Tiny Blues mimicking the sky visit coastal sage scrub as a Cloudless Sulphur flutters by like a bit of harnessed sunshine.  

~K. D’Angelo

Butterflies of Southern California

There are appropriately 170 species of butterflies in southern California. Listed below are some the more common and frequently found butterflies in Southern California.

Our mission is to inform others about the importance of maintaining a welcoming habitat for the beautiful butterflies we see here in Southern California.

Butterflies can utilize a wide variety of flowers for nectar, however, a more critical need is for an ample supply of butterfly host plants.

Butterfly host plants provide a place for butterflies to lay their eggs and in turn serve as the food plant (host plant) for the caterpillar (larval) stage of the butterfly. Most species of butterflies will only lay their eggs on one or only a select few species of plants. Without ample “food” for the caterpillar, chances are the species will diminish in quantity.

In order to maintain and hopefully increase the population of butterflies, you should find out which butterflies are found in your area and help those species by planting the correct host plants. Planting a butterfly garden filled with California natives and other butterfly attracting flora will not only benifit the butterflies that visit your garden, but will provide food for birds, insects and other wildlife.

Listed below are some of the more common butterflies we find here in So. California. By clicking on the name of a butterfly, you will be able to read more about that particular butterfly. We plan to add more butterfly host and nectar plant information as it becomes available, so check back often.

 

 

“Dogface Butterfly”

zerene eurydice

     California’s State Butterfly

Zerene eurydice, the California dogface butterfly, is sometimes placed in the related genus as Colias eurydice. This species is endemic to California, and is California’s state insect symbol.

“Flashes of orange-yellow & black flicker by as male California Dogfaces flutter about. Use caution, when trying to glimpse the canine imagery which Mother Nature has dabbed upon their wings, for, I myself, have been burnt many times trying to photograph these elusive dancing flames” ~ read more by K. D’Angelo

White Butterflies (Perinea)

Whites (Pierinae)

Sulphur Butterflies (Coliadinae)

Sulphurs (Coliadinae)

Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilionidae)

Gossamer-Wing Butterflies (Lycaenidae)

Coppers (Lycaeninae)

  • Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes )

Gossamer-Wing Butterflies (Theclinae)

Hairstreaks (Theclinae)

  • Bramble Hairstreak
  • Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
  • Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
  • Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus)
  • California Hairstreak (Satyrium californica)
  • Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Gossamer-Wing Butterflies (Polyommatinae)

Blues (Polyommatinae)

  • El Segundo Blue (Euphilotes battoides allyni)
  • Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
  • Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exilis)
  • Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)
  • Sonoran Blue (Philotes sonorensis)
  • Square Spotted Blue (Euphilotes battoides)
  • Bernardino Square Spotted-Blue (Euphilotes bernardino)
  • Dotted-Blue (Euphilotes enoptes)
  • Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus)
  • Melissa Blue (Lycaeides melissa)
  • Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon)
  • Lupine Blue (Plebejus lupinus)
  • Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
  • Palos Verdes Blue (G.l. Palosverdesensis)

Gossamer-Wing Butterflies (Riodinidae)

Metalmarks (Riodinidae)

  • Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis)
  • Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo)
  • Palmer’s Metalmark (Apodemia palmeri)

Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Milkweed Butterflies (Danainae)

Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Longwings (Heliconiinae)

Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

True Brushfoots (Nymphalinae)

Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Admirals and Relatives (Limenitidinae)

  • Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
  • Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)
  • California Sister Butterfly (Adelpha bredowii californica)

Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Satyrs and Wood-Nymphs (Satyrinae)

  • Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)
  • Great Basin Wood Nymph (Cercyonis sthenele)

Skippers (Hesperiidae)

Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)

  • Mournful Duskywing (Erynnis tristis)
  • Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
  • Northern White-Skipper (Heliopetes ericetorum)

Skippers (Hesperiidae)

Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae)

  • Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
  • Rural Skipper (Ochlodes agricola)
  • Umber Skipper (Poanes melane)
  • Wandering Skipper (Panoquina errans)

California Butterfly Dreamin"

Gulf Fritillaries romance a passion vine while California Sisters dance among the shaded oaks. A weary monarch hangs with his fellow travelers, warmed and sheltered by the surrounding eucalyptus groves.

 

~ read more by
Kristen D”Angelo