Can You ID These Butterflies from an Image?

ANIMALS

Lauren Lubas

6 Min Quiz

This is the most popular butterfly in North America. Can you identify it?

While they are beautiful to look at, these butterflies have an essential job to do. Monarch butterflies are a consistent pollinator species. This means that when you see them on a flower, leave them alone (besides, they're toxic, so you wouldn't want to touch them anyway).

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Can you name this butterfly that is almost all white?

At first glance, you might misidentify these butterflies as moths; however, the cabbage white butterfly has telltale dark spots on its wings. They are usually found in New Zealand.

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What is the name of this butterfly with intricate markings?

An old world swallowtail butterfly has a wing span of about 3 inches. They can be found in the western United States from Alaska down to Mexico, with their biggest populations found in California and Arizona.

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This butterfly was once known as the cosmopolitan. Do you know what they're called now?

At first glance, you might mix up the painted lady with a monarch that's covered in dust. However, painted lady butterflies are not toxic like monarchs, and you can spot a painted lady by its smaller body size.

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Which butterfly is well-known in the Eastern United States?

While the eastern tiger swallowtail gets its nectar from nearly every plant in its area, it prefers to feast on cottonwood trees and various trees that flower. When it does go for a plant, you can usually find it around honeysuckle.

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This butterfly has a different name in North America than it does in Britain. What is its North American name?

The mourning cloak butterfly is known as the Camberwell Beauty on the other side of the pond. They can be found across the more temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere, including North America and Europe.

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Can you identify this butterfly that has iridescent wings?

You can find a pipevine swallowtail in North America and Central America (mostly in the United States and Mexico). They seem to prefer warmer climates, but they can be found as far north as Minnesota.

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Which butterfly is also known as the "passion" butterfly?

The gulf fritillary is usually found in the United States and Mexico. A good way to remember where you can find populations of these butterflies is that they surround the Gulf of Mexico.

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What is this butterfly that may be mistaken for a monarch?

Both viceroy butterflies and monarch butterflies can be found in the United States. Although there are viceroy in the Western United States, they are mostly found in the east (the exact opposite of monarchs).

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This butterfly has the markings of a moth. What is it?

The average wingspan of the common buckeye butterfly is just under 3 inches. You can usually find these guys in fields and open areas around the United States and Mexico and feeding on snapdragons and milkweed.

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What is the name of this dark butterfly?

You can recognize a black swallowtail not just by its color and tail but also by the two little eyes at the bottom of both of its wings. These eyes help protect the black swallowtail from predators such as birds.

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Which butterfly has wings that look like a chewed leaf?

You may know this little guy as the alfalfa butterfly. They can be seen feasting on wildflowers throughout North America but mostly in the Eastern and Midwestern portions of the United States.

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Can you identify the butterfly named after the animal it looks like?

As you can see, the stripes on the zebra swallowtail are vertical (up and down) on its wings. There are other species of striped butterflies, but nearly all of them have horizontal stripes on their wings.

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This butterfly isn't afraid to hang out with humans in the American South. Can you name it?

Cloudless sulphur butterflies are masters of disguise. Their wings are a light greenish-yellow color when they're both opened and closed. This helps them blend in with the foliage they land on.

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Which butterfly is named after a punctuation mark?

They aren't called the comma because they pause after every clause. The ridges of their wings look like a bunch of commas placed together end to end. Why this type wasn't called the cheetah butterfly, we will never know.

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Can you identify this orange-and-black butterfly species?

You can spot a small copper butterfly by its sizeable dark spot over its bottom wings. They also have spots on their wings, unlike other copper butterflies which simply have deep orange wings with a black border.

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What's the name of this species of butterfly which boasts a wingspan of 6.25 inches?

Giant swallowtail butterflies are generally found in warm, wet areas. They get their nectar from lantana and sunflowers, but their caterpillars can be found in prickly ash and rue trees.

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This butterfly likes to feed on sweet milkweed. Can you name it?

Fiery skippers look very much like grasshoppers if you aren't paying attention. However, the big difference is that fiery skippers always have their wings out. These interesting butterflies are generally found in the Southern United States and Mexico.

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What is the name of this butterfly covered in spots?

If you think the Northern United States and Canada don't have beautiful butterflies, this gorgeous orange fellow should prove you wrong. They generally feast on black-eyed Susans and milkweed.

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Which butterfly has a border around its wings?

You can generally find this papery butterfly in the wetter regions of the United States. They often feast on zinnia and milkweed, but their caterpillars can be found on white clover and milk vetch.

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Can you name this speckled butterfly found in North America?

The silver-spotted skipper is a duller-looking butterfly and is often mistaken for a moth-butterfly hybrid. One interesting fact about them is that they don't really like yellow flowers.

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What kind of "skipper" butterfly is this?

Another skipper butterfly, the common checkered-skipper, is rather small, only measuring about 1.5 inches in total wingspan. When this butterfly is on the ground, it looks like someone splattered white paint onto mud.

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This yellow butterfly lives in most of Europe. What is it?

The clouded yellow butterfly looks green when its wings are folded. You can generally find them in fields of pea plants, sucking the nectar out of the flowers. When it rests, its wings are closed, making it look like a leaf.

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Which butterfly has a narrow black wing span that can reach up to four inches long?

Carl Linnaeus made the first documentation of the zebra longwing butterfly in 1767. This species is the official state butterfly of Florida and can be found throughout Central America as well.

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Can you identify this butterfly with a unique wing shape?

The long-tailed skipper is so named for the fact that its wings have appeared to have sprouted two tails at the bottoms. When these insects are caterpillars, they prefer to eat the plants made by various beans and nuts.

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Which butterfly has this unique facial structure and wing shape?

The American snout has a unique wing shape that includes long, thin upper wings and short, rounded lower wings that hug close to its body. Additionally, its markings mimic that of a monarch.

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This butterfly only grows to be about 1.5 inches long. Do you know what it is?

Also known as the common ringlet, the large heath prefers grassy habitats. They are mostly found in the Northern and Western parts of the United States, but they are also seen sporadically throughout Europe.

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What is the very descriptive name of this butterfly?

The green-veined white is usually found in ditches, river banks and damp areas of England, Ireland and Scotland. They are usually seen in the summertime (from April to August) or in the dampest months of the year.

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Can you name this North American butterfly that has a gorgeous blue color?

Limenitis arthemis is also known as the red-spotted purple. Typically found in Massachusetts, these beautiful blues like to lay their eggs on cherry trees and willow trees, but have been known to lay on power lines as well.

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Do you know the name of this butterfly with rounded wings?

Postman butterflies are generally found in warmer climates in Central America, although they can be found in Mexico as well. They were first recorded by Car Linnaeus (the king of butterfly discovery) in 1758.

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This butterfly blends in with oak trees nicely. What is its name?

Checkered white butterflies can be found across North America, but they are often found in the American Midwest. These butterflies can be found wherever there are hibiscus and passion flowers.

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Which pale-blue butterfly is found in Eurasia and North America?

These seemingly impossible blue butterflies have a pretty plain caterpillar (green with dull red stripes), and their wingspans are even less impressive, coming in at about 1.3 inches.

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What is the largest butterfly in the world?

The wingspan on this beautiful creature can reach up to 12 inches. That's the size of your ruler at home. It's among the largest insects in the world and can be found in the rain forests. Oh, and did we mention it's poisonous?

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This butterfly looks like a monarch until it opens its wings. What is it?

The queen butterfly is a deep orange color, but it sometimes turns red. The caterpillars for these butterflies is very close to the caterpillar of the monarch, except it has an extra set of tentacles.

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Can you name this butterfly whose name describes the males and females of the species?

The silvery blue is also found in North America. When its wings are folded, it has a silvery look. When they are open, males have a blue color, and females have a gray color that looks almost silver.

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Do you recognize this butterfly that looks like it has eyes on its wings?

You may also recognize the common wood-nymph as the grayling or the goggle eye butterfly. It's usually found in North America from Southern Florida to Maine. They typically feed on shrubbery rather than flowers.

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What is the name of this butterfly that makes a great tattoo?

Granted, the Ulysses butterfly is beautiful, but most don't know that it is mostly found in Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Their caterpillars are a pale yellow-green color that blends in perfectly with leaves.

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This butterfly share its name with an adult beverage. What is it?

The blue moon butterfly is mostly found in New Zealand, but it can also be found as far as Madagascar and India, and they feed on Malva and Urtica dioica. Their colors range from black to a dark brown with blue spots.

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Would you be able to name this large butterfly species if you saw it?

Related to the Queen Alexandria birdwing butterfly (the largest butterfly in the world), the wingspan of these majestic creatures is around 8 inches, which is still pretty significant for a butterfly.

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What is the name of this butterfly that is often found in Australia?

The dainty swallowtail is best known for its larval stage. The caterpillar for this species of butterfly has rows of spikes coming out of its back, as well as two horns on its head.

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Image: Pixabay / Soorelis

About This Quiz

Many people don't think of butterflies as insects, but when you boil them down to what they truly are, that's what you get: a bug. However, butterflies are such majestic, noninvasive creatures that we have to stop and look at one flying by ... And we always attempt to snap a pic (though we never seem to get our phones out in time!). Because butterflies are transformed caterpillars, in many religions and cultures around the world, they're considered symbols of resurrection and reincarnation. What was once a gross-looking worm thing is now a winged creature that is delicate and beautiful. 

For decades, scientists have been studying butterfly life cycles and migratory patterns, but you don't have to be a Lepidopterist (someone who studies butterflies) to be able to recognize your favorite butterfly species when you see it. You do, however, have to have a keen eye to tell the difference between a painted lady and a monarch (hint: one looks a bit like a moth). 

If you think you can call out a butterfly species just by its colors, markings and wing shape, it's time to test your skills with this butterfly identification quiz.

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