19 Butterflies in Delaware (With Pictures)

Butterflies in Delaware
Photo by Ella Baxter on Unsplash

Delaware is home to an amazing variety of butterflies, and if you’re a fan of these beautiful insects, then this is the perfect place for you.

Let’s journey together to explore the Unique butterflies in Delaware to discover some of the incredible species in the First State.

From the rare monarch butterfly to the bright-winged skipper, we’ll cover the different types of butterflies that call Delaware home and the best places to see them.

So get ready to explore these beautiful butterflies in Delaware, and don’t forget your butterfly net!

1. Little Wood Satyr

Little Wood Satyr
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Little Wood Satyr butterfly, also known as the Common Wood Satyr, is one of the butterflies in Delaware.

And the best part, they can be found in Delaware’s wooded areas during the summer months. 

These small brown butterflies have two distinctive eye-like spots on their wings, which are believed to deter predators.

The Little Wood Satyr feeds on the nectar of flowers and lays its eggs on the leaves of grasses and sedges. 

While they may not be the most colorful or showy butterfly species, their role in the ecosystem is crucial as a food source for other animals and pollinators for plants.

Watch for these little butterflies in Delaware fluttering among the trees on your next hike through the woods.

2. American Snout

American Snout
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The American Snout is a unique butterfly species that can be found in Delaware.

What sets this butterfly apart is its distinct snout-like projection on its face. The snout can vary in size and shape depending on the individual butterfly. 

The American Snout can be found in open woodlands, fields, and meadows throughout the state.

Its coloring is brownish-gray with white spots, and its wingspan ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches. 

This butterfly species feeds on nectar from various plants, such as the blue mist flower and the lantana.

The American Snout is not only a fascinating butterfly to observe but also plays an important pollination role.

3. Azure

Summer Azure
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Azure butterfly, also known as the Spring Azure, is one of the most common sight butterflies in Delaware during spring.

These delicate creatures can be found fluttering around meadows and fields and are known for their stunning blue hue.

They are typically small, with a wingspan of about one inch and a light gray underside. 

One interesting fact about the Azure butterfly is that they often form mating chains, where one male will mate with multiple females in a row.

These charming little butterflies in Delaware are a lovely addition to any outdoor setting and can be enjoyed by nature lovers of all ages.

4. Eastern Tailed-Blue

Eastern Tailed-Blue
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Eastern Tailed-Blue is a small and delicate butterfly with a wingspan of only about an inch. Its wings are a bright blue on the upper side with a brown border and white fringe.

The undersides of its wings are a light gray with small black spots and a small “tail” at the end of each hindwing.

This butterfly is commonly found in meadows and open areas with low-growing vegetation and can often be seen fluttering around clovers and other small flowers.

It is most active during the warmest part of the day. And is most commonly seen during the summer months.

The Eastern Tailed-Blue, including Delaware, can be found throughout the eastern United States.

Its larvae feed on the flowers and buds of plants in the pea family, such as clover, alfalfa, and wild indigo.

The Eastern Tailed-Blue is a beautiful and fascinating butterfly that is worth keeping an eye out for during a hike or nature walk in Delaware.

5. Hackberry Emperor

Hackberry Emperor
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hackberry Emperor is a butterfly species commonly found in Delaware, especially during summer.

This butterfly species is relatively small, with a wingspan of about two inches, and has a distinct brown color with light markings. 

You can’t believe the Hackberry Emperor is unique because it feeds primarily on the sap of trees such as hackberry, elm, and oak, as well as rotting fruit and animal droppings.

The Hackberry Emperor can be easily spotted in forested areas in Delaware, particularly in the Delaware State Forest, Cape Henlopen State Park, and the Great Cypress Swamp.

If you are lucky enough to spot one of these butterflies in Delaware, take a moment to observe its unique pattern and colors, and appreciate the role it plays in our ecosystem as a pollinator.

6. Red Admiral

Red Admiral Butterfly - Types of Butterflies in Georgia
by TrotterFechan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Red Admiral is a beautiful butterfly with striking black and red-orange colors on its wings.

They are one of the most commonly found butterflies in Delaware. And can be seen fluttering around gardens, fields, and even parks.

Red Admirals prefer to feed on sap, fermenting fruit, and even bird droppings instead of nectar, making them quite an unusual species of butterfly. 

Interestingly, Red Admirals are known to migrate long distances, sometimes up to 1000 miles. They can be seen in large groups fluttering toward their destination during their migration.

The best time to spot Red Admirals in Delaware is from March to November, and they prefer sunny areas with lots of flowers or fruit trees.

7. Painted Lady

Painted Lady Butterfly
by Gidzy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Painted Lady is one of Delaware’s well-known and widely recognized butterflies.

This butterfly is famous for its distinctive orange, black, and white wings that feature a unique pattern of circles and spots.

Interestingly, Painted Ladies are one of the most common butterflies in the world and can be found on almost every continent except for Australia and Antarctica.

One of the fascinating things about Painted Ladies is their incredible migration.

These butterflies are known to travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in Mexico to as far north as Canada and Alaska. 

They can often be spotted in Delaware during the spring and summer as they go northward.

So, keep your eyes open for these beautiful butterflies in Delaware as they flutter past your window or in the garden!

8. Monarch

by Charles Patrick Ewing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Monarch butterfly is one of the most famous butterflies in Delaware and North America.

These bright orange and black butterflies are famous for their annual migration to Mexico, where they spend the winter in large clusters in fir forests.

In Delaware, Monarchs are common during the fall migration, and you may see them stopping to feed on nectar-rich flowers along their journey.

And the best part is, The Monarch’s wingspan ranges from 3 to 4 inches, making them a relatively large butterfly.

They can be found in open fields and meadows where milkweed grows, the only plant Monarch larvae will feed on.

Due to habitat loss, the Monarch population has declined significantly in recent years, making it important to protect the habitat where they live and breed.

9. Viceroy

Another species of butterfly that can be found in Delaware is the Viceroy. This butterfly closely resembles the Monarch butterfly but with a few key differences.

The Viceroy is smaller and has a more prominent black line across its hindwings.

The Viceroy is known for its mimicry of the Monarch, a defense mechanism against predators. To be real with you, Monarchs are known to be toxic to predators due to the milkweed they feed on, Viceroys are not toxic. 

However, predators will avoid the Viceroy thinking it is a Monarch and potentially toxic.

Observing a Viceroy butterfly in Delaware can be an exciting experience, as it displays a fascinating survival strategy.

10. Red-Spotted Purple

Red-Spotted Purple
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly may have an intimidating name, but it’s a beautiful and unique species found in Delaware.

This butterfly is known for its striking wings, which feature iridescent blue-black hues and vibrant red spots. 

In fact, some people mistake the Red-Spotted Purple for the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail due to their similar coloring.

However, the Red-Spotted Purple is harmless and poses no threat to humans or other animals.

In terms of habitat, the Red-Spotted Purple butterfly can be found in a variety of settings, from forests to meadows to suburban areas.

They typically feed on tree sap and rotting fruit but also enjoy nectar from flowers such as milkweed and asters.

Spotting a Red-Spotted Purple butterfly in the wild is a true treat, as their striking coloring and unique patterns make them a standout species in the world of butterflies.

11. Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak
by Aah-Yeah is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Mourning Cloak butterfly, also known as the Camberwell Beauty, is a large and striking butterfly found in Delaware.

This species has wings that are dark maroon with a distinct row of blue dots along the outer edge. The undersides of the wings are a lighter brown with iridescent blue spots. 

The Mourning Cloak is typically found in wooded areas and near streams and is one of the first butterflies to emerge in the spring.

This species is known for surviving harsh winter weather by hibernating as an adult butterfly in the crevices of trees.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a Mourning Cloak in Delaware, you’re witnessing not only a beautiful creature but a true survivor of the natural world.

12. Pearl Crescent

The Pearl Crescent is a small butterfly commonly found in Delaware’s meadows, fields, and gardens.

This species is easy to identify with its vibrant orange wings adorned with black spots and a small white crescent on each wing.

They are active from late spring to early fall and can often be spotted fluttering low to the ground, searching for nectar, or laying their eggs on plants like asters, goldenrods, and thistles.

Interestingly, the Pearl Crescent can produce multiple generations each year.

The first generation usually emerges in late April to early May, with subsequent generations emerging in late June to early July and again in late August to early September.

Next time you’re out in a field or garden in Delaware, keep an eye out for this stunning little butterfly!

13. Question Mark

Question Mark
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another unique butterfly found in Delaware is the Question Mark. As the name suggests, this butterfly has a distinctive question mark-shaped marking on its wings.

The Question Mark butterfly belongs to the brush foot family of butterflies and is typically brownish-orange in color. 

You can’t believe they can be found throughout the eastern United States and are commonly found near wooded areas.

You may spot a Question Mark butterfly flying from April through October in Delaware. They are known to feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, and sometimes even animal droppings. 

Despite their unusual feeding habits, these butterflies play an important role in pollination and are a vital part of Delaware’s ecosystem.

So, keep your eyes peeled for the Question Mark butterfly on your next nature walk in Delaware!

14. Eastern Comma

Eastern Comma
by seabamirum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Eastern Comma is a species of butterfly that can be found throughout Delaware during the summer months.

These beautiful butterflies in Delaware are known for their distinct comma-shaped orange and brown markings on their wings, which resemble punctuation marks. 

The Eastern Comma is relatively small, with a wingspan of only about 2 inches, and has a dark brown body that matches its wing patterns.

Eastern Comma butterflies are often spotted near wooded areas or gardens, feeding on flower nectar and tree sap. 

They also lay their eggs on tree leaves, particularly on host plants such as elm, nettle, and birch.

While the Eastern Comma is a relatively common butterfly species, it is still a treat to catch a glimpse of one in the wild and admire its unique markings up close.

15. Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Common Buckeye butterfly is also one of the well-known sightings of butterflies in Delaware and throughout the eastern United States.

They have distinctive eye-like spots on their wings that protect against predators. The eyespot pattern resembles that of an owl, which can intimidate and confuse predators.

These butterflies typically have a wingspan of around 2 inches and are commonly found in open areas, such as fields and meadows.

They have various host plants for their larvae, including plant species in the snapdragon, acanthus, and verbena families.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a Common Buckeye in Delaware, take a moment to appreciate its wings’ unique beauty and intricate patterns.

16. Variegated Fritillary

Variegated Fritillary 
by gailhampshire is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another butterfly species that call Delaware home is the Variegated Fritillary.

This orange and black beauty can typically be found in meadows and open fields, where they feed on nectar from various plants, including asters and clovers. 

Interestingly, the caterpillars of this species are known to feed on violets, making them a favorite of gardeners who wish to attract these colorful butterflies to their yards.

While the Variegated Fritillary is not as common as some of the other butterflies in Delaware, spotting one is definitely worth the effort.

Keep your eyes peeled for their bright orange wings with intricate black patterns as they flutter through the summer breeze in search of their next snack.

17. Meadow Fritillary

Meadow Fritillary
by cricketsblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another common butterfly found in Delaware is the Meadow Fritillary. These butterflies are usually seen in grassy fields, meadows, and prairies from mid-June to mid-August. 

To be real with you, their wings are a beautiful orange-brown with black spots and stripes. The underside of their wings is lighter in color and has a row of silver spots.

The Meadow Fritillary is a member of the Nymphalidae family and has a wingspan of 1.5 to 2 inches. 

These butterflies feed on the nectar of various flowers, such as purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. Their larvae feed on the leaves of violet plants.

The Meadow Fritillary is a delicate and graceful butterfly that adds to the beauty of Delaware’s natural landscapes.

18. Silver-Bordered Fritillary

Silver-Bordered Fritillary
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Silver-Bordered Fritillary is a beautiful butterfly species that can be found in Delaware’s meadows and grasslands.

This butterfly gets its name from the thin silver border that runs along the edges of its wings.

The upper sides of its wings are orange-brown with black spots, while the undersides are gray-brown with white spots.

Like other butterflies in Delaware, the Silver-Bordered Fritillary is closely related to violets. The female butterfly lays eggs on violet plants, and the larvae feed on the leaves.

When it emerges as a butterfly, the Silver-Bordered Fritillary continues to feed on nectar from violet flowers.

Seeing this butterfly fluttering through a field of wildflowers is a true delight and a sight that should not be missed in Delaware.

19. Common Wood-Nymph

Common Wood-Nymph - Butterflies in Delaware
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Common Wood-Nymph is a species of butterfly that can be found in Delaware as well as throughout North America.

As their name suggests, they live in wooded areas and can often be spotted fluttering through the trees.

Their wings are light brown with darker brown markings, giving them a subtle yet elegant appearance.

One interesting fact about the Common Wood-Nymph is that they are known for their “puddling” behavior.

This involves gathering large groups on wet soil or mud to extract minerals and nutrients from the soil.

It’s a fascinating behavior to observe and adds to the wonder and diversity of Delaware’s butterfly population.


Conclusively we can say Delaware is home to a diverse array of butterfly species, making it an exciting place to explore the beauty and variety of these majestic creatures.

From the common Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to the more exotic Zabulon Skipper, the state offers an array of unique species that are a delight to observe. 

We hope you’ve held onto the fact that in our blog post, we’ve looked at the various types of butterflies in Delaware and discussed their habitats, behaviors, and other interesting facts.

So keep reading as you take flight and explore the world of butterflies in Delaware!

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