Brush-Footed (Nymphalidae)

The Nymphalidae is the largest of the butterfly families comprising over 6000 species distributed throughout the world. The monarchs, admirals, and emperors are some of the significant butterflies of this family.

Types of Brush-Footed Butterfly

Types of Brush-Footed Butterfly

 Butterflies in This Family

Painted LadyEdith’s CheckerspotMilbert’s Tortoiseshell
Bay CheckerspotBlue MorphoBlue Nawab
KamehamehaOrange OakleafViceroy Butterfly
Aphrodite FritillaryRegal FritillaryGulf Fritillary
Chinese Bush-BrownGlasswing ButterflyAmerican Painted Lady
Polyphemus White MorphoMeadow FritillaryGreat Spangled Fritillary
Variegated FritillaryCommon TigerDoris Longwing
Blue Moon ButterflySoldier ButterflySmall Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak ButterflyBlue PansyCommon Map Butterfly
Hackberry Emperor ButterflyMountain Ringlet ButterflyEastern Comma Butterfly
Common Buckeye ButterflyMalachitePearl Crescent
Comma ButterflyDiana FritillaryBaltimore Checkerspot
Red Spotted PurplePurple EmperorSilvery Checkerspot
Zebra ButterflyQuino CheckerspotPaper Kite Butterfly
White Peacock ButterflyLeopard ButterflyQueen Butterfly
Question Mark ButterflyPeacock ButterflyPostman Butterfly

Description and Identification


They have a velvety, black and speckled body filled with hairy of spiky projections, alongside small, white dots.


The pupa or chrysalids possess shiny spots, often seen hanging with their head downwards.


Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: The common colorations of the butterflies of this family include orange, brown, black and yellow, whereas, blue and purple colored butterflies also exist, though rarely. The shapes of the wings differ, varying from one species to the other. Some may have irregular margins like commas and angle wings, whereas certain species even have tail-like projections on their wings.

Average Wingspan: 4 to 8 cm

Flight Pattern: Fast an erratic


About A hundred eggs are laid in a cluster, and they are green in color.

Quick Facts

Other namesFour-footed butterflies, brush-footed butterflies
DistributionThroughout the continents of America, Europe, Africa, and Asia
HabitatPark, gardens, brush areas, woodlands, stream beds, dense undergrowth,
Lifespan of adults 14 days on an average (the numbers may differ from one species to the other)
Host plantsMilkweed, white vine, blazing star, thistles, cosmos, ironweed, cosmos, aster, joe-pye, olona, and mamaki
Adult diet Flower nectar

Did You Know

  • The brush-like hairs on their forelegs give them the name brush-footed butterflies.
  • Rafinesque had first introduced the name Nymphalidae to the order Lepidoptera.