30 Types of Butterflies in Arkansas

types of butterflies in arkansas
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If you have ever visited Arkansas, then you know that our state has many beautiful butterflies, but how many types of butterflies are found in Arkansas?

You can learn more about the different butterflies flitting and flying around the Natural State on this page. 

You’ll also find out whether butterflies are native to Arkansas and how to attract butterflies to your yard so you can enjoy them all summer long!

So check out the below information on types of butterflies in Arkansas today!

1. Red Admiral

The red admiral is one of the most common butterflies, Vanessa atalanta. The females are bright orange with black markings, while the males are more muted with a reddish color. 

Red admirals can be found on almost any flower, though they prefer to feed from apple trees. One way to tell if you’re looking at an adult red admiral is by looking for its two white spots on each forewing.

These Types of Butterflies in Arkansas are usually found near woodlands and moist areas. 

Males have a wingspan that ranges from 2-2 3/4 inches, while females range from 2-2 5/8 inches in size, depending on seasonality.

2. Painted Lady

The painted Lady is every day among the types of butterflies in Arkansas. It has a wingspan of two to four inches,s in the chest’s body, which can be orange, white, or yellow. It is well-known for its ability to migrate over long distances. 

Male-painted ladies have white spots on their undersides, while females do not. Male monarchs are bright orange with black veins, but female monarchs are brown with black veins.

Caterpillars are green with a row of blue dots down the middle and a row of red dots along each side. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves, making them poisonous for other animals to eat.

3. Monarch

The monarch butterfly is a milkweed specialist often seen in the summertime. Monarchs are one of the most well-known butterflies in America, with their orange and black wings making them easy to spot.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas lay eggs on milkweed plants, providing them with food like caterpillars before they grow into adults. 

Once they reach adulthood, monarchs head south for winter hibernation in Mexico or California. Migratory monarchs are not found in Arkansas; however, many non-migratory monarchs reside there during the warmer months.

As a result, the Monarch butterfly is one of the most recognized species in North America. Their orange-brown wings can identify them with black stripes and diagonal lines on their forewings.

There are three generations each year that migrate to Mexico for winter hibernation. The first generation travels northward between March and June, laying eggs as they go.

This will produce the second generation that will travel southward from September to October; this will produce the third generation that will travel back up north between March and June to continue the migration cycle again.

4. American Lady

The American Lady is one of the most widespread butterflies in North America, with a wingspan that can range from 3.5 to 5 inches. It is found in much of North America, Central America, South America, and parts of northern Africa.

Though it may be mistaken for other types of butterflies at first glance, there are a few telltale signs that you can look for to identify an American Lady: 

1) The colors on the upper side of its wings are usually reddish orange with black edges along the outer edge. 2) Its underside will have grayish or white markings with dark borders and three rows of submarginal spots on each side. 3) You will notice a row or two black spots along its abdomen.

5. Viceroy

The Viceroy butterfly is a symbol of summer in North America. The males are yellow, while the females are white with black wing markings.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be found in meadows, gardens, grassy areas, and roadsides. A long time ago, people believed that these butterflies carried monarch babies to new locations. 

6. Hackberry Emperor

The Hackberry Emperor (Dryas octopetala) is a medium-sized yellow butterfly with black spots on its wings. It has a wingspan that ranges from three to four inches. The butterfly’s dorsal side is black, while the ventral side is yellow with dark brown spots. 

These types of butterflies in Arkansas prefer to be found in deciduous woodlands and oak-hickory forests, laying their eggs on hickories, sweetgums, persimmons, and hackberries named after these trees.

Unfortunately, as the caterpillar feeds off these plants, it acquires toxins that make this one type of butterfly poisonous if consumed by humans or other animals.

7. Red-Spotted Purple

The Red-Spotted Purple is a large butterfly with a wingspan that ranges from 4 to 5 inches. Males are usually smaller than females, with some females reaching up to 6 inches in wingspan.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas have two rows of red spots on their hindwings, which can be seen below. The upper side of the male’s wing is bright purple, while females are brown with silver spots.

8. Mourning Cloak

The Mourning Cloak butterfly is also known as the Nymphalis antiopa. These types of butterflies in Arkansas have a wingspan of about 5 to 6 inches.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas are black with white spots on their wings that form an intricate pattern resembling a cloak.

These butterflies are found in eastern North America, south through Central America, and South America.

9. Pearl Crescent

The Pearl Crescent is a small butterfly that is found around Arkansas. It is most commonly seen in forests, meadows, and streams.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas are often mistaken for Fritillaries because they share similar markings, but the distinctive eyespots on their wings can distinguish them. 

Adults fly from May to September, with peaks in June and July. The caterpillars feed on violets and bergamot flowers.

10. Question Mark

One of the most beautiful butterflies, the question mark, is a considerable painterly. It has a wingspan that can measure up to six inches wide, making it a somewhat intimidating creature for any other insect to come across.

The question mark is primarily brown with white spots on its wings. It has long antennae, and an intricate crown covers its head.

In addition to being beautiful, the question mark is also very delicate and must be handled with care, so it does not break apart or get damaged in any way.

For this reason, the question mark’s habitat must be kept moist, and predators,s should not be allowed near it.

11. Common Wood-Nymph

The Common Wood-Nymph is a medium-sized butterfly that typically has brown wings with black borders.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be found along roadsides, woodland edges, and open areas where its host plants grow. 

The female adults lay eggs on plants belonging to the buckwheat family. The caterpillars feed on these plants until they pupate near the soil surface.

12. Eastern Comma

The Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) is one of the most common types of butterflies. It’s a member of the Nymphalidae family, which contains more than 6,000 species. 

The Eastern Comma is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan between 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. 

The body has brown upper wings with three white stripes across them. The lower wings are bright yellow with black spots that form a distinctive comma shape near their tips.

This butterfly can be seen all year round in Arkansas, but it’s more common during warmer months from April through September.

13. Common Buckeye

The common buckeye is a brown butterfly with a wingspan of about five inches. These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be found in most parts of the US but are especially common in eastern North America.

As its name implies, this butterfly has two eyespots on each hindwing that resemble an eye, giving it an overall buckeye shape.

It can often fly around oak trees during the morning and evening hours. Unfortunately, the standard adult buckeye only lives for a week after emerging from its pupa.

14. Variegated Fritillary

These Variegated Fritillaries are medium-sized types of butterflies in Arkansas that can grow up to three inches in wingspan.

It has a light brown body with a large, dark brown submarginal band on its hindwings. The outer edge of this band is bordered by yellow spots, which are distinctive from those on other fritillaries.

In addition, this butterfly’s forewings have two rows of orange spots.

15. Azure

The azure butterfly is a fantastic creature found in many regions throughout North America. These types of butterflies in Arkansas are a gorgeous blue color with a white-lined border and reside in areas with lots of flowers. 

These types of butterflies in Arkansas love to feed from plants like clover, dandelions, willowherb, pokeweed, and thistles.

If you are lucky enough to see one up close, you will notice that its wings are very delicate and thin, with tiny hairs for protection.

16. Great Spangled Fritillary

The Great Spangled Fritillary is a large, striking butterfly with a wingspan of up to six inches. The male is black with large white dots on its wings, while the female is orange with small black spots. 

These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be found in open fields and clearings. These types of butterflies in Arkansas are most active mid-morning through the early afternoon but can often be seen near flowers throughout the day.

17. Eastern Tailed-Blue

The Eastern Tailed-Blue is a small butterfly found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Adults are usually blue with an orange-red spot on each wing. Females also have a thin, pointed tails on their hindwings.

Males have a thin spot below their forewings called the harp or fringe. These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be seen flying in meadows, woodlands, and gardens.

The Eastern Tailed-Blue is common throughout much of the eastern United States from Maine to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Montana.

18. Gray Hairstreak

The Gray Hairstreak butterfly is expected in Arkansas, but it is also found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas are usually found near streams or rivers in forested areas. The males are gray with a yellowish-brown band on their wings; the females are gray with a yellowish-orange band. 

The caterpillars eat plants from nettles (Urtica), willows (Salix), elms (Ulmus), birches (Betula), and ashes (Fraxinus). These types of butterflies in Arkansas pupate on tree bark, branches, or leaves.

19. Little Wood Satyr

The Little Wood Satyr is a small butterfly found throughout Arkansas. The adults feed on nectar from flowers, especially those in the aster family.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas like to lay eggs on plants like thistle, Queen Anne’s Lace, and milkweed, which are all common in yards, gardens, and meadows. 

The caterpillars hatch from these eggs and eat these plants for sustenance as they grow.

One way to tell them apart from other species is that their wings have a checkered pattern with dark spots outlined in white on a light background.

You may also see them flying around porch lights or bright lights at night because they prefer these light sources over natural ones.

20. Coral Hairstreak

The Coral Hairstreak butterfly is a large, orange-brown butterfly with a wingspan length of around 3-5 inches. It can be found in moist soil, meadows, woodlands, and forests.

The 12 Coral Hairstreak feeds on many flowers, including violets, asters, buttercups, mints, ferns, jewelweed, and dogbane plants. 

Male butterflies have been known to feed from sandhill aster plants. There are three generations per year, with caterpillars overwintering for up to 2 years before emerging as adults in late spring or early summer.

21. American Snout

American snouts are similar in appearance to Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. These types of butterflies in Arkansas have a dark patch on the upper surface of hindwings that is lacking in Eastern Tiger Swattles.

However, American Snouts are different from Eastern Tiger Swallowtails because their forewings do not have a banded pattern.

American snouts can be found in forested areas and open spaces. The larvae feed on leaves from various trees, including willow, birch, elm, poplar, and oak.

22. Banded Hairstreak

The Banded Hairstreak is a small butterfly, usually with a wingspan of three inches. It is part of the Lycaenidae family, blues, coppers, and hairstreaks. The banded hairstreak has a black body with thin white bands. 

These types of butterflies in Arkansas are primarily found in North America, from Canada to Central America.

In Arkansas, they can be found in almost every county but are most common in moist woodlands or near streams.

23. Black Swallowtail

The black swallowtail is a large, showy butterfly with a wingspan that can reach 5 inches. This insect is also known as the parsnip or green-veined butterfly because its wings are green with black spots that resemble parsnips. 

The caterpillars feed on parsnips, which are members of the carrot family. Black swallowtails are very common in Arkansas, especially in wooded areas.

24. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a large butterfly with an average wingspan of four inches. It is mainly orange with black stripes on its hindwings, while its forewings are a mixture of orange, black, and yellow.

In addition, it usually is red or pink on its upper hindwing. 

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most common butterflies in North America. These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be found in wooded areas where they sip nectar from flowers, such as blueberry bushes.

In addition, the caterpillars are known to eat leaves from plants like parsley, parsnip, dill weed, carrot tops, and other similar plants. 

Eastern Tigers Swallowtails mate in late summer or early fall when females lay eggs on their host plant’s leaves.

25. Spicebush Swallowtail

The Spicebush Swallowtail is one of many beautiful places throughout Arkansas. The Spicebush Swallowtail is a member of the swallowtail family, which includes over 150 species in North America alone.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas are known for their heart-shaped wingspan, ranging from 2 to 3 inches. 

This butterfly’s life cycle ranges from two months to three, depending on where it lives. Males have a black bodies with white stripes on their forewings. Females are brown or orange with black spots. 

The Spicebush Swallowtail’s favorite nectar plants are spicebush and wild parsnip, but they will also drink from flowers such as joe-Pye weed, goldenrod, milkweed, and thistles when necessary.

26. Cabbage White

Cabbage whites are often found in large numbers, as they are not very picky when finding places to lay their eggs.

These types of butterflies in Arkansas can be challenging to spot on their white wings but usually give themselves away with a rapid wing beat when disturbed.

Cabbage white caterpillars feed on many plants, including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. 

The larvae pupate in the soil after molting twice; these pupae overwinter before becoming adult butterflies in late spring or early summer.

27. Orange Sulphur

The Orange Sulphur butterfly can be found in Arkansas. It is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of up to 2 inches, and the wings are orange with black markings.

The underside is orange with black markings resembling an asterisk, and small white spots are shaped like dots on the back edge of the hindwing. 

Males have larger patches on their hindwings than females, making them easier to identify if you catch one in your hand.

28. Cloudless Sulphur

It can be challenging to spot a Cloudless Sulphur because they are so small. These types of butterflies in Arkansas are also challenging to identify because their color is often confused with other types of butterflies.

The Cloudless Sulphur is a yellow butterfly with an orange band across its back. 

This orange band can sometimes extend to the wings, appearing pink in color. In addition, it has two black spots on its forewings that resemble eyespots, one on each wing.

These eyespots vary in size and intensity depending on whether or not predators threaten this type of butterfly.

29. Clouded Sulphur

The Clouded Sulfur is generally bright orange or yellow with brown or black spots on its wings. It has a wingspan of 2 to 3 inches, smaller than many other butterflies.

The Clouded Sulphur also has a pair of black antennae over an inch long. 

As an adult, it feeds on flower nectar from plants like Goldenrod, Dandelions, Queen Anne’s Lace, Milkweed, Black-eyed Susans, and Phlox.

In addition, the caterpillar usually feeds on plants in the Allium family, such as Onion (Allium cepa), Garlic (Allium sativum), Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), and Leeks (Allium porrum).

30. Little Sulphur

The Little Sulphur is a small butterfly with an average wingspan of 1 to 2 inches. This species can be found in Europe and North America. It prefers rich and varied habitats like meadows and moist woodland clearings. 

The caterpillars feed on plants such as Dandelion, Plantain, and Ragwort. These types of butterflies in Arkansas typically fly from April through October but may be found year-round at higher elevations.


Thanks for reading about 30 Types of Butterflies in Arkansas you didn’t know were there. Learning about all types of butterflies, not just the ones you’re used to seeing, is essential.

To read more about other types, check out this butterfly life cycle guide or this list of North American butterflies for kids!

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