This article describes the different types of butterflies in California. This collection features a variety of colorful butterflies, perfect for anyone who enjoys looking at insects, from painted ladies and monarchs to swallowtails.
One of the most well-known insects in the world is the butterfly. Even though some species, such as the monarch and the painted lady, are quite well known, there are several stunning species that virtually everyone is familiar with.
There are about 700 different types of butterflies in the United States, with California having its own unique collection of approximately 170 butterfly species.
These types of butterflies in California, which perform the role of pollinators similar to that of bees, are vitally important.
During their annual migration, the monarch butterfly is notable for spreading pollen over the western coast of the United States.
You can find numerous butterflies in the western United States; however, some are much more common than others.
The Danaus plexippus monarch butterfly is one of the most widespread species in California.
Scientists have scrutinized The population of monarch butterflies in a few studies, and the results reveal that the species’ population is decreasing.
The annual population of monarch butterflies in California is estimated to be somewhere between a few hundred thousand and several million.
From their summertime haunts west of the Rocky Mountains, these butterflies make their way to California and other regions in Mexico as part of their migration.
When migrating from their northern homes, monarch butterflies almost always stop in Southern California.
The wingspans of monarch butterflies range between 3 and 4 inches, making them among the largest butterflies you can find in the state.
The species stands out because of its color, a blend of black and orange. The veins and wide borders of the wings are also black, which complements the orange base color of the wings.
This species consumes various plants for food, including Indian hemp and wild carrot.
In the southern parts of the United States, California milkweed is another food source for monarch butterflies.
There is evidence that monarch butterflies who feed on milkweed are less likely to move great distances than those who feed on other plants like goldenrod or blazing stars. This is the conclusion drawn from certain data.
2. Painted Lady
Painted Lady butterflies, also known as Vanessa cardui, are among the species with the highest population density in California.
This is true regarding the category of migrating butterflies and other species in general.
The wings of Painted Lady butterflies are various shades of orange, brown, white, and black.
The primary color of this species is orange, with black veins and the ends of its forewings are also black.
Black spots may be seen on the wings’ orange portion, while white spots are on the black portions of the wings.
The Painted Lady butterfly is a species that travels from California to other states. They travel via the Northern region of California to get to the rest of the state.
The amount of precipitation, which stimulates the growth of the species’ preferred host plants, is the single most critical element in determining the scope of the migration.
There have been some of the largest migrations of Painted Ladies in California in the past few years, and there is potential for them to happen again whenever there is rainfall in dry places.
This causes the growth of several types of asters, which are the flowers that Painted Lady butterflies prefer the most.
3. Fiery Skipper
It is possible to recognize Fiery Skippers, also known as Hylephila phyleus, by their yellow or orange coloring. Brown is the color of this species’ females.
In contrast to species seen elsewhere, Fiery Skippers found in Southern California have a darker overall appearance.
These types of butterflies in California have been the subject of significant research since they are among the most frequent grass-eating insects in the state.
Fiery Skippers are a widespread problem on lawns and are considered a significant danger to grasses in California and Hawaii.
In most cases, one will use a pesticide to eliminate this species as a preventative precaution or after it has already invaded an area.
These types of butterflies in California are easily identifiable thanks to the yellow or orange coloration that is unique to their wings.
The female butterfly is recognizable for having a predominantly dark brown color, which is even darker in Southern California.
In contrast, the male butterfly has a colorful appearance completed by dark brown edges.
The Fiery Skipper is a butterfly species found all over the state, particularly at lower elevations.
One can use How the wings of a Fiery Skipper butterfly are arranged on a California lawn to identify the species. These butterflies’ upper wings are folded into a triangular shape at rest.
4. Variable Checkerspot
In California, you can find a common dark-colored butterfly known as the Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona).
Butterflies of this species are frequently spotted in protected areas, likely because California’s climate and plant life are well suited to their needs.
These species have predominantly dark coloration on their wings. Its wings are covered in white dots, although its margins are predominantly colored red and black.
The Variable Checkerspot spends a significant portion of its life attempting to escape being eaten by predators, most of which are birds.
This is why its ventral wings have developed a patterned appearance. During their time as caterpillars, variable checkerspot butterflies like munching on yerba santa. This particular plant is native to the area.
The larvae of the Variable Checkerspot butterfly feed on a wider variety of hosts than other checkerspot species.
Sticky-monkey flowers found inside and outside of California are its primary food source.
It can absorb toxins, which cause it to have an unpleasant taste and deter potential predators. Additionally, this state is the location of the California bee plant.
This wildflower species is similar to others yet does not contain any poisons. Caterpillars of the Variable Checkerspot species are also fond of this species.
Caterpillars of this species prefer to grow more quickly on the California bee plant even though they do not get any toxins from the plant that they can use for defense. This is because the California bee plant is gentler in the digestive system.
5. Gray Buckeye
There is a subspecies of the Common Buckeye butterfly known as the Gray Buckeye butterfly (Junonia grisea).
These types of butterflies in California reside in a region that extends west of the Rocky Mountains.
The base hue of Gray Buckeye butterflies is a gradient of gray, and they have additional colors that include orange, brown, black, and white.
Its forewings are the only part of its wings with dark gray coloring, whereas the hindwings have a lighter gray coloring overall.
The extraordinarily huge eyespots of this species are the primary reason for its notoriety.
These eyespots, found on the edges of the wings, can be viewed as protective adaptations that make the species look larger and more menacing.
The final piece of the margin between the eyespots and the wings is colored orange so that the brown and black eye spots may be more noticeable.
6. Umber Skipper
Even though they are native to other parts of the Southwestern United States, Umber Skipper butterflies (Lon melane) are most prevalent in California.
The butterflies are a dark color, and the span of their wings is slightly more than one inch.
The butterfly can create a triangle shape by folding its forewings while keeping its hindwings in their natural position.
The species is identifiable by its brown and yellow coloring and has a reputation for having a rather dark appearance.
On the underside of its wings, the ventral side, lighter shades of brown and yellow is visible.
This species feeds on a wide variety of plants and uses many plants as hosts for the larvae it produces. Plants that you can only find in California are some of his favorites.
Its caterpillars feed on various plants throughout the state, but the California brome and San Diego sedge are two of the most common hosts.
Adult butterflies and moths are not as dependent on a particular plant or flower as caterpillars are.
Adult Umber Skippers get their nutrition by sucking the nectar from a wide variety of wildflowers.
7. California Sister
The California Sister, also known as Adelpha California, is a species of the state’s native flora that is typically small and black.
This butterfly spends most of its life in California, but you can also find it elsewhere along the West Coast.
The majority of individuals of this species are black. Its wings are mostly black, with white bands and red spots across the forewings. Its upper wings also have red spots across the tips of the forewings.
At moderate to high elevations, on hills and mountains, it is not difficult to locate the butterflies known as California Sisters.
They call oak woodlands, in particular, their home or the areas surrounding those woodlands.
Canyon oaks and Coastal live oaks are the preferred host plants for the larvae of butterflies belonging to the California Sister genus.
It is common knowledge that adults favor other types of organic food, such as dung and mud.
The process of puddling frequently occurs within the species. This is when adults get together in groups to consume the organic nutrients found in mud.
8. Pipevine Swallowtail
Battus philenor, also known as the black and blue butterfly, is frequently seen in California. Most Pipevine Swallowtails reside on the eastern coast of the United States.
The size is the primary distinction between California Pipevine Swallowtails and Eastern Pipevine Swallowtails; other than that, there aren’t many other differences.
Pipevine Swallowtails in California are typically smaller than those in other parts of the United States.
It is possible to recognize this species by its black forewings. Its hindwings are blue, but you can only see them when it’s in the air.
Large orange spots and numerous small white marks are visible across the blue sections of the ventral hindwings.
Swallowtails can imitate other species of butterflies, and it is also well-known that other butterflies can imitate these swallowtails for defensive reasons.
Females Pipevine It is common knowledge that swallowtail butterflies consume pollen during the day. It’s common for males to look for females; at the same time, they look for food.
Pipevine Swallowtail females only feed on the nectar of plants, while the males consume mud together with other males to get the nutrients they need.
When there are already males in an area feeding on the mud, the likelihood of additional males there increases.
9. Red Admiral
During the winter months in California, you’ll frequently see Red Admirals, also known as Vanessa atalanta.
They travel down from the Arctic Circle and begin mating as soon as they set foot in the state. After that, this species only mate again in the spring, when it returns to its northern range.
Because of their highly territorial nature, red admirals have developed a sophisticated mating strategy.
These types of butterflies in California have a predominantly black coloration, and their forewings have white spots and red bands.
Some Red Admirals only have brown hind wings and black fore wings. This particular morph features orange bands rather than yellow ones.
The hindwings of Red Admiral butterflies have a brown and black pattern on the ventral surface, while the forewings are mostly black.
This species is most prevalent in regions of the state with abundant stinging nettle to choose from.
Red Admiral butterflies migrate south in late fall when there is fresh stinging nettle in the state because this is the most common host plant for the species.
10. Cabbage White
The Cabbage White butterfly, also known as Pieris rapae, is a species that consists of multiple stages and is considered a pest when it is in the caterpillar stage.
In various parts of the state, the Cabbage White caterpillar is also commonly referred to as the Cabbage Worm.
The cabbage butterfly caterpillar feeds on cabbages and other cruciferous vegetables.
The state of California and the states that are nearby have sustained significant damage, which is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
Even though birds can eat Cabbage White caterpillars, they cause significant economic damage yearly.
Adult Cabbage White butterflies feed on flowers that are yellow or white in color, and as a result, they have no direct impact on cruciferous plants.
Adult butterflies have vivid coloration, which ranges from off-white to cream, alongside a black or dark gray body.
The dark spots that females of this species have on the middle section of their wings are another way they can be distinguished from males of the species.
The underside of the wings has a color that is somewhere between cream and white. This species’ ability to hide on flowers by folding its wings helps it avoid being noticed.
The aster is one of the flowers on which these types of butterflies in California feed.
11. Gulf Fritillary
Over the past ten years, these particular butterflies, the Dione vanillae, have become very common in California.
Although they are not as common in Texas as in Florida, you can spot these butterflies in California at least twice a year. This is because Texas is a migration destination and a migration route toward Mexico.
This particular species of butterfly has a base color of orange, with black lines and black dots with white sections in the middle.
Its ventral underside has a darker brown coloring than the rest of its body. The brown portions of the wings also have numerous large white dots.
The caterpillar stage of the fritillary butterfly shares some of the adult’s coloration. The larvae of this species have a coloring that ranges from orange to brown and is striped with black.
The larvae of this species consume passionflowers as their food source. Adults of certain species are the ones that secrete certain defensive odors when they sense that another animal may attack them.
As the birds get closer, they emit an offensive odor. Both males and females possess glands that serve as a defense mechanism responsible for releasing odors from the accumulation of toxins in their host plants.
12. Western Tiger Swallowtail
California’s largest natural species include the Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus). These types of butterflies in California can have a wing span that is greater than 4 inches.
A combination of yellow and black coloring characterizes the appearance of the species.
This type of butterfly has a yellow base coloring with black stripes and bands throughout their bodies.
The underside of the wings, known as the ventral side, similarly features a predominance of black and yellow colors.
This butterfly species eat a wide variety of plants and frequently inhabits the Western Coast.
The California buckeye and yerba santa are two plants this species consumes for sustenance. They are consumed daily by adults.
The caterpillars of this species prefer eating on willows, cottonwood, and ash trees over the California buckeye, but they will still do so if necessary.
One major reason the Western Tiger Swallowtail resides near bodies of water is that these are the conditions under which willows thrive. Willows thrive in moist environments.
13. Acmon Blue
Icaricia acmon, more often known as Acmon Blue butterflies, are almost entirely indigenous to the state of California and the immediate environments in neighboring states.
This particular kind of blue butterfly has a rather small wingspan. The dorsal wings of this creature have a distinct shade of dark blue color.
On the forewings, you can see that the wing edges are black. There is a band of orange on the hind wings, and the edges are white.
Although very dark on the dorsal side, the ventral wings of this species range in hue from white to gray.
On the underside of the wings, on the ventral side, there are a few little black spots and an orange line that runs down the borders.
There are several different environments in which you can find Acmon Blue. This species can be discovered practically everywhere in the state, from arid regions to coastal areas and even from the foothills to the marshes.
Adults consume nectar from a variety of wildflowers, while the Acmon Blue caterpillar feeds on buckwheat found around.
14. Mourning Cloak
In California, Mourning Cloak butterflies, also known as Nymphalis antiopa, are among the most frequent species of pest butterflies.
The wings of this species have a stripe that ranges from off-white to yellow and is a dark brown color overall.
Along the edges of the wings of this species may be seen a series of very little blue markings.
This species’ dark dorsal and lighter ventral gray coloration provides further diagnostic information. This coloration on the ventral surface serves as a defense strategy.
Because of the camouflaging coloring on the underside of the butterfly’s wings, it is difficult to spot the butterfly when it pauses on the tree’s bark and exposes its ventral wings.
The presence of the caterpillar of this species on a tree is a worrying omen because the larvae of this species can strip a host tree of all of its leaves.
Willow and poplar are two examples of host plants that the larvae of the Mourning Cloak butterfly defoliate.
There is some degree of uncertainty regarding the origin of large numbers of caterpillars that feed on host trees. Many believe that these types of butterflies in California do not migrate.
According to some other hypotheses, the Morning Cloak is one of the native species of North America that usually migrate to Central America.
15. Gray Hairstreak
One can find many Gray Hairstreak butterflies in the state thanks to the clover (Strymon melinus).
The Gray Hairstreak butterfly’s favorite food source is clovers of all kinds, including bush clovers.
Alternately, these types of butterflies in California eat on mallows when they are hungry. The caterpillars of the Gray Hairstreak butterfly also use plants in the pea family as food sources.
This group of butterflies is distinguished further by the fact that they only have two to three broods per year.
In some areas of the state, you can still see these butterflies flying around as late as November.
Because they frequently feed on mints, which is a herb grown in gardens, you can find Gray Hairstreaks in practically another habitat.
The dorsal wings of this species always have a color that ranges from dark gray to dark blue. On some specimens of this species, the edges are white.
Additionally, orange dots are visible on the butterfly’s hindwings. The undersides of the wings of butterflies belonging to this genus range in color from white to gray.
Additionally, you can find black spots and yellow stripes on the ventral forewings of this insect. The caterpillars of this genus have a coloration that is white and pink.
16. Common Ringlet
Common Ringlet butterflies, also known as Coenonympha California, are a tiny species that can be found both inside and outside California. Their colors can vary greatly.
This tiny species has a modest wing span of slightly more than 1 inch. Most of its wings are orange, although they also come in shades of gray, brown, and tan.
The United States, and even within the state of California, both show a high degree of coloration variety among the species.
The butterfly can be found from Oregon to Baja California in its natural habitat. It is also common in parks and other open spaces, such as fields and meadows, where you can find it.
Adult Common Ringlet butterflies eat a diverse selection of grasses; as a result, they have the potential to become a nuisance in public parks and gardens.
17. Lorquin’s Admiral
One of the most frequently seen admirals in California is the Limenitis lorquini. It is also one of the state’s most territorial butterflies, making it one of the most hostile butterflies.
The black wings of this species are contrasted with orange points on the forewings, making them easy to recognize. Its forewings and hindwings have white markings along the borders of its wings.
This species also has vivid pigmentation on the underside of its body. You can find dark brown, orange, and light brown patterns on the underside of its wings.
Additionally, black veins and huge white specks are visible on its ventral wings. The presence of Lorquin’s Admiral in California can be attributed to several factors.
Native to the state, some of its favorite flora include Yerba Santa and California Buckeye, to name just a couple.
These plants are inedible to the caterpillars of the Lorquin’s Admiral butterfly. Willows and other types of trees are their hosts of choice.
18. Marine Blue
Marine Blue butterflies, also known as Leptotes marina, are known for their vibrant colors and can be found in California.
The purple-blue color that is more prominent in males of this species is where the name of the species came from.
The male and the female have a foundation color brown on the dorsal wings of their bodies.
In addition, male Marine Blue butterflies have a purple hue on the upper part of their bodies and in the middle of their forewings.
The species has a coloring pattern on its ventral surface consisting of wavy brown and white lines. Large eyespots of blue are also on the ventral sides of the wings of this species.
When their abundance is controlled, Marine Blue butterflies do not pose a significant risk to the crops grown in California.
The Marine Blue caterpillar is the species that cause the greatest trouble. The alfalfa plant is the host plant for the species’ caterpillar.
You can find Marine Blue butterflies and caterpillars all the way down to Baja California in the southernmost part of the state.
19. Mylitta Crescent
The Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta), which can have a wing span of up to 37 millimeters, is one of the ubiquitous North American species found in the state of California.
The base color of this butterfly is orange or orange-red, and it has checkered patterns that are either black or brown. The body of the butterfly is the same color.
The larvae of Mylitta Crescent butterflies are known to feed on thistles, making them one of the most frequent butterfly species.
The Mylitta Crescent caterpillar frequently feeds on asters, but the adults move on to nectar from various flowers. Asters are common hosts for this species.
This active species has a long flying season because it is only dormant from December to January. It is possible to locate it at a different altitude.
Even at altitudes of a few thousand feet, certain species of butterflies, including the Mylitta Crescent butterfly, can be seen regularly.
Open environments like meadows are good places to look for butterflies. The adults and the caterpillars of this species eat on the wildflowers found in parks and on the fringes of wooded areas where they live.
20. Orange Sulphur
The Orange Sulphur butterfly, also known as the Colias eurytheme, is one of the orange butterflies found most frequently in California.
These types of butterflies in California species are well-known for having vibrant colors on both their dorsal and ventral surfaces.
The dorsal wings predominantly feature an orange coloration. Its forewings and its hindwings are distinguished from one another by the presence of dark brown patches along the margins of the wings.
Its body is largely black, and the center portion of its forewings has a black iridescence. Ventrally, orange sulfurs can have either a yellow or green coloration.
The undersides of the wings of these types of butterflies in California are yellow, and there are a few dots of brown and white across the forewings.
Within this species, there is also a variation with ventral wings that are a lime green color. Despite their diminutive size, orange sulfurs are California’s most destructive species.
Infestations of caterpillars belonging to this species are common in alfalfa fields. Because these caterpillars only come out at night, they cause a significant amount of damage to the crops.
21. Pale Swallowtail
In the state of California, one of the most common species of huge butterflies is called the Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon).
Even though it doesn’t have nearly as many individuals as the Western Tiger Swallowtail, this species can still be found in significant numbers in the area.
You can locate Pale Swallowtails either in clearings in the woods or close to bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.
This species prefers environments with high humidity and abundant water, as these conditions produce mud that they may use for puddling.
To reach the water that is rich in nutrients, male Pale Swallowtails will munch their way through the muck.
The size of the Pale Swallowtail and its wings’ colors make it easy to spot in its natural habitat.
This kind of butterfly, which looks a lot like zebra butterflies and has a wing span of between 3 and 4.5 inches on average, has a black-and-white coloration.
Pale Swallowtails’ wings have bands of black and white that alternate with one another. You can find bands in contrasting black and white on both the butterfly’s forewings and hindwings.
This particular kind of butterfly has a black head, and a body marked with two white stripes running longitudinally.
Across the entirety of the wings may be seen distinct black borders. On the underside of the wings, there are white shapes in the shape of half-moons and tiny white stripes that run along the black edges.
In addition, the species has blue, yellow, and orange markings on the lower hindwings and two black and white tails.
22. California Tortoiseshell
California Tortoiseshell, also known as the Nymphalis California, is a type of tiny butterfly that lives in forests and woodland openings.
This species can be found all the way up the West Coast in Canada, in the province of British Columbia.
The warmer months in the state are when California tortoiseshells’ population reaches its peak numbers.
From their western ranges, these types of butterflies in California may occasionally fly across the country to New York on their migrations to the east.
True migrations are uncommon, and California’s butterflies rarely travel to other states. With a wing span of around 2 inches on average, these butterflies are one of the smaller to medium-sized species in the state.
The coloration of their ventral wings looks like dead leaves to avoid being eaten by predators. The undersides of the animal’s wings are more vibrantly colored.
The dorsal wings of individuals in this species typically have an orange or orange-to-brown coloration.
On the wings of this species can be seen both yellow regions and markings with a dark brown color.
Additional decoration on the dorsal side of the wings comes from black and brown wing margins.
These types of butterflies in California are easily identifiable in their caterpillar stage due to their preference for host plants. Lilac is the host plant for the California Tortoiseshell butterfly.
23. Echo Azure
California is home to a significant number of Echo Azures, also known as Celastrina echo. You can find these butterflies flying about from springtime through October.
The base color of Echo Azure butterflies is blue, with triangle-shaped markings on their wings’ upper side.
The body of this species is a dark blue color, while the wing margins are black and white.
The female Echo Azure lays her eggs directly on the flower buds where she feeds. The eggs are spherical and white, and very small.
Every year, there are anywhere from one to three generations of butterflies. When it comes to the plant that serves as its food source, this species is rather similar to the California Tortoiseshell. People frequently choose to lay their eggs on wild lilacs.
The California buckeye is another, more state-specific host plant for the Echo Azure butterfly. Adults subsist on the nectar of a wide variety of plant species.
The range that Echo Azure butterflies inhabit is another way to differentiate them. They are most comfortable in wooded areas, woodland openings, plains of medium elevation, and scrub.
The species has adapted to living in environments at higher elevations that are abundant in plant life, such as habitats near mountain streams.
24. Checkered White
Checkered White butterflies, also known as Pontia protodice, are among the most frequent tiny white butterflies in the state of California.
There are subtle color changes between male and female Checkered White butterflies, although most of the butterfly’s body is white in both sexes. It’s common to see additional brown or gray dots on females.
While the dorsal wings are white, the ventral wings are primarily brown with partial white markings throughout the butterfly’s forewings and hindwings.
Compared to the size of other species found in the state, Checkered White butterflies are small.
The wingspan of these types of butterflies in California can reach up to 1.5 inches. However, they are most common in open spaces.
This plant can thrive in various environments, including dry open forests, prairies, footpaths, meadows, valleys, and hills.
One of the types of flowers that are most characteristic of this species is called mustard. Secondary host plants for this species are asters and alfalfa, respectively.
Migration can take place inside a state but only within the same species. The males and females of the species do not reach sexual maturity at the same time, which is what sets off the migration of the species.
Males are ready to mate earlier than females and tend to saturate a region with females once they reach that point.
Consequently, the female Checkered White butterfly may go to a location where there are fewer males.
25. West Coast Lady
West Coast Lady butterflies (Vanessa Annabella) are typical tiny orange species throughout the state.
You can find these types of butterflies in California in various environments, including scrub and other dry regions of the landscape.
It is easy to mistake this species for one of the state’s many other orange butterfly varieties.
You can recognize The West Coast Lady butterfly by its coloration, which ranges from orange to brown at its base. The brown coloration is visible in the middle of the wings and the body.
The leading edges of the forewings are covered in white dots across a dark brown to a black background.
The species’ preferred host plant is the marshmallow, which significantly influences adults’ feeding behaviors in the area.
The colorful West Coast Lady butterfly is a species that is frequently confused with other species of butterflies that belong to the same family.
The American Painted Lady butterfly and the Painted Lady butterfly are the only two other butterfly species that reside throughout North America and even partially in Central America.
Even though the habitats of these types of butterflies in California do not overlap, you can often find butterflies with color combinations like brown and orange or black and orange.
26. Western Pygmy-Blue
Brephidium exilis butterflies, often known as Western Pygmy-Blue butterflies, are among the state’s most diminutive species.
Although it can have a wingspan of up to 20 mm, it is more typical for the species to have a much shorter wingspan.
The brown color of the butterfly is another distinguishing feature that helps to identify it. You may notice a color ranging from dark brown to black on most of its dorsal wings.
Most of the species’ front and back wings have a predominantly dark brown coloration.
The upper part of its body is black, as are the elongated black spots visible on the margins of its hindwings.
The forewings have fine white hairs and a very thin white overlay. The species’ ventral color is similarly predominantly brown, although it has a softer tone than the dorsal coloring.
The ventral wings of Western Pygmy-Blue butterflies are pale yellow, and a white stripe runs the length of both the forewings and the hindwings.
The wings of this species are covered with large, dark eyespots across their entirety. It has white and brown coloring on both its legs and antennae.
This species of tiny butterfly thrive in every single county in the state. They choose old pastures that are overgrown with pigweed as one of their favored habitats.
27. Western Giant Swallowtail
The Western Giant Swallowtail, also known as the Papilio Rumiko, is one of the largest butterfly species found in California.
These butterflies can reach a maximum wing spread of 58 millimeters, and you can find them throughout the state in various environments.
The larva of the Western Giant Swallowtail butterfly most frequently feeds on wafer ash and wild lime, which is also the location where one is most likely to encounter this species.
The caterpillar will eat the leaves of these plants and the plants themselves. The Western Giant Swallowtail butterfly is identifiable by its enormous, brown wings decorated with yellow patterns.
The forewings and the hindwings are a dark brown hue. The edges of the fore and hindwings have a series of yellow dots.
A wide band in the shape of a V may run across the forewings of the species. You can also find both colors found on the dorsal wings on the ventral wings.
The ventral wings are mostly yellow, with brown dots and brown stripes across the forewings. The predominant color of the forewings is brown.
28. Behr’s Metalmark
The Behr’s Metalmark, also known as Apodemia virgulti, is one of the most frequent butterfly species you may find flying in southern California throughout the year.
There are indications of its presence south of Los Angeles, around San Diego, and all the way down to Baja California.
When it comes to the kinds of plants that it will host, these types of butterflies in California have a strong affinity for different kinds of buckwheat.
You can find Behr’s Metalmark butterfly across California’s eastern and coastal regions. It is one of the state’s most frequent multicolored butterflies.
In the coastal areas of San Diego, the species is active throughout the entire year.
The wings of Behr’s Metalmark butterflies have a coloration that ranges from gray to black, while the bodies of the insects are black.
Markings ranging from orange to brown and black stripes are visible on this insect’s forewings and hindwings.
Additionally, the wings of all individuals of this species have white dots that have black edges. Even though they are not actual eyespots, these white marks help to distinguish the species.
The dull coloration of the ventral surface is unique to Behr’s Metalmark. This particular species’ ventral side is mostly colored gray and orange, with huge white spots bordered by black.
29. Anise Swallowtail
The Anise Swallowtail, also known as Papilio zelicaon, is a species of butterfly that can be found across the state and has a wing span of approximately 3 inches.
The wings of this species have a combination of black and yellow colors and two short tails. You can recognize this species by its wings.
The wings’ primary color is yellow, decorated with black veins that run from the forewings to the hindwings.
In addition, these types of butterflies in California have broad black edges dotted with a few little yellow spots.
There are dots in an orange coloration on the underside of the hindwings. The Northern and Southern regions of California each have a nearly similar number of individuals belonging to this species.
The area around Sacramento Valley in the state’s northern regions is the best place to look for this species.
Anise Swallowtail butterflies often feed on wild carrots and wild parsley, which are two of the more common types of natural plants they consume.
Citrus fruits are another frequent type of host for the species. Because of this, Anise Swallowtail butterflies can be found all around the state, including in your own garden.