Butterfly recognition and classification is a learning process. Larger bright-colored butterfly species are the good ones to start with as they are easy to identify. Then, gradually work with smaller ones. In North America, there are hundreds of butterfly species. Here are the top 10 most popular species of butterflies in North America:
1. Spring Azure
The spring azure butterfly is light and delicate and is commonly found in Alaska and Colombia. This butterfly occupies flowering shrubs in forests, breeding in flower buds. Its wings are covered with dusty or metallic blue colorings.
This butterfly is mostly found near milkweed plants and its larvae feed on only this plant. But, when its larvae develop into a butterfly, it eats various kinds of nectar such as lilac, coneflowers, thistles, hemp, and more.
3. Tiger Swallowtail
The male tiger swallowtail has black and yellow stripes just like a small tiger whereas the female is mostly all black. It is found in the east of the United States, occupying the entire country. Tiger swallowtail butterflies feed on the nectar of the flowers. They also consume water from mud and drink minerals.
4. American Painted Lady
When it comes to color, this adorable painted butterfly looks like a monarch but with different coloring patterns. Besides inhabiting North America, this butterfly also lives in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. American painted lady favors living in open deciduous forests as well as city parks and meadows.
5. Cabbage White
Cabbage white butterflies are small, white species that are widespread and plentiful in America. It is one of the two non-native butterfly species in North America and is considered the most common butterfly in America. Its caterpillars eat different plants including cabbage and mustards.
6. Question Mark and Comma
This butterfly specie has silver marks that look like various punctuation marks. You will see such symbols on the lower side of their hind wings in the middle. A comma butterfly has a mark similar to a comma whereas a question mark butterfly has an additional dot under it.
7. White Admiral
The white admiral has a black or brown background with white spots. It can be seen moving a couple of feet above the surface of the earth in a shrub or tree. It inhabits mixed broadleaf and perennial deciduous woodland and consumes various things such as nectar and dung.
8. Gray Hairstreak
Gray hairstreak butterflies are a vast group with over a thousand species present in America. Around 60 species are present in North America and the gray hairstreak is the most prevalent. Their caterpillars have extensive tastes and generally consume different mallows such as hollyhocks.
9. Gossamer-Winged Butterfly
Such butterflies are present in tropical, subtropical, and warmer climates. Gossamer-winged butterflies are colorful with brown, orange, blue, silver, and green coloring. It is the 2nd largest butterfly family in the world and has more than 6000 species worldwide.
10. Mourning Cloak
It is a large butterfly with a black or brown color having yellow wing edges. Sometimes, mourning cloak butterflies can be seen on very hot days in January. In mid-July, they again become widespread.