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Common Butterflies

Here are the 25 most common North American butterflies (in alphabetical order). Note that some butterflies have different patterns on each side of their wings. The top view is called the dorsal view; the side view is called the ventral view. 

1. Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon)

Caterpillar Hosts: Naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum) and other buckwheats, coyotebrush (Baccharis), lupines (Lupinus), milkvetches (Astragalus), and bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

Adult Food: Flower nectar.

Range: Primarily California west of Sierra Nevada-Cascade Divide south to northern Baja California. Precise limits in neighboring Oregon and Nevada not ascertained.

14. Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

2. American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

15. Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

3. Baird's Swallowtail (Papilio bairdii)

16. Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exile)

4. Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

17. Red-spotted Purple/White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis )

5. Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

18. Silver-Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus claris)

6. Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)

19. Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

7. Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)

20. Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

8. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

21. Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

9. Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

22. Western Tailed Blue (Cupido amyntula)

10. Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)

23. Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

11. Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)

24. Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)

12. Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

25. Zebra Swallowtail (Protographium marcellus)

13. Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici)

Photo credits: Acmon Blue (1 & 2) Alan SchmiererPublic DomainAmerican Painted Lady (1 & 2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Baird's Swallowtail (1 & 2) Dave Rogers by permission; Black Swallowtail (1 & 2) Dean MorleyCC BY-ND 2.0; Clouded Sulphur (1) MeganmccartyPublic Domain; (2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Coral Hairstreak (1) Robb HannawackerPublic Domain; (2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Dun Skipper (1) Don LoarieCC BY 2.0; (2) Aaron Carlson, CC BY-SA 2.0Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1) dr.scott.mills, CC BY 2.0; (2) The Peanut GalleryCC BY-SA 2.0Giant Swallowtail (1) Thomas BressonCC BY 2.0; (2) Greg GilbertCC BY-SA 2.0Grey Comma (1 & 2) Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarrenCC BY 2.0; Gulf Fritillary (1 & 2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0 (recolored); Henry's Elfin John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Monarch & Painted Lady (1 & 2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0Pygmy Blue (1) Alan SchmiererPublic Domain; (2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0Red-spotted Purple/White Admiral (1 & 2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0 (3) Ano LobbCC BY 2.0; (4) wplynnCC BY-ND 2.0 (resized); Silver-spotted Skipper (1) Kristine PaulusCC BY 2.0; (2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Spicebush Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary, & Viceroy (1 & 2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0; Western Tailed Blue (1 & 2) Five Acre GeographicCC BY-ND 2.0; Western Tiger Swallowtail (1) M I K E M O R R I SCC BY-SA 2.0, (2) siamesepuppyCC BY 2.0; Woodland Skipper (1) Edward RooksCC BY-SA 2.0; (2) USFWS Mountain-PrairieCC BY 2.0 (cropped & rotated); Zebra Swallowtail (1) Mark SpanglerCC BY 2.0; (2) John FlanneryCC BY-SA 2.0