Many butterflies are known for their vivid colors while others are partially or completely black. The United States is home to multiple black butterflies.
Many of the black butterflies of North America are native to the US while a few other species are imported from all regions around the world.
Some native US black butterflies are common around all states. Most are seen in certain areas that can’t be tied to state borders.
Many black butterflies live in Southeastern regions including Florida. A good percentage of black butterflies live in Southern states only.
Other native species like temperate climates or high altitudes. Species such as Magdalena Alpine are only found at high elevations in Northern states.
Black butterflies aren’t black through all of their life stages. Most black butterflies are green or white as caterpillars only form black base coloring after turning into adults.
The following butterflies have full black wings or partially black wings and are native to the US. Some of them are also native to Central and South America.
Table of Contents
1. Black Swallowtail
The Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) is a common species in the United States. This butterfly is almost completely black.
Black Swallowtails are known both for the black color of the adults and for the parsley-eating habits of their caterpillar.
The caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail is known as the Parsley worm.
Adults of the species are mostly black with 2 lines of yellow marks on the hindwings. These lines are interrupted by blue coloring or blue spots in the case of females.
Both males and female Black Swallowtails are mostly black.
2. Red Admiral
Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) are also common across North America. The species has a preference for the temperate regions of the US.
You can identify Red Admirals by their black color. The margins of their wings show red bands and additional white spots.
Otherwise, the wings of the species are mostly black, as is the body.
Caterpillars of the Red Admirals can be seen in stinging nettle. Adult Red Admirals can be seen consuming the nectar of various flowers.
These butterflies are territorial and males tend to be seen individually on a small surface.
3. Spicebush Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtails (Papilio troilus) are native to the US with 2 recognized sub-species. These butterflies represent a common species in Florida and other nearby states.
Spicebush Swallowtails are mostly black. They have green or blue patches depending on their gender.
White dots in the form of a half circle are seen around the wings as margins.
This species changes to a black butterfly in adulthood as the larvae of the Spicebush Swallowtail is green with large blue false eyes behind its head.
One of the reasons these butterflies are also common is their continued movement even as they feed. Spicebush Swallowtails flap their wings when they consume plant nectar instead of keeping the wings motionless.
4. Red-spotted Admiral
Red-spotted Admiral butterflies (Limenitis arthemis) are fairly common in the US. They have partially-black wings with blue as a secondary color.
Multiple blue nuances are seen on the wings of this species.
Red-spotted Admirals have black upper wings, black veins, and other alternating black marks across the margins of the wings.
Blue coloring of the wings closer to the body turns to iridescent blue coloring towards wing margins.
Orange half-circle dots are also seen across the margins of its wings.
The underwings of this species are mostly blue with orange spots.
The Red-spotted Admiral can be seen as it pupates into an adult around cherry trees where the caterpillar grows.
5. Pipevine Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor) are very similar to Red-Spotted Admirals in color selection.
Black is the dominant color but there’s also blue and orange on the wings of these butterflies.
Black upper wings and iridescent blue hindwings are specific to the Pipevine Swallowtail.
This species has alternating black and blue spots on the wing margins.
The orange coloring is specific to the underside of the wings in the form of dots.
While stable and seen on various species of pipevine, this species is also under threat in some states. It’s considered an endangered species in some Northern states such as Michigan.
6. Mourning Cloak
Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa) are butterflies with a black-dominant color.
Almost the entire surface of the wings is black or dark brown to black with a yellow or off-white wide wing margin.
This butterfly doesn’t resemble the color it has as a caterpillar. Mourning Cloak caterpillars are blue, white, and orange.
Mourning Cloaks tend to be seen more around the United States compared to other butterflies as the species migrate yearly.
These butterflies also have their long lifespan work to their advantage when it comes to common sights.
Some of the longest-living Mourning Cloaks live up to 12 months.
7. Zebra Longwing
Zebra Longwings (Heliconius charithonia) are a medium-sized species specific to the Southeast US.
As its name implies, the species has black and white coloring which makes for a zebra-like look.
The wings are mostly black with a few white or off-white bands. Both vertical and horizontal bands are seen in this species.
White dots across the margins of the wings are further distinguishable in the species.
Butterflies of this genus are among the limited species that show similar coloring both as caterpillars and as adults.
The Zebra Longwing caterpillar has a white body with multiple tiny black dots and long black bristle-like hairs.
8. Lorquin’s Admiral
Lorquin’s Admilar (Limenitis lorquini) is a common Western US native black butterfly species.
It was during the gold rush period of California that this species was discovered. It turns out its habitat expands far beyond California to Canada and Northwestern US states such as Canada.
The Lorquin’s Admiral is a mostly black butterfly species with large white dots and orange to yellow upper wing margins.
This colorful display is unique to the species.
Butterflies of this genus can be seen across multiple habitats. Water sources are a good place to start looking for Lorquin’s Admiral as the species’ caterpillars grow and pupate on willow.
Seeing this species is not uncommon as it has up to 3 broods per year in warm climates such as in California.
9. Funereal Duskywing
Funeral Duskiwing (Erynnis funeralis) is a small butterfly species with varying coloring from gray to brown or black.
All color morphs of the species have a narrow white margin on the hindwings.
With a wingspan of just over 1 inch, the Funeral Duskiwing is among the species that prefers to live in arid climates and even desert climates.
Its preferences include dry and very dry habitats across the Central and Southern parts of the US.
You can find this species around Mexican locusts and plants of the genus as this is where its caterpillars grow.
Adults then move along the habitat looking for plants and flowers for nectar.
10. Wild Indigo Duskywing
Living in the Central and Eastern parts of the US, the Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae) is a small to medium-sized native species.
It has a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches and it has brown, dark brown, and black coloring.
The black sections are closer to its body that to the outer wings.
As its name implies, the butterfly is seen on indigo plants as hosts.
The Wild Indigo Duskywing is among the species with a very long flight season across Southern states such as Florida and Arizona.
You can see the Wild Indigo Duskywing from April to late October in Southern states.
11. Palamedes Swallowtail
Palamedes Swallowtails (Papilio palamedes) are found in scattered habitats in Southeastern US states. They have a widespread presence in Florida, Georgia, and Eastern parts of Texas.
This species has brown, black, white, and yellow coloring.
Palamedes Swallowtails have mostly black wings with brown sections on the upper wings.
The lower part of the hindwings and the margins have large white spots.
Males also show small blue and red dots on the lower body which is mostly black and dark brown.
These butterflies don’t have black antennae. Their antennae are red-brown while the head is striped by 2 yellow bands.
12. Great Purple Hairstreak
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus) sometimes have a misunderstood name as these butterflies are either blue or black but not purple.
Male and female Great Purple Hairstreaks have different appearances.
This small to medium species has a brown body with black veins and black margins. The lower hindwings are also black with yellow spots.
Females have a blue body with wide dark veins and dark margins.
The lower part of the hindwings resembles the coloring of the males with yellow spots separated by black lines and long black tails.
The female of the species has considerably wider black margins compared to the barely visible narrow black margins on the wings of male Great Purple Hairstreaks.
13. Mournful Duskywing
Mournful Duskywing (Erynnis tristis) is another US native species.
You can identify Mournful Duskywings by their black, gray, white, and brown body.
The wings are black and brown with the brightest shade of brown specific to the hindwings and black coloring on the upper hindwings.
Butterflies of this genus have white marks on the wings and a wider margin on the hindwings.
Tan or light brown coloring is also specific to this species, especially on the underwings.
Mournful Duskywings have a black body so that the central part of the wings looks almost completely black.
The head of the species is black with a shirt and black hair as well.
14. Texan Crescent
Texan Crescent (Anthanassa texana) is seen until November in Florida and throughout the year in Southern Texas.
The Texan Crescent is a species with black upper wings and brown hindwings. Both the upper wings and the hindwings have white spots and a black body.
The species is seen in all types of open terrains and even in parks and gardens.
However, the preferred habitat of the Texan Crescent is various Southern deserts where their coloring acts as camouflage.
The Texan Crescent feeds on various desert flowers for nectar.
Multiple broods of Texan Crescent are seen per year as the species doesn’t have a long lifespan.
15. Baltimore Checkerspot
Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) is a native North American butterfly. The common nature of the species makes it the state butterfly of Maryland.
Baltimore Checkerspot lives North of Maryland as well as they are highly common in Canada alongside the US.
These butterflies have a mostly black coloring. Black wings with brown hindwings are specific to this genus of butterflies.
Both males and females have light off-white or white dots across the margins of the wings. Orange dots are also seen on these margins.
4 large orange spots are further distinguishable on each wing of the Baltimore Checkerspot.
The caterpillar of the species is most similar to adult butterflies in color. Orange and black coloring in the form of stripes and bands is distinguishable on the Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillar.
16. Common Sootywing
The Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus) is one of the species that appears almost completely black. Butterflies of this genus have black wings with gray margins.
Tiny white dots are visible across the wings. These dots are seen both on the hindwings and the upper wings.
The body of the species is gray and only partially black while the antennae are mostly black.
Multiple Central US states and some regions of Canada are home to the species.
Northern parts of Mexico also provide a good habitat for dogbane and other flowers the Common Sootywing consumes.
The species is not seen in Florida like many other US native butterflies.
The relationship of Atala with the US is one of constant doubt. This species (Eumaeus atala) has been widely present, then extinct, to now be seen in the US again.
Atalas are only found in Florida, specifically in South Florida.
This extreme habitat provides the food Atalas love the most, ornamental cycads.
The species feeds on these trees and it does so to worrying extents. Many locals now see Atalas as potential pests for their gardens if they grow ornamental cycads.
You can identify this species by its black body with blue dots and red upper wing markings.
18. Sleepy Duskywing
Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo) are among the species that see oak as a host species for its caterpillars.
Oak damages by the Sleepy Duskywing are somewhat limited in most cases.
The adult feeds on nectar and flies away from oaks.
You can identify an adult Sleepy Duskywing by its black wings with light brown patches.
2 to 4 white dots can sometimes be distinguished by the species.
The inner wings closer to the body and the body itself are black. Its antennae have alternating black and white bands.
You can find adults feeding on the nectar of ornamental plants as well as on fruit shrubs such as blueberries.
19. Polydamas Swallowtail
The Polydamas Swallowtail (Battus polydamas) is native to the US. It’s one of the multiple black butterflies in the US and one of the multiple swallowtails in North America.
Butterflies of the genus have black wings with white or light blue dots across the margins.
These are also the only swallowtails in the US not to have long or short tails.
The species has a long wingspan on the other hand. It can grow to a wingspan of up to 4.7 inches.
You can find butterflies of this genus on many types of abandoned fields in Southern US, specifically Southern Texas.
The Polydamas Swallowtail is a species with a long history being first described more than a couple of centuries ago.
20. Dreamy Duskywing
Part of the Hesperiidae family, the Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus) is among the species with black, brown, and silver coloring on its wings.
Dreamy Duskywings have a black body and black upper wings. The hind wings are brown and silver.
A faint black margin is seen along the wings of this species.
Dreamy Duskywings are among the hundreds of butterfly species that lay eggs on willows.
The Dreamy Duskywing caterpillar feeds on willows as it grows.
Adult Dreamy Duskywing feed on plant nectar. This includes the sweet nectar of blueberries.
Only one generation of this butterfly is seen year on year. This generation has a very short lifespan. Its flight is limited to July.
21. Zarucco Duskywing
This species of Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) is seen in some Eastern US habitats and widely in Southeastern US habitats.
Most groups of the species are mostly seen around the edges of woodlands.
Like many duskywing butterflies, the Zarucco Duskywing has black, brown, and light brown coloring.
These butterflies can have brown or white margins, depending on their region.
Black tends to be more common in North Florida while butterflies in Florida are brown-dominant.
These butterflies feed on various legumes as caterpillars. They turn to the common Shepherds’ needle for nectar as adults.
Zarucco Duskywing is also native to other Central American countries. They are widespread in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
22. Twin-spot Skipper
This nectar-feeding species (Oligoria maculata) is one of the skippers that looks completely different from other US natives of this genus.
Twin-spot skippers get their names from the white dots on their hindwings.
They have black and brown coloring. The inner part of the wings is black and dark brown, as is the body.
Gray and light brown coloring are specific to the outer side of the wings.
The species is highly similar to the Brazilian skipper mentioned in that it feeds on a high amount of nectar from purple flowers.
23. Red-bordered Pixie
The Red-bordered Pixie (Melanis pixe) is another highly distinct species that doesn’t resemble any other butterflies in the area, just like the Twin-spot skipper.
This true black species of butterflies have mostly black wings and body coloring. Just a few bright red spots are visible on its wings.
Red-bordered Pixies are rare in the US and are mostly seen in Southern areas of Texas.
The caterpillars of the Red-bordered Pixies are frequently seen on pea flowers in the state as well as on a few different species of inga.
Adults feed on the nectar of various citruses, coffee, and lantana.
Rare but easy to spot on flowers, the Red-bordered Pixie remains a small butterfly species in Texas with a wingspan that barely measures more than 1 inch.
24. Common Roadside-Skipper
Black, white and brown colors are specific to the US native species of Common Roadside-skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis).
This species gets its name from its habitat which is often the sides of roads.
However, the butterfly isn’t particularly attracted to roads as it’s attracted to the grasses that grow along them.
The caterpillars of the species feed on grasses such as Indian grass.
Adults then move along to other herbaceous species such as verbena.
You can identify this species by a mostly black body with white sections across the hindwings. Similar color is seen both on the dorsal and ventral sides of the species.
25. Hammock Skipper
The Hammock skipper (Polygonus leo) is one of the black species native to the US, Central America, and South America.
Hammock skippers have a distinct black color with dark brown lines and stripes that are only visible in direct sunlight.
White dots are seen on its hindwings.
The species has similar dark ventral coloring. Dark gray and black colors dominate its ventral side, but without white marks or dots.
The Hammock skipper is seen around Southeastern US habitats.
Its range expands South across the Caribbean as well as in multiple South American countries.
Apart from living in the hardwood hammocks of Florida, the Hammock skipper also has an expanding range through California and New Mexico today.
26. Crimson Patch
Crimson Patch butterflies (Chlosyne janais) are native to New Mexico and Texas.
The species is present in higher numbers across Texas and New Mexico.
You can identify it by a unique black-dominant color with white dots across the wings. The central part of the wings closer to the body is either red or orange depending on the sex of the species.
The size of the Crimson Patch varies considerably. Its wingspan can be as short as 1 inch or above the average of its Southern range to more than 2 inches.
These butterflies have very specific feeding habits that prevent them from moving along to other US states.
Caterpillars feed on acanthus next to woodlands. Adults feed on nectar.
27. Persius Duskywing
Persius Duskywings (Erynnis persius) are found across the Western parts of the US as well as in limited Northern state habitats.
This species is both black and brown, like many other duskywings. It has brown or orange spots along the margins of the wings.
These duskywings also have light brown marks across their upper wings.
The Persius Duskywing is a species that doesn’t resemble its caterpillars in coloring.
Persius Duskwyging caterpillars are green with a brown head and they feed on lupines.
Adults of the species feed on flower nectar.
This species remains small with a varying maximum wingspan between 1 and 1.5 inches across North America.
28. Golden-headed Scallopwing
A dark color aspect is specific to the Golden-headed Scallopwing (Staphylus ceos).
This species is mostly black. A few brown or tan overlays are seen across its wings together with small white dots.
However, these colored patches might not be visible on some Golden-headed Scallopwings across the US.
It’s only the head that has a golden to brown color which inspires the name of this species.
The species live secretive lives in valleys and deserts where people rarely see it.
Its secretive nature is only distinct when it comes to its commonly found caterpillars. The caterpillar of the Golden-headed Scallopwing is seen on Fremont’s goosefoot.
Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are the only states where the species is native to the US.
29. Dusted Skipper
Native to Eastern parts of the US, the Duster Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna) is among the species with mostly black coloring.
This species has black upper wings with brown hind wings.
White dots are further distinguishable across its wings.
The Dusted Skipper is seen across multiple habitats in a small form as it barely measures more than 1 inch in wingspan.
The species stands out more in the diet than in size. Adults feed on Japanese honeysuckle and strawberries.
As a result, it’s often seen in grasslands and other areas with short vegetation. Abandoned land is also home to the species.
You can see the caterpillars of the Dusted Skipper easier than the adults as they tend to form a tent-like silk structure around the leaves of their host plant where they live and feed in groups.
30. Dull Firetip
The Dull Firetip (Apyrrothrix araxes) is known for eating monarda nectar. It has a limited Southern US range, specifically in Arizona and New Mexico.
Dull Firetips are a small species that initially grow on oak. The Arizona oak is the host tree of its caterpillar.
As an adult, the butterfly feeds on nectar. Dull Firetips have brown and black coloring.
Brown is specific to the upper wings unlike in many other species while black is seen on the hindwings.
White margins and white spots are further seen across the wings.
There’s no particular shape or number for these white marks as they can vary from one individual to another.
A thin black margin is seen on male Dull Firetrips. Males also have long black antennae.
This species routinely grows to a wingspan of over 2 inches.
31. Florida Duskywing
The Florida Duskywing (Ephyriades brunnea) is native to Southern Florida. It also lives in Cuba, but with reduced populations.
While common in Florida and native to the US, Florida Duskywings are a rare sight all across the world as they only live in this tropical climate, particularly in shrubs and short vegetation.
You can identify the species by its brown and black body.
Males have a mostly black body with brown spots and brown stripes across the wings. The antennae of the species are black.
While mostly black, the Florida Duskywing is a diurnal species. It flies in full sun.
The size of the species varies and it can sometimes reach a wingspan of up to 1.7 inches.
You can find adults of the species on asters such as Bidens Alba.
32. Fulvous Hairstreak
Seen on the edges of hardwood hammocks in Florida, this US native species (Electrostrymon angelia) is dominated by black and dark brown coloring.
Dark margins across its wings and small orange dots are specific to the species.
The ventral side of the Fulvous Hairstreak is gray to brown with visible orange markings.
As it lives in Florida, the Fulvous Hairstreak has a long flight season that expands to November.
This species shares some of its host plants with some of the plants adults consume for nectar, a rare trait in Florida butterflies.
The caterpillars of the species feed on Brazilian pepper among others in the cashew species. Adults also feed on the nectar of the Brazilian pepper.
This flowering plant in the cashew family feeds the Fulvous Hairstreak in all stages of its development.
33. Bell’s Roadside-Skipper
This species (Amblyscirtes belli) is seen in all states from Ohio to Texas. It features dark brown to black coloring and wings with white margins or white marks on the margins.
The ventral side of this species is also dark brown to black with black veins.
Seen on various flowers throughout the year, this species has a long flight season. It can be seen active up to November.
Bell’s Roadside-skipper has a wingspan of up to 35mm and it appears in 3 broods per year.
Some of the warmer states this species lives in to see up to 3 generations each year while it may only occur in 2 generations in Northern habitats.
34. Indra Swallowtail
Indra Swallowtails (Papilio indra) are black swallowtail-group butterflies with short tails.
The species only occur once per season but the times it appears in varies from one region to another.
It appears in the spring in Southern climates and at the beginning of the summer in Northern climates.
Butterflies of this species have mostly black wings with white or yellow dots across the margins and blue marks on the lower hind wings.
35. Hoary Elfin
This species (Callophrys polios) has a brown-gray color with black dots all across the wings. It also shows black margins or bands on the edges of the wings.
With a wingspan of around 1.5 inches on average, the species is seen in Southern states but mostly in Northern states due to its preference for temperate climates.
Hoary Elfin are seen sooner and longer in the season in Northern habitats.
This species is native to the US but it’s constantly monitored for possible population decline in Eastern US states.
36. Mazans Scallopwing
Common in parks and other areas with tall vegetation, this species (Staphylus mazans) is mostly present in the US in scattered locations across Texas.
Some coloring differences can be noted between males and females. The female has black upper wings and brown hindwings while the male has black wings with tens of small white dots across.
This makes the species unique and difficult to mix with other species common in Texas.
Caterpillars of Mazans Scaallopwing are frequently seen on lambsquarters.
37. Red-bordered Satyr
Common in scattered areas around Arizona, the Red-bordered Satyr (Gyrocheilus patrobas) gets its name from the red-orange coloring of the hindwings.
Black represents the dominant color of the wings.
Red-bordered Satyrs appear late in the season. These butterflies only appear in the second half of August with a flight period of around 3 months.
The Red-bordered Satyr is a mid-sized species in the state with a wingspan of at least 2 inches.
38. Yucca Giant-Skipper
The Yucca Giant-skipper (Megathymus yuccae) is a large black and yellow butterfly native to US deserts.
Yellow spots are seen on the edges of its wings with or without white spots depending on its gender.
This species lays eggs on yucca plants and on other agave-genus plants which inspire its name.
Seen in various arid habitats up to North Carolina, this species is adapted to vegetation that grows with reduced amounts of water.
39. Mimosa Skipper
The Mimosa Skipper (Cogia calchas) is a butterfly species with brown and black coloring. This butterfly appears almost completely black when it sits in its host plant with its closed wings.
Small white dots are also visible across its wings.
Mimosa Skippers have a limited range in North America. This native species is mainly reported in California.
It lives across the multiple canals of the state.
40. Meridian Duskywing
Meridian Duskywing (Erynnis meridianus) looks very similar to other duskywing species in Southern states. It has a dark brown to a gray color with black patterns across the wings.
Texas, Nevada, California, and New Mexico are among the few states where this species is most common.
Meridian Duskywing butterflies grow on oaks as caterpillars. You can identify the caterpillar of the species by its green body with a brown head.
41. Banded Peacock
Banded Peacocks (Anartia fatima) get their names from their contrasting colors and bands on the wings. White bands and red marks are seen on the black wings of the species.
The hindwings of the Banded Peacock also exhibit brown overlays.
Butterflies of this species are most common around various types of acanthus flowers. They often need to get territorial with other species over the limited nectar of these flowers.
Hummingbirds are among the most common species that also consume the nectar of acanthus.
42. Drusius Cloudywing
With a wingspan of up to 1.3 inches, this species (Thorybes drusius) is also a US native. It has dark brown and black coloring.
The veins on the wings are black, as are the margins. The upper wings are also black while the lower part of the hindwings is brown.
Butterflies of this species have a very small range in the US. They are only found in New Mexico and Arizona.
43. Ruby-spotted Swallowtail
The Ruby-spotted Swallowtail (Papilio anchisiades) gets its name from the red markings on its hindwings.
Black is the dominant color of the wings of the Ruby-spotted Swallowtail. This is a species that has a considerable worldwide presence while also being a US native.
Its US range is limited to Southern states. But its habitat expands to Central and South America.
Tropical forests and areas with plenty of citruses are known to attract the most Ruby-spotted swallowtails.
44. Red Postman
Red Postman butterflies (Heliconius erato) are some of the most colorful black and red butterflies in the US.
They start their lives as black and white caterpillars. The Red Postman caterpillar is mostly white with a few black dots across its body.
The adult Red Postman has black wings with wide red vertical bands and white horizontal bands.
The species is also known for its complex mating ritual. Males can transfer aphrodisiac-like pheromones to females.
You can find these butterflies around various wildflowers. Most times, they are seen collecting pollen from yellow flowers such as lantana.
45. Magdalena Alpine
Magdalena Alipine (Erebia magdalena) represents a rare common and native black species that live at high altitudes.
This butterfly is found in states such as Montana and Colorado where it lives around rockslides and the vegetation that grows around rockslides.
The Magdalena Alpine is a butterfly species that frequently flies above the trees which means it may not be easily spotted.
The color of the wings is almost completely black.
46. Chisos Banded-Skipper
Only found in Southwestern Texas, the Chisos Banded-skipper (Thorybes cincta) is a common species in the Chisos Mountains.
It has black, brown, and white coloring.
Chisos Banded-skippers have a dark brown body with brown and black wings.
White margins contrast its dark wings.
Tied to oak and pine woodlands, this is one of the black butterfly species native to one US state only.