Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Butterflies and Moths

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/16/2015

While butterflies please many onlookers, their related counterparts - moths - are generally viewed as pesky insects.





Butterflies (and the related Skippers) are the quintessential summertime insect across North America, representing 760 complete species while a full 12,000 are known to roam North America and some 165,000 have been categorized worldwide. Moths are similar creatures and their differences abound but all of these insects fall under the encompassing order name of Lepidoptera. Similarities between Butterflies and Moths include their scale-like hairs that cover their respective bodies and deliver their various recognizable patterns and colors along the wings that we see. Nearly all species have a long, coiled tongue known as a proboscis which allows them to suck nectar and pollen (among other food sources depending on species).


There are a total of (72) North American Butterflies and Moths in the Insect Identification database. Entries are listed below in alphabetical order.


Why are Butterflies and Moths grouped together on this page? Because they are scientifically categorized under the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class and Order and very closely related to one another.



Thumbnail picture of the Achemon Sphinx Moth
Achemon Sphinx Moth
Achemon Sphinx Moths are members of the hawkmoth family. They are large, strong and fast. This spec... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Ailanthus Webworm Moth
Ailanthus Webworm Moth
The definitive coloring and stripes on this moth make it unique among Webworm Moths. They tuck and r... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the American Lady Butterfly
American Lady Butterfly
The American Lady Butterfly is a member of the Brush-footed butterfly family. She is related to the... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Banded Tiger Moth
Banded Tiger Moth
Though each species of Tiger Moth has its own pattern, it can be hard to see the differences between... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
The Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth gets its descriptive name from the appearance of the caterpil... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Big Poplar Sphinx Moth
Big Poplar Sphinx Moth
Sphinx Moths are first recognized for their great size. They are the biggest of the Hawk Moths in w... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Black Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail
The Black Swallowtail looks almost identical to the pungent-tasting Pipevine Swallowtail. This mimic... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Black Witch Moth
Black Witch Moth
A member of the Lesser Underwing Moth family, the Black Witch makes up for a lack of flashy wing col... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Blue Morpho
Blue Morpho
The large, tropical Blue Morpho butterfly common in the tropical parts of Central America, but its r... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cabbage White Butterfly
Cabbage White Butterfly
The white wings of this species have charcoal gray tips. Males have 1 black spot on the center of ea... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cassius Blue
Cassius Blue
Cassius Blues are members of the Lycaenidae, or Gossamer-Wing family of butterflies. Gossamer refer... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Clouded Sulphur
Clouded Sulphur
The medium-sized Clouded Sulphur butterfly can be seen flying in meadows, near puddles, along roads,... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Clymene Haploa Moth
Clymene Haploa Moth
Unlike most moths, the Clymene Haploa Moth does not shy away from sunshine. It is equally active bo... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Common Buckeye Butterfly
Common Buckeye Butterfly
The Common Buckeye is a member of the diverse Brush-footed Butterfly family. This means it is relat... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Dingy Cutworm Moth
Dingy Cutworm Moth
The unremarkable colors of this moth helped name it, but the pattern on it is distinctive. The yell... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth
Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth
The Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth gets its name based on the behavior of its caterpillars. Together... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have a bright tiger-like striping pattern on their wings. Males have a m... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly
Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly
The Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly is a member of the Gossamer-Winged Butterfly group. They appear l... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Edwards Glassy Wing Moth
Edwards Glassy Wing Moth
The wings on this moth shimmer in the light, giving them the appearance of glass. Its pinkish red ab... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Evergreen Bagworm Moth
Evergreen Bagworm Moth
What at first looks like a moving pine cone, then becomes a complete mystery to most observers unfam... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Fiery Skipper
Fiery Skipper
This species can be seen flying on grass (lawns), fields, bushes and forest openings. Though a butte... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Forage Looper Moth
Forage Looper Moth
The Forage Looper Moth is brown on both forewing and hindwing. Some member of its family have brill... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Giant Leopard Moth
Giant Leopard Moth
This white tiger moth has distinct black rings as well as black spots along its wings. They can gro... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
This is the largest species of butterfly in North America. The Giant Swallowtail is immense for butt... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Gray Hairstreak Butterfly
Adult Gray Hairstreak Butterflies can be seen in open fields, parks, woods and gardens in every stat... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Great Tiger Moth
Great Tiger Moth
One would never expect a moth with the name Tiger to have coloration more in line with a giraffe. Th... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
This tropical butterfly has short hairs on its front legs, making it part of the 'brush-footed' butt... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Hag Moth
Hag Moth
The Hag Moth is a member of the Slug Caterpillar Moth family. Many of the larvae (caterpillars) of ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Himmelman's Plume Moth
Himmelman's Plume Moth
Himmelman's Plume Moths have many distinct physical features helping observers make an identificatio... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Hoary Edge Skipper
Hoary Edge Skipper
This small butterfly can be found at the edges of forests or clearings from spring to autumn. "Hoar... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Holly Borer Moth
Holly Borer Moth
The transparent wings of the Holly Borer Moth, coupled with the bold black and yellow body patterns,... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Hummingbird Moth
Hummingbird Moth
Fast beating wings and a furry body give the Hummingbird Moth the appearance of a small hummingbird,... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Imperial Moth
Imperial Moth
Few moths have both the size and colors of the Imperial Moth. That said, the two genders tend to ha... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Julia Longwing Butterfly
Julia Longwing Butterfly
The Julia Longwing Butterfly is a member of the diverse Brush-footed Butterfly family. This means i... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Large Tolype Moth
Large Tolype Moth
The Large Tolype Moth is a type of Lappet Moth. A lappet is a fold or flap historically seen on the... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Least Skipper
Least Skipper
Unlike other grass skippers, the Least Skipper is not an excellent flyer. It flutters about, as if i... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Long-Tailed Skipper
Long-Tailed Skipper
The long 'tail's on the tips of each of Long-Tailed Skipper's forewings helped name this butterfly. ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Luna Moth
Luna Moth
This large, pale green Giant Silkmoth can be found in hardwood forests. Luna Moths are unique to No... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Lunate Zale Moth
Lunate Zale Moth
Lunate Zales are extremely widespread throughout North America. They are large moths in the Owlet fa... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Many-Spotted Tiger Moth
Many-Spotted Tiger Moth
This species of moth is in the Tiger Moth family. Most members of this family have vivid coloring o... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Mimosa Yellow Sulphur
Mimosa Yellow Sulphur
The Mimosa Yellow closely resembles the Barred Yellow Sulphur, which lacks dark dots that the Mimosa... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterflies are a common sight throughout North America, with the exception of the extreme n... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
The Mourning Cloak Butterfly has very short front legs, like all its Brush-Footed kin. They are cov... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Pandorus Sphinx Moth
Pandorus Sphinx Moth
This hawk moth boasts a healthy size. Some hawk moths are occasionally mistaken for small birds. Th... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Pearl Crescent Butterfly
Pearl Crescent Butterfly
Color variations within the species is usual, though all tend to be orange with brown and black mark... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Pipevine Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtail
This butterfly mimics the coloring the Spicebush and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. They have elongated ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Plume Moth
Plume Moth
Their thin body and 'T' shape make the Plume Moth unique. Their wings have the appearance of a bird... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Polka Dot Wasp Moth
Polka Dot Wasp Moth
Polka Dot Wasp Moths are common to tropical climates and make their North American home in the South... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Polyphemus Moth
Polyphemus Moth
This member of the Giant Silk Moth family is both large and furry. The antennae are also feathery. ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Promethea Moth
Promethea Moth
The generous size of the Promethea Moth first attracts attention, but the details on its wings help ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Regal Moth
Regal Moth
Both striped and spotted, the Regal Moth can also add "large" to the list of characteristics to iden... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Rosy Maple Moth
Rosy Maple Moth
The colors of the Rosy Maple Moth make it easy to spot on a maple tree. The wings range from purple... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Rustic Sphinx Moth
Rustic Sphinx Moth
This striking, mammoth-sized moth is a member of the Sphinx family. The rich black and white speckl... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Rusty-Tipped Page
Rusty-Tipped Page
Rusty-Tipped Pages are common in Central America, where they live in small groups at elevations over... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Saddleback Caterpillar
Saddleback Caterpillar
The Saddleback Caterpillar is covered in short hairs that sting when touched and contact can sometim... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moth
Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moth
Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moths are members of the Tiger moth family. Like their relatives, they are color... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Silver-Spotted Skipper
Silver-Spotted Skipper
This ubiquitous skipper can be found in a diverse variety of habitats. They are very common everywhe... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly
Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly
The medium-sized Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly has common orange/black/white coloration seen in many... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Slug Caterpillar Moth
Slug Caterpillar Moth
The larval form (caterpillar) of the Slug Caterpillar Moth is unlike the typical, tubular caterpilla... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth
Small-Eyed Sphinx Moth
A member of the Hawk Moth family, the size of this species is startling. Females can average 3" whi... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Snowberry Clearwing Moth
Snowberry Clearwing Moth
Though this species looks and flies like a bee, it does not land on flowers as bees do. And though i... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Southern Emerald Moth
Southern Emerald Moth
This moth is a type of Geometer Moth, one of the largest moth families in North America. This parti... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly
This species of butterfly can be found in gardens and at the edges of forests. Its coloration resemb... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Tersa Sphinx Moth
Tersa Sphinx Moth
The large, stiff wings of this moth may give it the appearance of a small bird. Tersa Sphinx Moths a... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Tobacco Hornworm Moth
Tobacco Hornworm Moth
The name of the Tobacco Hornworm Moth partially stems from its caterpillar form. The green bodied, ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Tulip-Tree Beauty Moth
Tulip-Tree Beauty Moth
The brown and ivory coloring on this moth make it almost impossible to see when it is resting on tre... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Vine Sphinx Moth
Vine Sphinx Moth
The Vine Sphinx Moth has a sleek, striking pattern of lines and stripes on its forewings that is bes... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Walnut Sphinx Moth
Walnut Sphinx Moth
Native to deciduous woodlands, Walnut Sphinx Moths are highly common throughout Missouri with limite... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth
This moth mimics the coloring of a wasp as a measure of protection. Predators are less likely to at... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the White-lined Sphinx Moth
White-lined Sphinx Moth
Sphinx moths are larger than most moths and the White-Lined Sphinx Moth is no exception. Their forew... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the White-Marked Tussock Moth
White-Marked Tussock Moth
The long, spiky tufts of hairs give fair warning to anyone or anything that tries to touch this spec... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Zebra Butterfly
Zebra Butterfly
A common sight in moist, tropical environments, the Zebra Butterfly can be found in that habitat all... [Read More]