the hairstreak. It frequents tree tops. These butterflies love small flowers that grow in cluster.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly – This butterfly holds its wings closed except in flight.

Grizzled Skipper Butterfly – This butterfly has a black and white checkerboard pattern on its wings. It has a rapid, buzzing flight.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly – These butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of passionflower vines only.

Harvester Butterfly – The harvester caterpillars eat the aphids they hide under, they don’t eat leaves.

Heliconius Butterfly - This butterfly lays its eggs on the underside of the passionflower vines. Once the eggs have hatched the caterpillars then eat the plan and this kills it in the process.

Herald Moth – They have bright orange forewings and therefore rest among dead leaves to conceal itself from predators during the daytime. This moth can be seen all year round. They are found throughout the UK in woodlands and gardens.

Indian Leaf Butterfly – These butterflies are perfectly camouflaged. They look like a leaf on a twig and you could pass by it and never notice it.

Jezabel Butterfly – These butterflies do not blend in. They are very bright with their red, black, yellow and white wings.

Kamehameha Butterfly – Named after a famous Hawaiian king, Hawaii is the home of these butterflies.

Lady Slipper Butterfly – These butterflies fly close to the floor of the tropical rain forest floor.

Large Copper Butterfly – This butterfly has wings of a bright coppery-orange with black fringe. The undersides are a silvery-blue with black spots.

Large White Butterfly - This butterfly uses shortening hours of daylight as a signal to control their lifecycle and allow them to go over winter as chrysalids.

Lime Hawk Moth – These moths can be found in England and Wales during May and June. They are usually found close to lime trees.

Magdalena Alpine Butterfly – These butterflies are black in colour to absorb light to keep them warm. They are found high up in the Rocky Mountains.

Monarch Butterfly – This butterfly is beautiful in colour, yellowish-orange, white and black. These bright colors warn animals like birds and lizards that its flesh tastes horrible and it is poisonous. When it emerges from the chrysalis, it inflates its wings with a pool of blood and waits until its wings stiffen and dry before it takes flight. They feed on flowers of milkweed. The monarch butterfly is one of the most famous butterflies because of the incredible annual migrations they partake in. They can travel thousands of miles during migration reaching Mexico from North and Central America. In the winter, millions of these butterflies migrate to the warmer weather in Mexico, leaving their homes in North and Central America. They then return to North American the following summer to keep the life cycle going.

Narcissus Jewel Butterfly – These butterflies are beautiful. They love to chase each other around in their home which are the mangrove trees.

Orange Tip Butterfly – Only the male has the orange-tipped fore wings. The females have small black tips. Both have moss-green undersides of the hind wings. The upper sides of the wings are white.

Owl Butterfly – Because of their huge eyespot markings on their wings, these butterflies have the look of an owl face when its wings are outstretched. Also, if a bird were to attack this butterfly it would go for the eye markings on its wings (which is less damaging) instead of the butterfly's body. They are attracted to fruit and not to sunshine so they come out at night to find their fruit.  

Painted Lady Butterfly – the top surface of the wing is mottled with white and black patches over an orange-red background .  These butterflies migrate from deserts every spring. They fly in open areas and have even been seen a thousand miles at sea and the Arctic region.  They are the most widely distributed species throughout the world. 

Peacock Butterfly – This butterfly has reddish-brown upper wings, each with a single largepeacock feather like eyespot markings to scare predators. The underside is dark brown/black.

Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly – This butterfly flies close to the ground. It stops frequently to feed on spring flowers. It is declining rapidly and is highly threatened in England and Wales.

Privet Hawk Moth – This moth is large and dull grey. Males make a hissing sound by rubbing together a set of scales and spines at the end of the abdomen when they are disturbed.

Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly – This is the largest butterfly in the world. It lives in the rain forests of Papua , New Guinea and is poisonous.

Red Admiral Butterfly – This butterfly’s upper side is black with white spots near the wing tips. There is a red band across the middle of the fore wing and the hind wing has a red band along the edge.

Regal Fritillary Butterfly – This butterfly is endangered due to its prairie home is disappearing. It is one of the most striking butterflies found on the prairie. It is a large orange and black butterfly and can be confused with the Monarch butterfly.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly – This butterfly has mainly orange and brown on the top of its wings. Along the front edge of the fore wing are blotches of dark brown, pale yellow and white. There are also some blue markings along the edges. They enjoy the nectar of buddleja flowers.

Snout Butterfly – These butterflies look like they have a long nose.

South African Gaudy Commodore -

Swallowtail Butterfly – This butterfly is Britain ’s largest butterfly and one of its most beautiful.

Tiger Longwing Butterfly – Beautifully colored, this striking butterfly has wings of orange, yellow and black with spots of white.

Ulysses Butterfly – This butterfly is one of the most easily recognised because of its electric blue wings with black markings. These butterflies are attracted to bright blue things.

Urania Moth – This moth is brightly coloured like many butterflies and flies during the day.

Viceroy Butterfly - This butterfly looks a lot like the monarch butterfly, but it is only a minic. Its flesh does not taste bad and it is not poisonous. 

Violet Copper Butterfly – These butterflies are about the size of a copper penny. 

Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly – This is the smallest butterfly in the western United States . It takes three of these (with their wings spread) to cover a dime (five pence).

Xami Hairstreak Butterfly – This is an amazing butterfly. The best place to find this butterfly is in Mexico and Texas.

Yellow Angled Sulphur Butterfly – This butterfly is a bright yellow with a black dot on the two top wings.