Butterfly Listing by Latin Name


The skippers are a worldwide family of about 3500 species that appear to be "sister" to the rest of the "true butterflies". The clubs on the tips of the antennae are usually hooked. Our California skippers fall into two or three subfamilies: the spread-wing skippers (Pyrginae), the folded-wing skippers (Hesperiinae), and the Heteropterinae.

The spread-winged skippers are generally dark brown and hold both sets of their wings open when landed. They use a wide variety of hostplants, including oaks, Ceanothus, legumes, mallows, and even saltbush. California genera include Pyrgus, Heliopetes, Erynnis, Thorybes, Epargyreus, and Pholisora.

The folded-wing skippers have a characteristic posture when they land: the forewings are held at a 45o angle to the rest of the body while the hindwing is held open and flat. This gives them a "fighter-jet" like appearance. They are largely orange and tawny, and many have whitish chevrons on the ventral hindwing, although some genera are dark brown. All members of this group feed on grasses or grassy-like plants (like sedges and rushes) as caterpillars, and as a result, they are often called the grass skippers. California genera include Hesperia, Ochlodes, Polites, Poanes, Hylephila, Lerodea, Amblyscirtes, and Atalopedes.

A third subfamily, the Heteropterinae, is weakly differentiated from the other skipper subfamilies, but the lone California representative is distinctive: Carterocephalus palaemon.

Amblyscirtes vialis Amblyscirtes vialis
Roadside Skipper
Atalopedes campestris Atalopedes campestris
Field Skipper, Sachem
Carterocephalus palaemon Carterocephalus palaemon
Arctic Skipper
Epargyreus clarus Epargyreus clarus
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Erynnis brizo lacustra Erynnis brizo lacustra
Sleepy Dusky-Wing, Leather Oak Dusky-Wing
Erynnis funeralis Erynnis funeralis
Funereal Dusky-Wing
Erynnis icelus Erynnis icelus
Dreamy Dusky-Wing
Erynnis pacuvius Erynnis pacuvius
Pacuvius Duskywing, Grinnell's Duskywing
Erynnis persius Erynnis persius
Persius Dusky-Wing
Erynnis propertius Erynnis propertius
Propertius Dusky-Wing
Erynnis tristis Erynnis tristis
Mournful Dusky-Wing, Sad Dusky-Wing
Heliopetes ericetorum Heliopetes ericetorum
Northern White Skipper
Hesperia colorado harpalus Hesperia colorado harpalus
West Slope Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado idaho Hesperia colorado idaho
East Slope Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado ssp. Hesperia colorado ssp.
Serpentine Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado tildeni Hesperia colorado tildeni
Tilden's Skipper
Hesperia columbia Hesperia columbia
Columbian Skipper
Hesperia juba Hesperia juba
Yuba Skipper
Hesperia lindseyi Hesperia lindseyi
Lindsey's Skipper
Hesperia nevada Hesperia nevada
Nevada Skipper
Hylephila phyleus Hylephila phyleus
Fiery Skipper
Lerodea eufala Lerodea eufala
Eufala Skipper
Ochlodes agricola Ochlodes agricola
The Farmer, Rural Skipper
Ochlodes sylvanoides Ochlodes sylvanoides
Woodland Skipper
Ochlodes yuma Ochlodes yuma
Yuma Skipper
Pholisora catullus Pholisora catullus
Common Sooty-Wing
Poanes melane Poanes melane
Umber Skipper
Polites sabuleti sabuleti Polites sabuleti sabuleti
Sandhill Skipper
Polites sabuleti ssp. Polites sabuleti ssp.
"Verdi" Sandhill Skipper
Polites sabuleti tecumseh Polites sabuleti tecumseh
Tecumseh Skipper
Polites sonora Polites sonora
Sonoran Skipper
Pyrgus communis Pyrgus communis
Common Checkered Skipper
Pyrgus ruralis Pyrgus ruralis
Two-Banded Skipper
Pyrgus scriptura Pyrgus scriptura
Small Checkered Skipper, Least Checkered Skipper
Thorybes diversus Thorybes diversus
Western Cloudy-Wing
Thorybes mexicana nevada Thorybes mexicana nevada
Nevada Cloudy-Wing
Thorybes pylades Thorybes pylades
Northern Cloudy-Wing


With about 6000 species worldwide, the morphological diversity within the brushfoots is immense. There have been decades of debates about how to classify the group and what traits are important and useful. For our purposes, the uniting characteristic of the brushfoots is the reduction of the front pair of legs into small, brush-like appendages that serve no real function, rather like the human appendix or tailbone. As a result, while they still have 3 pairs of legs (an insect characteristic), only two of those leg pairs are actually functional. Brushfoots are some of our largest and recognizable butterflies, including the monarch (Danaus plexippus), painted lady (Vanessa cardui), California tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica), and mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa).

Adelpha bredowii californica Adelpha bredowii californica
California Sister
Agraulis vanillae Agraulis vanillae
Gulf Fritillary
Boloria epithore Boloria epithore
Western Meadow Fritillary
Cercyonis oetus Cercyonis oetus
Small Wood-Nymph
Cercyonis pegala boopis Cercyonis pegala boopis
Ox-Eyed Satyr
Cercyonis sthenele silvestris Cercyonis sthenele silvestris
Great Basin Wood Nymph
Chlosyne hoffmanni Chlosyne hoffmanni
Hoffmann's Checkerspot
Chlosyne lacinia Chlosyne lacinia
Bordered Patch
Chlosyne palla Chlosyne palla
Northern Checkerspot
Coenonympha tullia ampelos Coenonympha tullia ampelos
Great Basin Ringlet, East Slope Ringlet
Coenonympha tullia california Coenonympha tullia california
California Ringlet
Danaus gilippus Danaus gilippus
Danaus plexippus Danaus plexippus
Euphydryas chalcedona Euphydryas chalcedona
Variable Checkespot, Chalcedon Checkerspot
Euphydryas editha Euphydryas editha
Edith's Checkerspot
Junonia coenia Junonia coenia
Limenitis lorquini Limenitis lorquini
Lorquin's Admiral
Nymphalis antiopa Nymphalis antiopa
Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis californica Nymphalis californica
California Tortoiseshell
Nymphalis milberti Nymphalis milberti
Milbert's Tortoiseshell
Oeneis chryxus ivallda Oeneis chryxus ivallda
Ivallda Arctic
Phyciodes campestris campestris Phyciodes campestris campestris
Field Crescent
Phyciodes campestris campestris/montana Phyciodes campestris campestris/montana
Feather River Crescent
Phyciodes campestris inornatus Phyciodes campestris inornatus
Northeastern California Crescent
Phyciodes campestris montana Phyciodes campestris montana
Montana Crescent
Phyciodes mylitta Phyciodes mylitta
Mylitta Crescent
Phyciodes orseis herlani Phyciodes orseis herlani
California Crescent
Polygonia faunus Polygonia faunus
Faun, Green Comma
Polygonia satyrus Polygonia satyrus
Satyr Anglewing
Polygonia zephyrus Polygonia zephyrus
Zephyr Anglewing
Speyeria atlantis irene Speyeria atlantis irene
Atlantis Fritillary
Speyeria callippe juba Speyeria callippe juba
Callippe Fritillary
Speyeria callippe nevadensis Speyeria callippe nevadensis
Nevada Silverspot
Speyeria callippe ssp. Speyeria callippe ssp.
Callippe Fritillary
Speyeria coronis Speyeria coronis
Crown Fritillary, Coronis Fritillary
Speyeria cybele leto Speyeria cybele leto
Leto Fritillary
Speyeria egleis Speyeria egleis
Great Basin Fritillary, Egleis Fritillary
Speyeria hydaspe Speyeria hydaspe
Hydaspe Fritillary
Speyeria mormonia Speyeria mormonia
Mormon Fritillary
Speyeria zerene Speyeria zerene
Zerene Fritillary
Thessalia leanira Thessalia leanira
Leanira Checkerspot
Vanessa annabella Vanessa annabella
West Coast Lady
Vanessa atalanta Vanessa atalanta
Red Admiral
Vanessa cardui Vanessa cardui
Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis Vanessa virginiensis
West Virginia Lady, American Painted Lady


The Gossamer-wings are a very diverse and complex family with at least 4750 species worldwide. In California, they can be grouped into the coppers (subfamily Lycaeninae), the blues (subfamily Polyommatinae), and the hairstreaks (subfamily Theclinae). Many species have mutualistic relationships with ants (myrmecophily) where the caterpillar excretes complex carbohydrates through specialized glands for the ants (similar to aphids). In return, the ants defend the caterpillar from predators and parasitoids. While this relationship is usually facultative, the mutualism turns into trickery in some Lycaenid species and the butterfly caterpillars switch from being herbivores to become obligate predators on ant larvae inside the ant mound. As long as the caterpillar continues to produces sugary rewards for the ants, the ants are willing to accept, or are oblivious to, the carnage around them. Other Lycaenid caterpillars are predators on aphids being tended by ants.

Agriades podarce Agriades podarce
Gray Blue
Atlides halesus Atlides halesus
Great Purple Hairstreak
Brephidium exile Brephidium exile
(Western) Pygmy Blue
Callophrys dumetorum Callophrys dumetorum
Bramble Hairstreak
Callophrys sheridanii lemberti Callophrys sheridanii lemberti
Lembert's Green Hairstreak
Celastrina ladon echo Celastrina ladon echo
Spring Azure, Echo Blue
Euphilotes battoides Euphilotes battoides
Square-Spotted Blue
Euphilotes enoptes Euphilotes enoptes
Dotted Blue
Everes amyntula Everes amyntula
Western Tailed Blue
Everes comyntas Everes comyntas
Eastern Tailed Blue
Glaucopsyche lygdamus Glaucopsyche lygdamus
Silvery Blue
Glaucopsyche piasus Glaucopsyche piasus
Arrowhead Blue
Habrodais grunus Habrodais grunus
Golden Hairstreak, Golden Oak Hairstreak
Hemiargus isola Hemiargus isola
Reakirt's Blue
Incisalia augustinus iroides Incisalia augustinus iroides
Western Brown Elfin
Incisalia eryphon Incisalia eryphon
Western Pine Elfin
Incisalia mossii Incisalia mossii
Moss' Elfin
Leptotes marina Leptotes marina
Marine Blue
Lycaeides idas anna Lycaeides idas anna
Anna Blue
Lycaeides melissa melissa Lycaeides melissa melissa
"Agricultural" Melissa Blue
Lycaena arota arota Lycaena arota arota
Tailed Copper
Lycaena arota virginiensis Lycaena arota virginiensis
Desert Tailed Copper
Lycaena cupreus Lycaena cupreus
Lustrous Copper
Lycaena editha Lycaena editha
Edith's Copper
Lycaena gorgon Lycaena gorgon
Gorgon Copper
Lycaena helloides Lycaena helloides
Purplish Copper
Lycaena heteronea Lycaena heteronea
Blue Copper, "Varied Blue"
Lycaena mariposa Lycaena mariposa
Mariposa Copper
Lycaena nivalis Lycaena nivalis
Snowy Copper, Lilac-Bordered Copper
Lycaena rubidus Lycaena rubidus
Ruddy Copper
Lycaena xanthoides Lycaena xanthoides
Great Copper
Mitoura gryneus chalcosiva Mitoura gryneus chalcosiva
Juniper Hairstreak
Mitoura gryneus nelsoni Mitoura gryneus nelsoni
Nelson's Hairstreak
Mitoura johnsoni Mitoura johnsoni
Johnson's Hairstreak
Mitoura spinetorum Mitoura spinetorum
Thicket Hairstreak
Philotes sonorensis Philotes sonorensis
Sonoran Blue
Plebejus acmon Plebejus acmon
Acmon Blue
Plebejus icarioides Plebejus icarioides
Icarioides Blue, Boisduval's Blue
Plebejus lupini Plebejus lupini
Lupine Blue
Plebejus saepiolus Plebejus saepiolus
Greenish Blue
Plebejus shasta Plebejus shasta
Shasta Blue
Satyrium auretorum Satyrium auretorum
Gold-Hunter's Hairstreak
Satyrium behrii Satyrium behrii
Behr's Hairstreak
Satyrium californica Satyrium californica
California Hairstreak
Satyrium fuliginosum fuliginosum Satyrium fuliginosum fuliginosum
Sooty Gossamer-Wing
Satyrium fuliginosum semiluna Satyrium fuliginosum semiluna
Sooty Gossamer-Wing
Satyrium saepium Satyrium saepium
Sepia Hairstreak
Satyrium sylvinus Satyrium sylvinus
Willow Hairstreak
Satyrium tetra Satyrium tetra
Mountain-Mahogany Hairstreak
Strymon melinus Strymon melinus
Gray Hairstreak, Common Hairstreak


This family contains the largest and some of the most recognizable of all California butterflies. There are about 600 species worldwide. The swallowtails (subfamily Papilioninae) usually have at least one set of long tails on the hindwings and have stripes of black and yellow or white. Our genera are Battus and Papilio. The parnassians (subfamily Parnassiinae), also sometimes called Apollos, lack tails and are ghostly transluscent white or yellow-white with black and red spots: not your typical swallowtail. Our two Parnassius species are the only California representatives of this relatively small group.

Battus philenor Battus philenor
Pipevine Swallowtail
Papilio eurymedon Papilio eurymedon
Pale Swallowtail
Papilio indra Papilio indra
Indra Swallowtail
Papilio multicaudatus Papilio multicaudatus
Two-Tailed Swallowtail
Papilio rutulus Papilio rutulus
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio zelicaon Papilio zelicaon
Anise Swallowtail
Parnassius clodius Parnassius clodius
Clodius Parnassian
Parnassius phoebus behrii Parnassius phoebus behrii
Behr's Parnassian


Pierids are rather conspicuous white, yellow, or orange butterflies, with around 1000 species worldwide. They primarily feed on plants in the legume and crucifer families, although some odd groups, like our Neophasia menapia, feed on conifers. Some Pierids, especially Colias sulphurs and Pieris whites, have taught us much about species recognition (based on ultraviolet reflectance patterns) and seasonally-induced polymorphism and phenotypic plasticity.

Anthocharis lanceolata Anthocharis lanceolata
Gray Marble, Boisduval's Marble
Anthocharis sara sara Anthocharis sara sara
Sara Orange-Tip
Anthocharis sara thoosa Anthocharis sara thoosa
Thoosa Orange-Tip
Anthocharis stella Anthocharis stella
Stella Orange-Tip
Colias alexandra Colias alexandra
Queen Alexandra's Sulphur
Colias eurytheme Colias eurytheme
Orange Sulphur, Alfalfa Butterfly
Colias philodice (eriphyle) Colias philodice (eriphyle)
Yellow Sulphur
Euchloe ausonides Euchloe ausonides
Large Marble
Euchloe hyantis "foothill" Euchloe hyantis "foothill"
Small Marble
Euchloe hyantis hyantis Euchloe hyantis hyantis
Small Marble
Euchloe hyantis lotta Euchloe hyantis lotta
East Slope Marble
Nathalis iole Nathalis iole
Dainty Sulphur
Neophasia menapia Neophasia menapia
Pine White
Phoebis sennae Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur
Pieris napi Pieris napi
Gray-Veined White
Pieris rapae Pieris rapae
European Cabbage Butterfly, Imported Cabbageworm, Cabbage White
Pontia beckerii Pontia beckerii
Becker's White
Pontia occidentalis Pontia occidentalis
Western White
Pontia protodice Pontia protodice
Checkered White
Pontia sisymbrii Pontia sisymbrii
Spring White, California White
Zerene eurydice Zerene eurydice
California Dog-Face


The Metal-marks are a dramatically colored and patterned, and consist of at least 1250 species. Most of these small butterflies are Neotropical in distribution, and only one species ranges into central California. Like the Gossamer-wings, many metal-marks are myrmecophilous.

Apodemia mormo Apodemia mormo
Mormon Metal-Mark