Butterflies are one of nature’s most beautiful and delicate creatures, and Missouri is a great place to observe them in their natural habitat.
The state is home to various butterfly species, ranging from large swallowtails to small blues.
Come with us as we take you through the journey of different types of butterflies in Missouri.
From the vibrant Monarch to the rare Ceraunus Blue, you’ll learn all about the unique and colorful butterflies that call the Missouri State home.
The Monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known butterflies in Missouri.
Known for its vibrant orange and black wings, you can’t believe the Monarch is also known for its long-distance migration to Mexico yearly.
In Missouri, they can be found in meadows, prairies, and near milkweed plants, the sole food source for Monarch caterpillars.
Seeing a Monarch butterfly is always a treat for nature enthusiasts and gardeners.
2. Common Wood-Nymph
The Common Wood-Nymph, or Cercyonis pegala, is also one of the medium-sized butterflies in Missouri.
They can often be seen flying close to the ground, usually in forested areas or near woodland edges.
And the best part, they have brown wings with eye spots, and their coloring allows them to blend in well with their surroundings.
Common Wood-Nymphs tend to be active during the day and are most commonly seen during summer.
They are an important pollinator for Missouri’s native plants.
3. Red Admiral
The Red Admiral is a stunning butterfly that can be found throughout Missouri.
This species is known for its bold black and orange coloring, with striking white spots on the tips of its wings.
Red Admirals can be seen in wooded areas, parks, gardens, and urban environments.
They are typically seen flying low to the ground and are known to be strong fliers.
Keep an eye out for these beautiful butterflies in Missouri in the warmer months of the year.
4. Painted Lady
The Painted Lady is also one of the common butterflies in Missouri.
They have striking orange and black wings with white spots, making them easily recognizable.
They migrate long distances and can be found in various habitats, including fields, gardens, and meadows.
Let me hit you with the facts! They feed on plants, including thistles and asters, making them important pollinators.
Look out for these beautiful butterflies in Missouri in the spring and summer.
5. American Lady
The American Lady butterfly in Missouri is commonly mistaken for the Painted Lady due to their similar coloring.
They have a distinctive orange and black pattern on their wings with white spots.
To be real with you, these butterflies in Missouri can be found in various habitats such as meadows, fields, and even gardens.
Like the Monarch butterfly, the American Lady also migrates long distances during the fall. They are a beautiful and fascinating species in the Missouri landscape.
Butterflies are a common sight in Missouri, and several different species exist.
One of the most iconic butterflies in Missouri is the monarch butterfly, known for its distinctive orange and black coloring and its long migrations to Mexico each year.
Another common species in Missouri is the Eastern tiger swallowtail, which its bright yellow wings can recognize with black stripes.
Whether exploring a local park or simply relaxing in your backyard, keep an eye out for these beautiful creatures fluttering by.
7. Hackberry Emperor
The Hackberry Emperor butterfly is one of the largest butterflies in Missouri. Its wingspan can reach up to 3 inches.
These butterflies have dark brown wings with white spots and a few orange markings near the tips.
And the best part, they are commonly found in wooded areas and near water sources.
The Hackberry Emperor’s larvae feed on hackberry tree leaves, hence the name. These butterflies can be spotted from May to September in Missouri.
You can’t believe they are known to be strong flyers and can travel long distances.
They are also known for their unique mating behavior, where the male will fly up to 100 feet in the air while the female stays on a tree, waiting for the male to descend to mate.
Seeing a Hackberry Emperor butterfly in Missouri is a rare and beautiful experience.
8. Red-Spotted Purple
The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is one of Missouri’s most unique and eye-catching butterflies.
Its deep purple wings, red spots, and black stripes are a sight to behold.
Interestingly, the Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is not related to the true purple butterfly but is instead part of the Admiral butterfly family.
The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly can be found in wooded areas throughout Missouri, often perched on the branches of trees or shrubs.
They are also commonly seen near streams or water sources. Like many other butterflies in Missouri, they play an important role in pollination and help to support the health and biodiversity of Missouri’s natural habitats.
9. Mourning Cloak
The Mourning Cloak butterfly is one of the most recognizable butterflies in Missouri, thanks to its distinct dark wings and bright blue markings.
This species is commonly found in wooded areas throughout the state, often fluttering around tree trunks and leaves.
The Mourning Cloak has a unique characteristic in that it hibernates throughout the winter months and emerges as one of the first butterflies of the spring season.
It’s large size and unique coloring can identify the Mourning Cloak butterfly. While the top of its wings is a deep purple-black color, the underside of the wings is bright and vivid orange.
Additionally, the wings have a slightly jagged edge, which sets them apart from other butterflies in Missouri.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a Mourning Cloak butterfly in Missouri, take the time to appreciate its beauty and unique features, which we think you will also love.
10. Pearl Crescent
The Pearl Crescent is a small but striking butterfly found throughout Missouri.
Its wings are primarily orange with black borders and spots, with white dots on the underside.
The Pearl Crescent can be found in open fields, gardens, and meadows.
And the best part, they feed on nectar from various flowers, such as asters, black-eyed Susans, and goldenrods.
In addition to their beauty, Pearl Crescents also play an important role in pollination and the overall health of Missouri’s ecosystem.
11. Question Mark
The Question Mark butterfly, also known as the Eastern Comma, can be found throughout Missouri.
These medium-sized butterflies in Missouri have unique markings on their wings that resemble a question mark or comma, hence their name.
Their wings are mostly brown with orange and black accents, making them easily distinguishable from other butterfly species.
Question Marks are typically seen in Missouri during summer, flying low to the ground in open fields, gardens, and woodland edges.
They enjoy feeding on tree sap, rotting fruits, and flowers like clovers and asters.
While they may not be as colorful as some other butterfly species, their distinctive markings and curious flight pattern make them interesting to observe.
12. Eastern Comma
The Eastern Comma butterfly is common in Missouri during the spring and fall seasons. They have a distinct coloring, with orange and brown hues on their wings.
They also have a small white mark that resembles a comma, giving them their unique name.
Eastern Comma butterflies prefer woodland habitats but can also be found in gardens and meadows.
One interesting fact about the Eastern Commas is that they can survive the harsh Missouri winters by hibernating as adults.
They find a sheltered location, such as a tree trunk or leaf litter, and remain inactive until the weather worsens.
In the spring, they emerge from their hibernation, mate, and lay eggs, starting the butterfly life cycle again.
Keep an eye out for the Eastern Comma during your next walk in the woods or trip to the garden.
13. Common Buckeye
The Common Buckeye butterfly can be found in Missouri during the summer months. These butterflies have brown wings with large, distinctive eyespots on their forewings.
They are often found in open fields or along woodland edges, feeding on the nectar of flowers like milkweed and butterfly weed.
While they are a relatively common sight in Missouri, the population of Common Buckeye butterflies has been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
14. Variegated Fritillary
The Variegated Fritillary is a stunning butterfly with orange wings and black markings that make it easy to spot in the fields and meadows of Missouri.
This butterfly is often found near violet plants, laying its eggs. The caterpillars feed on these plants before becoming adults and joining the ranks of the beautiful butterflies in Missouri.
The Variegated Fritillary is a migratory butterfly that flies north from the Gulf of Mexico each spring.
It is one of the first butterflies to appear in Missouri, usually arriving in late March or early April.
You can spot this butterfly in the prairies and grasslands of the state, where it feeds on nectar from various wildflowers.
Look for it on sunny days, when it is most active and likely to be fluttering around in search of food.
15. Little Wood Satyr
The Little Wood Satyr is a small brown butterfly with eye-like markings on its wings.
They are often found near streams or in wooded areas throughout Missouri.
And the best part, they are known for their unique way of resting with their wings held flat against the ground, making them easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention.
These butterflies in Missouri are most commonly seen in the late spring and early summer months.
16. American Snout
The American Snout butterfly is named after its distinctive long, narrow snout-like proboscis.
This species can be found throughout Missouri, especially in wooded areas and near streams.
Its wingspan ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches, and its orange-brown wings feature a white-spotted pattern.
The American Snout butterfly is known for its unique migration pattern, spanning hundreds of miles.
You can’t believe they also have an interesting behavior of basking in groups, with their wings spread open to absorb heat from the sun.
The Azure butterfly is a common sight in Missouri, particularly in the eastern part of the state.
These small butterflies have bright blue wings offset by a thin black border.
The underside of their wings is a pale grayish-white color. They often fluttered around fields and meadows, searching for nectar from flowers such as thistle and milkweed.
The Azure butterfly has a wingspan of around 1-1.5 inches and is known for its delicate appearance.
Despite its fragile look, this butterfly is quite resilient and can be seen throughout most of the year in Missouri.
The Azure is also known for its tendency to gather in large groups, particularly during the fall months.
Seeing a cluster of these blue butterflies flitting around a meadow is a beautiful sight that will brighten up anyone’s day.
18. Eastern Tailed-Blue
The Eastern Tailed-Blue is also one of Missouri’s small and delicate butterflies.
As its name suggests, it has a distinctive tail-like extension on its hindwings, a key identifying feature.
We hope you will also love it because the wings of the Eastern Tailed-Blue are a beautiful pale blue with a dark brown border on the upper side of the wings.
These butterflies are commonly found in open areas, such as meadows and fields, and are often seen fluttering around low-growing vegetation.
The Eastern Tailed-Blue has a short lifespan of only a few days, and it can be challenging to spot them in the wild due to their small size.
They are most active during the summer, with a peak in July and August.
Suppose you want to see an Eastern Tailed Blue in Missouri. In that case, you may consider visiting one of the state’s many butterfly gardens or nature reserves, which provide the perfect habitat for these beautiful creatures.
Overall, the Eastern Tailed-Blue is a stunning butterfly that adds to the natural beauty of Missouri’s landscape.
19. Black Swallowtail
The Black Swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly species that can be found throughout Missouri.
These butterflies have predominantly black wings with striking blue and yellow markings, making them easily recognizable.
These butterflies in Missouri can be found in various habitats, including fields, meadows, and gardens.
They typically lay their eggs on plants in the carrot family, such as dill, fennel, and parsley.
The Black Swallowtail has a wingspan of about 3-4 inches, commonly seen in Missouri during summer.
They are known for their graceful flight patterns and are a popular sight among butterfly enthusiasts.
In addition to their beauty, the Black Swallowtail plays an important role in the ecosystem as a pollinator.
They visit flowers to feed on nectar, and in doing so, they transfer pollen from one plant to another, helping to ensure the health and survival of many plant species.
The Black Swallowtail is a fascinating and important butterfly species in Missouri.
To be real with you, Its unique appearance and important role in the ecosystem make it a valuable addition to any butterfly-watching excursion in the state.
20. Gray Hairstreak
The Gray Hairstreak is one of the common butterflies in Missouri and throughout North America.
They are easily missed with a wingspan of only 1-2 inches, but their distinctive gray coloring and thin white lines make them stand out.
These butterflies are often found in fields and meadows, and their larvae feed on various legume plants such as clover and alfalfa.
They also have a unique behavior where they rub their wings together to create a sound, a behavior not often seen in other butterflies in Missouri.
21. Coral Hairstreak
The Coral Hairstreak is a small and beautiful butterfly species found in Missouri.
Its wings are brown with vibrant coral-colored spots, and it can often be seen flitting around flowers in wooded areas.
These butterflies prefer to feed on nectar from flowers like blackberry and dogwood.
They also lay their eggs on oak trees, and the larvae feed on the leaves of those trees.
While not as common as some other butterflies in Missouri, spotting a Coral Hairstreak is definitely a treat for any butterfly enthusiast.
22. Banded Hairstreak
The Banded Hairstreak is a small, blue butterfly that can be found in Missouri from late May to early August.
They are commonly found in open woodlands and forest edges, feeding on nectar from flowers like milkweed and goldenrod.
You can’t believe their wings are blue-gray with a distinctive row of orange spots along the bottom edge.
The Banded Hairstreak is a unique and beautiful addition to Missouri’s butterfly population.
23. American Copper
The American Copper butterfly is a small, striking butterfly found in various parts of Missouri.
These butterflies are usually brown or orange with copper on their wings, hence their name.
Let me hit you with the fact that their wingspan ranges from 7/8 to 1 1/4 inches, and they are commonly found in fields, gardens, meadows, and open woods.
They feed on the nectar of various flowers, such as milkweeds, asters, and goldenrods.
These butterflies are common in summer, usually from May to September.
Their bright and vibrant colors make them stand out, and are often seen basking in the sun.
They are also known to fly in small groups and sometimes engage in a playful courtship dance.
The American Copper butterfly is an important pollinator, helping to distribute pollen from one flower to another.
They also play an important role in the food chain, serving as prey for various animals, such as birds and spiders.
Seeing one of these beautiful butterflies in Missouri in your garden or out in nature is a special sight.
The best way to conclude is to say that Missouri is home to many stunning butterflies unique to the state. Missouri has a diverse butterfly population, from the colorful Tiger Swallowtail to the majestic Monarch.
We hope we’ve hinted to you with the fact in our blog post as we explored butterflies in Missouri and what makes them special. Sure, you have to learn about these beautiful butterflies in Missouri!