Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Butterflies of Philadelphia: A Checklist

Monarch butterfly on a zinnia in my Philadelphia garden
Monarch butterfly on a zinnia in my Philadelphia garden

How many butterflies live in Philadelphia? Ten species? Twenty? How about 115! Generate a list for where you live by using the regional checklist feature on http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/. Why not go butterfly watching in the big city?

The species accounts on http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/, give nectar and larval host plants that you can plant to attract local butterflies to your garden. The North American Butterfly Association (http://www.naba.org/) has journals, plant lists for butterfly gardening and citizen science projects related to butterflies.

The following list is of the 115 confirmed sightings of butterflies in Philadelphia by the kind folks at Montana State University’s Butterflies and Moths of North America website. This list is not someone’s best guess, but actual identifications by experts in the county of Philadelphia (the whole city).

All the species names are linked to the profile on the Butterflies and Moths website.

The 115 butterfly species for Philadelphia County (the City of Philadelphia)

https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/checklists

Hesperiidae Skippers

Epargyreus clarus Silver-spotted Skipper
Urbanus proteus Long-tailed Skipper
Achalarus lyciades Hoary Edge
Thorybes pylades Northern Cloudywing
Thorybes bathyllus Southern Cloudywing
Thorybes confusis Confused Cloudywing
Erynnis icelus Dreamy Duskywing
Erynnis brizo Sleepy Duskywing
Erynnis juvenalis Juvenal’s Duskywing
Erynnis horatius Horace’s Duskywing
Erynnis martialis Mottled Duskywing
Erynnis zarucco Zarucco Duskywing
Erynnis baptisiae Wild Indigo Duskywing
Erynnis lucilius Columbine Duskywing
Pyrgus communis Common Checkered-Skipper
Pholisora catullus Common Sootywing
Nastra lherminier Swarthy Skipper
Lerema accius Clouded Skipper
Ancyloxypha numitor Least Skipper
Thymelicus lineola European Skipper
Hylephila phyleus Fiery Skipper
Hesperia metea Cobweb Skipper
Hesperia sassacus Indian Skipper
Polites peckius Peck’s Skipper
Polites themistocles Tawny-edged Skipper
Polites origenes Crossline Skipper
Polites mystic Long Dash
Polites vibex Whirlabout
Wallengrenia egeremet Northern Broken-Dash
Pompeius verna Little Glassywing
Anatrytone logan Delaware Skipper
Poanes hobomok Hobomok Skipper
Poanes zabulon Zabulon Skipper
Poanes massasoit Mulberry Wing
Poanes viator Broad-winged Skipper
Euphyes conspicua Black Dash
Euphyes bimacula Two-spotted Skipper
Euphyes vestris Dun Skipper
Atrytonopsis hianna Dusted Skipper
Amblyscirtes vialis Common Roadside-Skipper
Panoquina panoquin Salt Marsh Skipper
Panoquina ocola Ocola Skipper

Papilionidae Parnassians and Swallowtails

Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtail
Eurytides marcellus Zebra Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes Black Swallowtail
Papilio glaucus Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio troilus Spicebush Swallowtail
Papilio palamedes Palamedes Swallowtail
Papilio cresphontes Giant Swallowtail

Pieridae Whites and Sulphurs

Anthocharis midea Falcate Orangetip
Pieris rapae Cabbage White
Pontia protodice Checkered White
Colias philodice Clouded Sulphur
Colias eurytheme Orange Sulphur
Zerene cesonia Southern Dogface
Phoebis sennae Cloudless Sulphur
Pyrisitia lisa Little Yellow
Abaeis nicippe Sleepy Orange

Lycaenidae Gossamer-wing Butterflies

Lycaena phlaeas American Copper
Lycaena hyllus Bronze Copper
Callophrys irus Frosted Elfin
Callophrys henrici Henry’s Elfin
Callophrys niphon Eastern Pine Elfin
Satyrium favonius Southern Hairstreak
Satyrium titus Coral Hairstreak
Satyrium acadica Acadian Hairstreak
Satyrium caryaevorus Hickory Hairstreak
Satyrium edwardsii Edwards’ Hairstreak
Satyrium calanus Banded Hairstreak
Satyrium liparops Striped Hairstreak
Calycopis cecrops Red-banded Hairstreak
Strymon melinus Gray Hairstreak
Parrhasius m album White M Hairstreak
Cupido comyntas Eastern Tailed-Blue
Celastrina ladon Spring Azure
Celastrina neglecta Summer Azure
Celastrina neglecta major Appalachian Azure
but

Nymphalidae Brush-footed Butterflies

Libytheana carinenta American Snout
Agraulis vanillae Gulf Fritillary
Euptoieta claudia Variegated Fritillary
Speyeria cybele Great Spangled Fritillary
Speyeria aphrodite Aphrodite Fritillary
Speyeria idalia Regal Fritillary
Boloria selene Silver-bordered Fritillary
Boloria bellona Meadow Fritillary
Limenitis arthemis Red-spotted Purple or White Admiral
Limenitis arthemis astyanax ‘Astyanax’ Red-spotted Purple
Asterocampa celtis Hackberry Emperor
Asterocampa clyton Tawny Emperor
Chlosyne nycteis Silvery Checkerspot
Phyciodes tharos Pearl Crescent
Phyciodes batesii Tawny Crescent
Junonia coenia Common Buckeye
Polygonia comma Eastern Comma
Polygonia progne Gray Comma
Aglais milberti Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Nymphalis vaualbum Compton Tortoiseshell
Nymphalis antiopa Mourning Cloak
Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral
Vanessa cardui Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis American Lady
Enodia anthedon Northern Pearly Eye
Satyrodes eurydice Eyed Brown
Satyrodes appalachia Appalachian Brown
Megisto cymela Little Wood Satyr
Cercyonis pegala Common Wood Nymph

3 comments

  1. That would be awesome. I’ll definitely check out Cape May this fall. Thanks for the tip (and the welcome) Donna! 🙂

  2. We recently moved here from SE Michigan – where there were plenty of Monarchs – and I have yet to see a monarch here. Right now there are a dozen or so yellow swallowtails out at the Buddleias, but NO monarchs. I actually found your site by googling “why no monarch butterflies in Philadelphia”. Good to hear that there are some, but where oh where?!

    • Hi, Steve

      I haven’t seen any either. I and some of my naturalist friends have been reporting for the last couple years the lack of butterflies.

      But during the Fall migration, you can see thousands as the migrate southward through Cape May State Park in New Jersey. You can see Painted Lady Butterflies migrating, too. Check out the Cape May State Park websites for details.

      And welcome to the area.

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