Georgia is home to thousands of butterfly species. The Southeastern state has a humid subtropical climate many butterflies love.
Butterflies can live longer lives in Georgia compared to other states. The hot summers allow them to find plenty of pollen to feed on.
Even winters are mild in Georgia which means butterflies can have longer flight seasons in the state.
Here are some of the most common species of butterflies that call Georgia their home.
1. Gulf Fritillary
Gulf Fritillary butterflies (Dione vanillae) are a medium-sized common species in Georgia. This butterfly has a widespread presence in Southeastern states.
Part of the Heliconiinae family, Gulf Fritillary butterflies have orange and black coloring. This species is known for releasing chemicals against predators.
These chemicals protect the species against predators that learn to stay away from them.
You can see Gulf Fritillary butterflies in sunny or partly sunny areas of the state in open areas including parks and gardens.
2. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) are so common in Georgia that they’re considered a state mascot.
These types of colorful butterflies can reach a medium to large size but they can also be small. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail wingspan varies between 2 and 5.5 inches.
This species is known for having yellow and black coloring. Wide black margins with black veins decorate its bright yellow veins.
Yellow and black ventral coloring is most specific to these butterflies.
Some female morphs have dark brown to black ventral wings.
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are some of the largest orange species in Georgia. Many are known Monarchs for their migratory behavior, particularly in Florida.
Monarchs in Georgia do not migrate.
You can identify Monarch butterflies by their orange color with wide black veins and wide black margins.
The black margins show white dots while the black body of the butterfly shows no white dots.
With a wingspan of up to 4 inches, Monarchs are small to medium-sized butterflies in the state.
4. Common Buckeye
Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia) are seen in high numbers across the state. These butterflies are known for having multiple large eyespots.
Large black eyespots are seen across its wings. The outer section of the wings is orange while the inner section and the body are brown to dark brown.
This small butterfly has a similar ventral coloring. Its ventral wings also show black eyespots on a white and orange background color.
Common Buckeyes feed on various flowers, typically yellow flowers that stimulate digestion.
5. Fiery Skipper
Fiery Skippers (Hylephila phyleus) are among the butterflies most commonly seen in urban areas across Georgia.
This species is known for being a fast flyer which means it might be difficult to observe its physical characteristics up close.
Fiery Skippers have yellow wings with brown borders. They are known to fold their wings up.
These butterflies are most commonly seen on lawns where they feed on various types of grass such as Bermuda grass.
6. Red-spotted Admiral
Red-spotted Admirals (Limenitis arthemis) are some of the most common blue butterflies in the state.
The coloring of the species varies between light and dark blue.
Darker blue to black nuances is seen on the upper side of its forewings while light blue with black veins and margins are specific to its lower hindwings.
Red-spotted Admiral eggs appear transparent at first.
The Red-spotted Admiral caterpillar is white and green and grows to an average of 1.5 inches while adult butterflies grow to a size of up to 3.5 inches.
7. Silver-spotted Skipper
Silver-spotted Skipper butterflies (Epargyreus clarus) are a common small species. These butterflies have a varying wingspan that measures anywhere between 1.7 and 2.4 inches.
This species is known for flying in an up-and-down manner which is specific to Skipper butterflies.
The small species has a dark brown base color across the wings and the body.
Yellow and bright spots are seen on its wings.
Its ventral wings have white and orange marks on a brown base color.
8. Long-tailed Skipper
Long-tailed Skippers (Urbanus proteus) get their name from their brown tails.
These butterflies have a green to blue body, brown wings, and dark brown to black tails.
Multiple types of legumes are used as a host for their caterpillars. Wisteria species are seen as good alternatives.
Long-tailed skippers feed on plant nectar as adults. Shepherd’s needles are among the preferred nectar sources for the species.
9. Cloudless Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae) are some of the most common migratory butterflies in Georgia.
This specie lives in all habitats whenever it gets moving towards cooler climates in the North.
Cloudless Sulphur butterflies are a small bright yellow to green species.
These butterflies are known for having very long tongues, unlike many other butterflies.
A higher selection of flowers as nectar sources is available to them as a result.
Furthermore, this species prefers to feed on nectar-rich tubular flowers.
10. Pearl Crescent
Pearl Crescent butterflies (Phyciodes tharos) are found in many dry and humid habitats across the state.
This species feeds on multiple flowers such as dogbane in dry habitats and swamp milkweed in humid habitats.
You can identify Pearl Crescents but their checkered dorsal appearance.
Orange is the base color of its wings while black checkered spots are seen all across the wings.
White margins contrast the forewings and hindwings of the species.
11. American Lady
American Lady butterflies (Vanessa virginiensis) are among the species seen in multiple broods per year.
These butterflies emerge in the spring when they are seen on lawns, in parks, gardens, or abandoned fields.
The species can have a detrimental effect on flowers in its caterpillar stage.
It creates a silk-like wrapping around its host flower.
Once the adult emerged, it turns to flowers for nectar. It can be identified by an orange base color with black wings and white decorative spots.
12. Horace’s Duskywing
Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) is a common brown species in the state.
Brown and dark brown coloring are specific to the wings of the species. Black spots are further visible on its wings.
Found in open areas of woodlands, this is a species that feeds on flowers.
Horace’s Duskywing caterpillars feed on oak leaves.
Willow oak and water oak are among the common hosts of Horace’s Duskywing caterpillar.
13. Spicebush Swallowtail
These butterflies (Papilio troilus) get their name from their common host plant, spicebush.
You can identify Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies by their black base coloring with blue lower hindwings and white spots as margins.
A couple of short tails are also visible on the species.
Spicebush Swallowtails have a black body with tiny white spots on the head.
Its caterpillar is known for having large fake eyespots that mimic larger species.
14. Clouded Skipper
You can find the Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius) on pink, red, and yellow flowers in Georgia almost throughout the year.
The species is only present in the warmest US states.
Its larvae don’t feed on flowers as it prefers grasses which they can kill.
Clouded Skippers have a small size. Even the largest adults don’t have a wingspan longer than 45mm.
The species has a dark brown color with triangle-shaped upward-facing wings.
15. Zebra Longwing
Zebra Longwing butterflies (Heliconius charithonia) get their name from the combination of black and white colors that makes them resemble zebras in coloring.
The young caterpillar of the species has a white body with tiny black dots and extra-long black hairs.
This species has alternating black and white bands and it can be seen on numerous flowers.
Zebra Longwings are among the few Georgia species that eat both pollen and nectar.
These butterflies are also known to migrate. Short-distance migration often goes unnoticed among Zebra Longwings.
16. Black Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio polyxenes) are a common large and black species within Georgia.
Unlike other black butterflies, Black Swallowtails have visible coloring differences between males and females.
You might find these butterflies in the garden as they commonly lay eggs on different types of carrots.
Female butterflies have a black color with blue areas on the hindwings and yellow dots across the margins.
Male butterflies have a black color with large yellow spots in the form of rows at the margins of the wings.
17. Carolina Satyr
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius) is among the small brown butterflies of the state.
This is a species that begins life as a green caterpillar with a black head.
It then turns into a dark brown adult with brown eyespots. Its dark color makes these eyespots difficult to spot.
Carolina Satyr has much more visible eyespots on the dorsal side of the wings which is cream. Its eyespots are black and yellow.
Dark brown lines decorate the ventral side of its wings.
18. Sleepy Orange
Just as Carolina Satyrs, Sleepy Orange butterflies (Abaeis nicippe) begin life as green caterpillars.
They then turn into yellow, orange, or pale green butterflies.
Both the ventral and the dorsal sides of the wings match in color.
Its ventral wings also show small brown spots which are believed to be a mimicry interpretation of dying leaves.
This species is seen on cassias as a caterpillar. Adults are seen almost exclusively on shepherd’s needle.
19. Zabulon Skipper
Zabulon Skippers (Lon zabulon) are a species with 2 broods per year in Georgia.
This is a family of Skippers with a base brown color. It can be seen early in the morning when males look for females.
Zabulon Skippers are a small butterfly species that stands out with brown and yellow coloring and upward-facing wings.
Like other skippers, Zabulon Skippers fold their forewings up.
The species has different ventral coloring between males and females. Males have yellow underwings while females have dark brown underwings.
20. Red-banded Hairstreak
Red-banded Hairstreak butterflies (Calycopis cecrops) are among the few Georgia species that lay eggs on dead leaves.
This is one of the tactics by which adults try to shelter eggs from other species on host plants such as bayberries.
This species has gray or dark brown wings with a red-orange marginal band.
The species lay spherical eggs which then grow into dark brown caterpillars.
21. Hackberry Emperor
Hackberry Emperor butterflies (Asterocampa celtis) are among the detrimental species in the state. Both caterpillars and adult butterflies feed on hackberry.
If other species feed on flowers, Hackberry Emperors prefer to feed on hackberry sap while caterpillars feed on hackberry leaves.
Adult butterflies also feed on dead and decaying animals as well as on feces.
In rare cases, Hackberry Emperors eat fruits.
22. Pipevine Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor) start life as orange eggs. They then turn into red caterpillars in their early growth stages.
They eventually turn into black caterpillars and pupate into brown or black adult butterflies.
The ventral wings of the species have blue coloring with black veins, orange, and white spots.
This specie also has a black body.
Pipevine Swallowtails are most likely to be seen across the state’s forests.
23. Eastern Tailed-Blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) is a rare species with short tails. This is also a small species as most Eastern Tailed-Blue butterflies have a wingspan of up to 30mm.
Butterflies of this family are further known for having large blue wings with black and white margins.
These butterflies have gray to white ventral wings with black and orange spots.
Female Eastern Tailed-Blue butterflies have black wings with only a few orange and blue spots on the hindwings.
24. Summer Azure
Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta) are small butterflies seen on various flowers.
They have a wingspan of at least 0.9 inches and are seen in direct sunlight on flowers.
This species has similar blue coloring between males and females even if some females are white.
Thick black borders are specific to both male and female butterflies.
Summer Azures are further distinguishable by their black veins. Black veins are seen on the ventral side of the wings as well.
25. Variegated Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary butterflies (Euptoieta claudia) are difficult to see as they fly away quickly when spotting humans.
Butterflies of this genus are common on passionflowers.
They are identified by a dark orange-brown color. Some areas of the wings have lighter brown coloring.
Black checkered patterns, black veins, and a black body are also specific to this species.
Some of these butterflies are detrimental as they feed on clover and alfalfa. They can also be found on abandoned fields.
26. Ocola Skipper
Ocola Skippers (Panoquina ocola) are small to medium-sized butterflies seen across the state.
The species is adapted to both warm and cold climates and its presence is noted almost everywhere around the US.
A wingspan of up to 43mm characterizes this dark-colored butterfly.
Dark grey and dark brown colors are specific to its wings.
The species feeds on many types of grasses including Indian grass.
27. Gray Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak butterflies (Strymon melinus) are some of the most adaptable species in the state.
These butterflies have a blue dorsal color with grey ventral wings.
Black veins and orange spots on its lower hindwings further characterize the species.
This butterfly is seen on fields and even crops where it uses legumes as host plants for its eggs and caterpillars.
28. Palamedes Swallowtail
Palamedes Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio palamedes) begin life as green caterpillars.
The dorsal side of the caterpillar is green with large eyespots. Its ventral side is brown.
Adults take on the brown-dominant color on their wings.
Butterflies of this species have multiple rows of bright yellow spots across their wings.
Light blue spots are seen on the base of its hindwings.
These butterflies also stand out with their short brown tails.
29. Red Admiral
Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) have black, red, and white colors across their dorsal wings.
Black is the base color while red is the secondary color together with white.
Its ventral wings are also black but brown is the base ventral color. Small black and white eyespots are also seen across its ventral wings.
Red Admirals are one of the multiple migratory butterflies in the state.
You can find Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus) around many wooded areas around the state. Female Viceroy butterflies lay eggs on tree leaves.
Willows are a common choice for both Viceroy and other butterfly species.
Cottonwoods are also a host tree species for the eggs of these butterflies.
31. Question Mark
Seeing Question Mark butterflies (Polygonia interrogationis) isn’t a good sign as their caterpillars eat tree leaves.
These butterflies are orange and black and they grow to a wingspan of up to 3 inches.
Their caterpillars feed on the leaves of various trees. American Elm is among their favorites. On occasion, they also feed on false nettle.
32. Cabbage White
Cabbage White butterflies (Pieris rapae) are also detrimental. The species doesn’t eat tree leaves as Question Marks as it prefers crucifers such as cabbage.
A common sight in gardens, Cabbage White butterflies are identified by their white forewings and white hindwings.
This species has a black body in all of its morphs.
Cabbage White butterflies are among the multiple migratory species in the state.
33. Eastern Giant Swallowtail
Eastern Giant Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio cresphontes) are among the largest in Georgia.
This species is dominated by black coloring across the body and the wings.
Large yellow spots are further identifiable across its wings.
These butterflies have small orange spots on the lower hindwings.
The ventral color is cream or off-white. Black, orange, and light blue spots are further distinguished on its ventral wings.
34. Zebra Swallowtail
Zebra Swallowtail butterflies (Eurytides marcellus) have alternating black and white stripes across the wings. This species has a black or dark gray body.
Orange-red spots are visible on its lower hindwings.
Zebra Swallowtail butterflies are also known for having 2 tails.
35. Silvery Checkerspot
Georgia represents the Southern limit of the habitat of Silvery Checkerspot butterflies (Chlosyne nycteis).
Silvery Checkerspot butterflies get their name from their black patterns across dorsal orange wings.
These butterflies are common all across the state as they are seen feeding on many wildflowers.
Dogbane, milkweed, and red clovers are among the most common species that attract Silvery Checkerspots.
36. American Snout
American Snout butterflies (Libytheana carinenta) are a migratory species that mimic leaves.
These butterflies have elongated mouthparts that help them consume pollen from almost any flower.
They also feature gray and dark brown ventral wings coloring which makes them resemble dead leaves.
The species often sits upside down while biting on a stem or branch.
It can be identified by its orange-brown color with dark brown margins on its dorsal wings.
37. Juvenal’s Duskywing
Juvenal’s Duskwying butterflies (Erynnis juvenalis) are among the species with dark brown coloring most common across woodlands in the state.
These butterflies rely on oak trees for their caterpillars.
Dark and light brown coloring makes up the bulk of this species. Its body is dark brown to black while the wings are light brown with pale dots in the form of dots.
This species is small with a maximum expected wingspan of 37mm.
Whirlabout butterflies (Polites vibex) are migratory species found in Georgia most times of the year. It only moves North in the summer.
This species is known for its triangular wings with upward-folding forewings.
Whirlabout butterflies have a yellow color with dark brown to black margins.
The species grows to a maximum wingspan of 38mm.
39. Tropical Checkered-Skipper
Tropical Checkered-Skippers (Burnsius oileus) begin life as green or green-yellow caterpillars. These caterpillars have pale coloring.
Adult Tropical Checkered-Skippers have a gray to blue hairy body. Their wings are brown with multiple white dots.
The species is one of the smallest in the state with an average wingspan of 1 to 1.2 inches.
40. Painted Lady
Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) are seen across various species of asters. They don’t favor red asters as these butterflies cannot see red colors.
Adults feed on nectar from asters but they can also consume honeydew from various aphids, including those on crops.
This species of butterfly has orange wings with black sections on the forewings.
While spots are further visible across the black sections of the wings.
The body of Painted Lady butterflies is hairy and it has an orange-gray color.