North Carolina Butterfly Photos

Photos by Will Cook of 150 species taken in North Carolina or adjoining counties in Virginia, with 15 additional species that have occured in NC but were photographed out of the region. North Carolina has a total of 177 species on the state list as of 2014.

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Papilionidae - Swallowtails

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (Pterourus [Papilio] appalachiensis)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)

Pieridae - Whites and Sulphurs

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)
Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia)
Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Southern Dogface (Colias cesonia)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea)
Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe)
Barred Yellow (Eurema daira)
Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)
Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)

Lycaenidae - Gossamer-wings


Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius) - Buncombe Co., NC 7/7/02
American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)
Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorum) - Buncombe Co., NC 7/7/02
Edwards's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii) - Weymouth Woods, Moore Co., NC 6/6/03
Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)
King's Hairstreak (Satyrium kingi) - Weymouth Woods, Moore Co., NC 6/6/03
Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)
Oak Hairstreak (Fixsenia favonius) - New Hanover Co., NC 5/15/04 (bad photo!!)
Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus)
Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus)
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici) - Moore Co., NC 4/20/05
Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
Hessel's Hairstreak (Callophrys hesseli) - Bladen Co., NC 3/25/07
White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) - Alleghany Co., NC
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
Early Hairstreak (Erora laeta) - Mitchell Co., NC 7/6/02
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) - Panama City, Panama 3/19/04. No records yet, but must have passed through NC on way to VA in 2001.
Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus)
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
Atlantic Holly Azure (Celastrina idella) - Bladen Co., NC 3/25/07
Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)
Appalachian Azure (Celastrina neglectamajor)
Dusky Azure (Celastrina nigra) - Clay Co., NC 5/14/05
Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)

Riodinidae - Metalmarks

Little Metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis)

Nymphalidae - Brushfoots



American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonia)
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Diana Fritillary (Speyeria diana)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia)
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone)
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Texan Crescent (Phyciodes texana)
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
Mimic Crescent (Phyciodes incognitus) - Clay Co., NC
Tawny Crescent (Phyciodes batesii maconensis) - Clay Co., NC
Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)
Green Comma (Polygonia faunus)
Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Mimic (Hypolimnas misippus)
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria)
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)
Southern Pearly Eye (Enodia portlandia)
Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon)
Creole Pearly Eye (Enodia creola) - Moore Co., NC 6/18/05
Appalachian Brown (Lethe appalachia)
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma)
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
Georgia Satyr (Neonympha areolata) - Croatan National Forest, Craven Co., NC
Helicta Satyr (Neonympha helicta) - Harnett Co., NC 6/5/05
Mitchell's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii)
Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Soldier (Danaus eresimus) - Mission, Hidalgo Co., TX 10/13/04.

Hesperiidae - Skippers

Pyrginae - Spread-wing Skippers

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
Dorantes Longtail (Urbanus dorantes)
Golden Banded-Skipper (Autochton cellus) - Buncombe Co., NC 7/8/06
Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
Confused Cloudywing (Thorybes confusis)
Hayhurst's Scallopwing (Staphylus hayhurstii) - Washington Co., NC 7/9/02 (very worn)
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo) - Orange Co., NC 3/30/02
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)
Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis)
Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco)
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)
Appalachian Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus [centaureae] wyandot) - Alleghany Co., NC 4/17/05
Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)
Tropical Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus oileus)
Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)

Hesperiinae - Grass Skippers




Swarthy Skipper (Nastra lherminier)
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)
Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minimus)
European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) - Ashe Co., NC 7/6/07
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Leonard's Skipper (Hesperia leonardus)
Cobweb Skipper (Hesperia metea)
Dotted Skipper (Hesperia attalus)
Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei) - Scotland Co., NC
Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus)
Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
Crossline/Tawny-edged Skipper ID (Polites origenes/themistocles)
Long Dash (Polites mystic) - Alleghany Co., NC - first NC record
Whirlabout (Polites vibex)
Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho)
Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet)
Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
Arogos Skipper (Atrytone arogos arogos) - Carteret Co., NC. The endangered eastern subspecies.
Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan)
Byssus Skipper (Problema byssus)
Rare Skipper (Problema bulenta) - New Hanover Co., NC 8/12/07
Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok)
Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon)
Aaron's Skipper (Poanes aaroni)
Yehl Skipper (Poanes yehl)
Broad-winged Skipper (Poanes viator)
Palatka Skipper (Euphyes pilatka)
Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion)
Dukes's Skipper (Euphyes dukesi) - Brunswick Co., NC.
Berry's Skipper (Euphyes berryi)
Two-spotted Skipper (Euphyes bimacula)
Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna)
Loammi Skipper (Atrytonopsis loammi) - Carteret Co., NC 4/14/07
Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon)
Carolina Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes carolina)
Reversed Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes reversa)
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes aesculapius)
Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
Dusky Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes alternata)
Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)
Twin-spot Skipper (Oligoria maculata)
Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius)
Salt Marsh Skipper (Panoquina panoquin)
Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Mystery Skippers (Hesperiinae mysteriosus)

Megathyminae - Giant-Skippers

Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae)
Cofaqui Giant-Skipper (Megathymus cofaqui)


Recommended Butterfly Books

Though web sites are helpful, it's much easier to learn how to identify butterflies by studying good books. There are so many available now, it can be difficult to figure out which ones to get. Here are a few to get you started. If you would like to help support this web site, please click on the images below to buy through Amazon.

Field Guides

Butterflies Through Binoculars: The East
by Jeffrey Glassberg (1999)

Excellent photographic guide, recommended for beginners and backyard butterfliers, since there are fewer Western species to confuse you, but also a great reference for experts. Many folks start out with this guide, then move to others as their skills and interests develop. Does not cover south Texas. My primary guide.

Butterflies of North America
by Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2006)

Fantastic comprehensive photographic guide aimed at beginners, but also very useful for experts. Covers all of North America north of Mexico, including south Texas. My other primary guide. I contributed one photograph to the 2003 edition.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
by Robert M. Pyle (1981)

A classic; the original guide with photos of living butterflies. The taxonomy is a little out of date, but that can be a useful thing since it has photos of former species that have since been lumped into subspecies, such as the Emperors of southern Texas. Great as a secondary reference.

A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies
by Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul (1998)

Not recommended. This book has paintings of specimens instead of photographs of living butterflies, which makes field identification difficult, especially for skippers. Outdated and discouraging to beginners.

Caterpillar Field Guides

A Field Guide to Caterpillars
by Thomas J. Allen, James P. Brock, and Jeffrey Glassberg (2005)

A photographic guide to butterfly caterpillars. I don't have it yet, but it looks great!

Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History
by David L. Wagner (2005)

Another photographic guide to caterpillars, but this one covers moths as well as butterflies. Again, I don't have it yet, but it should be a fantastic resource.

Reference Books

Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide
by Rick Cech, Guy Tudor (2005)

A great new reference book for those seeking more than just identification. It has lots of great photographs, but is not a field guide.

The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide
by James A. Scott (1992)

Though a little out of date, this is still the standard reference book for those who want to know everything they can about the butterflies of North America, with comprehensive information and photographs of specimens. Not recommended for beginners and more useful for identifying specimens than live butterflies. By no stretch of the imagination is this great tome a "field guide"!


Butterflies of the Carolinas & Virginias
by Randy Emmitt (2005)

For those who would like a butterfly ID program to run on their computer, this new CD-ROM (not a book) offers comprehensive coverage for our region. I contributed several photos.

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All photographs and text ©2013 by Will Cook unless otherwise noted.