40 Types of Butterflies in Arizona

Types of Butterflies in Arizona
Photo by Lenstravelier

Places like Arizona are home to countless different types of butterflies, each unique in color and shape. Some are easy to spot, while others can be pretty difficult to find if you know where or when to look for them.

If you’re interested in seeing all the different types of butterflies in Arizona, check out this list of 40 species below to get started!

1. Queen Butterfly

The Queen butterfly is a beautiful creature with a wingspan of 2 inches and is often seen at the top of trees drinking nectar. These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found from California to Texas and through Mexico. 

The Queen butterfly is known for being one of the most common butterflies in North America. These types of butterflies in Arizona have brown bodies, usually orange or yellow on their wings, with black spots at the edges and along their body.

2. American Snout

The American Snout, also known as an Agaristinae skipped, is a medium-sized butterfly with dark brown spots on the upper side. It has a long snout which it uses to suck nectar from flowers, which is how it gets its name. 

The American Snout’s underside has orange-brown wings with blue or white spots and yellow-brown tips. These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found all over North America, but you will mainly find them in the southern regions where there are more flowers for them to feed.

3. Pipevine Swallowtail

The Pipevine Swallowtail, also known as the American Swallowtail, is one of Arizona’s most common types of butterflies.

These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found flying near pipevines and bamboo plants and are typically a type of black with yellow or blue stripes. 

The Pipevine Swallowtail has a long probosnouth they use for sucking nectar from flowers. These beauties are effortless to spot and make an excellent addition to any butterfly garden.

4. Marine Blue

Marine Blue is a gorgeous blue butterfly, but it doesn’t often have the chance to show off its colors. This is because the Marine Blue spends most of its life underground as a caterpillar, only coming out after it has completely changed into an adult butterfly. 

This makes it difficult for people looking for them, so you should be careful when you’re going on your quest.

But if you find one, then you’re lucky! The Marine Blue is unique because it has wings with different colors on each side – one side is blue, and the other is brown and yellow.

5. Painted Lady

The Painted Lady butterfly is seen worldwide but can be found throughout the warmer months in Arizona. These types of butterflies in Arizona are not as common as other species but are hardy and have a long lifespan. 

This delicate-looking creature has a wingspan that ranges from 1.5-2 inches, making it one of the giant butterflies native to North America.

Although their numbers have been declining over recent years due to habitat loss and insecticide use, this beautiful creature is still a sight for sore eyes when you’re lucky enough to spot one!

6. Empress Leila

This beautiful butterfly is a part of the brush-footed family and is found throughout much of North America. It can be found from Canada to Mexico, but it’s especially prevalent in the Southwest. 

The Empress Leilia butterfly has wings with a purple tint with black markings and a wide, black margin on its hindwings.

These types of butterflies in Arizona are often attracted to water sources like creeks or ponds, laying their eggs on plants that grow near the water’s edge.

7. Sleepy Orange

The Sleepy Orange is a rare butterfly seen primarily in the Sonoran Desert. It was first discovered in 1951, and less than 100 sightings have been made. 

The Sleepy Orange’s wingspan is about 1 inch, and its color ranges from orange to yellow with brown spots on the hindwings.

The name comes from its tendency to rest during the day and fly at night, making it more difficult for people to spot it.

8. Echo Azure

Echo Azure butterflies are found in the North Western region of North America. These types of butterflies in Arizona have a wingspan of 2 inches and are light blue with brown stripes. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona fly at an elevation between 2,000 and 4,000 feet above sea level. Therefore, it is essential not to confuse them with their close cousin, the Queen Butterfly,y which is also light blue but has no brown stripes.

9. Arizona Sister

Arizona sisters are relatively small, measuring only 2.5cm from the head to the tip of the abdomen. These types of butterflies in Arizona have black wings with a white band across the top, and their bodies are brown with black bars on their undersides.

These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found throughout the year but are most active during summer. 

When it is time for mating, males fly close to females and emit a high-pitched sound called an ejaculate call. Then, females will thy into bushes, where they mate with one or two males. These butterflies can live up to three weeks after mating and laying eggs.

10. Gray Hairstreak

The Gray Hairstreak is a small butterfly that flies high up into the air. This species can be found flying near cacti and along rivers.

These types of butterflies in Arizona have a wingspan of 1.5 inches and are light gray with black markings on their wings. 

Females are smaller than males, and females also have more white markings on their wings than males do. The Gray Hairstreak’s eggs are laid on the leaves of plants, where they will hatch three days later and go through metamorphosis into larvae without ever eating anything! 

The larvae will then pupate for about ten days before emerging as adults that live for only one week or so.

11. Dainty Sulphur

The Dainty Sulphur is a medium-sized butterfly with orange and black wing markings. These types of butterflies in Arizona have an average wingspan of about two inches and are found only in the southwestern United States.

The Dainty Sulphur’s natural habitat includes desert scrub habitats, where it lays its eggs on the underside of leaves. 

It is often seen during midday or early afternoon hours but can be seen anytime during spring and fall months.

Common names for this butterfly include Dainty Fellow and Dainty Drone. It also goes by the scientific name Colias Macedonia.

12. Checkered White

The Checkered White is a small butterfly with a wingspan between 4.5 and 5.5 centimeters long. These types of butterflies in Arizona are known for their checkered pattern on their wings, but they can also have light brown, tan, or even orange markings on their wings. 

The female Checkered White will lay eggs on various plants, whereas the male likes to perch on flowers and wait for females to fly.

These types of butterflies in Arizona are not very active during the winter but can still be found if you go out looking for them!

13. Reakirt’s Blue

Reakirt’s Blue butterflies are mainly found in the Sonoran Desert. However, these types of butterflies in Arizona are often seen on saguaro cacti, Palo Verde, and Acacia trees. 

Reakirt’s Blue butterflies can be very hard to spot because they blend well into their surroundings. If you find a Reakirt’s Blue butterfly, it is best not to disturb it as that could stress the butterfly out and cause it to stop feeding or flying for long periods.

14. Ceraunus Blue

The Ceraunus Blue butterfly is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan that ranges from 3.5-4.0 inches across.

It’s typically found in the western US and is most active between May and June but can be seen as early as March and as late as November. Males are blue, while females are brown. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona lays eggs on the underside of leaves or host plants, such as lupine, vetch, and false indigo.

The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on these plants before pupating and emerging from their cocoons as adults.

15. Texan Crescent

The Texan Crescent is a medium-sized butterfly found throughout the southwestern United States. Their dark color typically identifies them with white stripes and crescent-shaped wing patterns.

The female can lay up to 200 eggs, turning into larvae that feed on plants such as clover, dandelion, and milkweed.

In adulthood, they feed on nectar from flowers such as columbine and Queen Anne’s lace, preferring sunflower and blackberry blossoms.

16. Fiery Skipper

Learn about the Fiery Skipper and other types of butterflies that make their home in Arizona. The Fiery Skipper is a colorful butterfly found only in the Sonoran Desert.

These types of butterflies in Arizona are usually orange or red, with yellow on their wings. Males display these bright colors to attract mates while flapping their wings rapidly.

Females will choose a mate based on these displays and lay eggs on the flowers they have chosen as host plants for their larvae. The larvae eat flowers before transforming into adults and joining the cycle again.

17. Monarch

The Monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable butterflies. These types of butterflies in Arizona migrate over 2,500 miles yearly to spend their winter months in central Mexico.

The Monarch butterfly is known for its bright orange wings with black spots and a white dot at the end of each wing. 

Monarchs are also unique because they have six legs instead of four like other butterflies. The coloration and unique features make it easy for people to identify them as Monarchs!

18. Gray Buckeye

The Gray Buckeye is a medium-sized butterfly with an orange-brown body and dark wings. There are multiple species, but the Gray Buckeye is only around Arizona.

This species has a long snout and prefers to feed on flowers with tubular-shaped blossoms like violet, honeysuckle, and passionflower. 

These beautiful types of butterflies in Arizona can be seen all year round, but it’s most prevalent during late summer because of their larval host plant,s which are native throughout the region.

Then, in addition, the Buckeye is one of the few butterflies that overwinter as adults; they will often congregate near cracks or crevices where they have protection from wind and rain while they wait out the winter months.

19. Western Pygmy-Blue

The Western Pygmy-Blue is a small found throughout the southwestern US and Mexico. These types of butterflies in Arizona live on alkaline lakes, dry lake beds, and salt flats, often around the edges of streams.

These types of butterflies in Arizona are also commonly found on dunes and along field margins; butterflies have brownish-gray wings with a bright blue underside. 

The Western Pygmy-Blue is common throughout most of its range, but it’s listed as endangered in California due to habitat loss from urban development.

These types of butterflies in Arizona have been spotted in the following states: California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.

20. Cloudless Sulphur

The Cloudless Sulphur butterfly is yellow with a black border. It is found in the southeastern United States and Central America. The caterpillar’s host plants are usually prickly pear cacti. 

The Cloudless Sulphur has two broods, one that emerges from early June until September and another that emerges from late March until July. The Cloudless Sulphur is often seen with the Common Buckeye butterfly.

21. Gulf Fritillary

The Gulf Fritillary is a beautiful butterfly that’s easy to spot, with its bright orange and black wings. Found throughout US, this butterfly can be found throughout the US, from eastern Texas up to Canada. It flies from late April through September and is most common in May and June. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona are like open areas with flowers, such as meadows or fields. These butterflies are often seen drinking nectar from flowers like clovers or violets.

However, this species has also been known to attack other insects, such as sphinx moths, so they should not be disturbed if you see one near your yard or garden.

22. Variegated Fritillary

The variegated fritillary is a small butterfly with a wingspan that ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches. These types of butterflies in Arizona are most common in the southern United States but can be found along the entire East coast and as far West as Texas.

The variegated fritillary is so called because its forewings are white or cream with dark brown markings. Its hind wings are pale brown or yellowish-brown with black markings on them. 

Variegated fritillaries have three distinct generations per year, and ma lives for up to five months in the warmer months and only about one month during the cooler months.

23. Tiny Checkerspot

Tiny Checkerspots can be found from March through October, and they’re one of the most common butterflies in Arizona.

These types of butterflies in Arizona are about 2.5 inches long with black wings with white or yellow spots outlined in black, making them look like they’re wearing a checkered pattern on their backs. They also have a small tow dot on each forewing near the body.

The Tiny Checkerspot isn’t one of the more showy types of the butterfly because it’s not bright and flashy; it prefers to blend into its surroundings by looking like dead leaves or tree bark.

24. Funereal Duskywing

The Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis) is a small brown butterfly with an angular wing shape. As its name suggests, this species has a blue coloration reminiscent of death, which may have made it mistaken for the Black Swallowtail. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona have one eye spot on each wing, and the underside of its wings is dark brown with lighter brown bands. The males are more commonly seen than females and have a dorsal wing patterning that looks like eyespots.

25. Mexican Yellow

The Mexican Yellow is a small butterfly often confused with the Mournful Duskywing. This butterfly has a wingspan that ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches and yellow-brown markings on its underside. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found between March and October, during the warmer months, and is most active when it’s warm outside.

The Mexican Yellow is primarily found in desert regions and can be spotted near water sources such as creeks or streams.

26. Orange Skipperling

The orange skipperling is a small butterfly that spends time climbing on flowers and drinking nectar. These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found from the Mexican border up into Canada. This butterfly has a wingspan of about one inch, much smaller than many other butterflies. 

Orange skippers are known for their bright orange wings with black spots and white borders. The males have an extra row of black dots on their lower wing.

Females tend to be larger than males and often have a wide range of colors on their bodies instead of just orange or yellow.

27. Two-Tailed Swallowtail

The two-tailed swallowtail is a medium-sized butterfly at elevations of up to 10,000 feet. Adults have a yellow body with dark black spots on the forewing and a red band across the hind wing.

This species has an unusual life cycle: the caterpillar overwinters as an egg, then starts feeding on plants upon hatching from its egg. 

These butterflies in Arizona pupate in late summer or early fall and emerge as adult butterflies by late October or early November.

The two-tailed swallowtail is common throughout southern Arizona, with occasional records north into New Mexico and southern Utah.

28. Fatal Metalmark

The Fatal Metalmark, scientific name Brenthis daphne (or Daphne’s Flag), is a rare butterfly native to the Southwest United States and Mexico.

The wingspan ranges from 1.5 inches to 2.25 inches, and they are typically found in mountainous areas at elevations between 8,000 and 11,000 feet. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona are like open meadows where they can feed on flowers such as Penstemon, Indian Paintbrush, or Lupine.

Fatal Metalmarks are most easily seen around mid-April through mid-May when their population reaches its peak during the breeding season.

29. Western Giant Swallowtail

The Western Giant Swallowtail is one of the largest butterfly species in North America. Its body is black with yellow and white stripes. The tail has two rows of blue spots with a row of red spots. 

Males are darker than females and have more extensive black markings on the wings. These types of butterflies in Arizona lay their eggs on milkweed plants and can be found throughout much of the United States, including Arizona.

30. Bordered Patch

The Bordered Patch is one of the most common butterflies found across North America. These butterflies in Arizona are particularly abundant in the Sonoran desert but can be found anywhere from coastal California to Canada. 

The Bordered Patch looks like a miniature version of the Monarch with its black wings and orange patches on its forewings.

Males have blue spots on their hindwings, and females have orange spots on theirs, although it’s hard to distinguish between genders unless you’re looking for them.

31. Southern Dogface

The Southern dogface butterfly can be found in Texas and Florida. These types of butterflies in Arizona are also known as the gulf fritillary. The caterpillars feed on plants such as pawpaw, passion flower, sassafras, and wild coffee. 

As an adult, it feeds on nectar from different flowers such as milkweed, lantana, and bougainvillea. It takes about two weeks for the caterpillar’s body to turn into a pupa and an adult butterfly.

32. Orange Sulphur

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) is a member of the family Pieridae and is found in the Southwest. The male has bright orange wings with black spots, while the female has yellow wings with black dots. This butterfly can be seen from April-October, but it’s most common between May-September. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona prefer habitats such as fields, meadows, deserts, and chaparral lands. Sometimes you will find them at higher elevations, like Ponderosa Pine forests or Juniper Woodlands. 

The Orange Sulphur feeds on flower nectar and pollen from plants such as lantana, yucca flowers, prickly pear cactus flowers, ocean spray blossoms, baby blue eyes flowers, honeysuckle flowers, and more.

33. Tailed Orange

The Tailed Orange is an orange and brown butterfly with black stripes on the tips. These types of butterflies in Arizona are found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The Tailed Orange butterflies have a wingspan of about six inches. 

This butterfly can be found from March through October, usually around deserts, chaparral, foothills, and oak forests.

The female Tailed Orange will lay its eggs on plants like sagebrush or yarrow that grow near water sources, where they stay until they are big enough to fly as adults.

34. Arizona Checkerspot

The Arizona Checkerspot is one of the most familiar butterflies in the state. These types of butterflies in Arizona are typically found on the edges of woodland patches and other plants and flowers that provide nectar.

The checkerspot part of their name comes from the black-and-white pattern on their wings that resembles a checkerboard. 

Sometimes these types of butterflies in Arizona can be mistaken for American Ladies because they also have similar coloration and pattern, but keep them from getting too close; it can be hard to tell them apart when they’re this close!

35. Leda Ministreak

The Leda Ministreak is a small butterfly with a wingspan of 1.5 inches. It has a black body with orange and white bands on its abdomen.

The forewings are light brown, and the hindwings have alternating brown, light green, and white stripes. 

This butterfly is mainly found in the desert regions of southern Arizona, including the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert.

It flies from March through October during the day and at night during cooler weather when it’s warmer outside than inside trees or shrubs that provide shelter from predators like birds or raccoons.

36. Mourning Cloak

The Mourning Cloak is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 2.5 inches. It’s dark brown on top, with four white spots on each forewing and pale brown underneath. These types of butterflies in Arizona are found throughout the US and Canada. 

These types of butterflies in Arizona can be seen in open grassy areas, meadows, brushy areas, and along streamsides where they like the thicker vegetation.

The Mourning Cloak hibernates over winter and emerges around March or April when it lays eggs on types of plants, including thistles, dandelions, clover, and goldenrod.

37. Red-Spotted Admiral

The Red-Spotted Admiral is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan between 3.5-4 inches. It has large, red, and white spots on its underside and usually has a row of six blue spots along the outer margin of the hind wing. 

This butterfly can be found throughout North America but is most common in the eastern United States and south-central Canada. The larva feeds primarily on Milkweed plants.

38. Red Satyr

The red satyr is a common butterfly. These types of butterflies in Arizona are usually seen near flowers as they feed on nectar.

The male’s wings are reddish-orange and black with white spots, while the female’s wings are brown with white spots. 

Red satyrs are found in several North American habitats, including deserts, meadows, streamsides, oak woodlands, and suburbs. It is also found southwards into Central America and southwards into South America.

39. Golden-Headed Scallopwing

If you want to see some beautiful butterflies, you should visit Golden-Headed Scallopwing. These tiny types of butterflies in Arizona are found throughout the state and only live for about a week.

The Golden-headed Scallopwing belongs to the family Hesperiidae, known as skippers because their flight pattern resembles that of a skipping stone. 

This species is also known by other names, including the Golden-headed Eversman Skipper, Yellow-striped Eversman Skipper, and the Southern Eversman Skipper.

These types of butterflies in Arizona have long golden hair on their heads and yellow stripes across their backside.

40. Palmer’s Metalmarke

The Palmer’s Metalmark butterfly is the most widespread species in the state. It’s a small butterfly with a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches. 

The males have dark metallic blue wings, and the females have white wings with brownish spots or patches.

These types of butterflies in Arizona can be found on milkweed, aster, goldenrod flowers, and other plants like composites, clovers, dandelions, and thistles.

Conclusion

In conclusion! we have about 40 different types of butterflies in Arizona; some will be easier to find than others.

Don’t be discouraged! Some people may find them more straightforward, and some may be challenging. So if you’re looking for a specific type, it’s best to research it before you go out on your journey.

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