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.

 Butterflies in This Family

Painted Lady Edith’s Checkerspot Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Bay Checkerspot Blue Morpho Blue Nawab
Kamehameha Orange Oakleaf Viceroy Butterfly
Aphrodite Fritillary Regal Fritillary Gulf Fritillary
Chinese Bush-Brown Glasswing Butterfly American Painted Lady
Polyphemus White Morpho Meadow Fritillary Great Spangled Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary Common Tiger Doris Longwing
Blue Moon Butterfly Soldier Butterfly Small Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak Butterfly Blue Pansy Common Map Butterfly
Hackberry Emperor Butterfly Mountain Ringlet Butterfly Eastern Comma Butterfly
Common Buckeye Butterfly Malachite Pearl Crescent
Comma Butterfly Diana Fritillary Baltimore Checkerspot
Red Spotted Purple Purple Emperor Silvery Checkerspot
Zebra Butterfly Quino Checkerspot Paper Kite Butterfly
White Peacock Butterfly Leopard Butterfly Queen Butterfly
Question Mark Butterfly Peacock Butterfly Postman Butterfly

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

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

Pupae

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

Adult

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

Eggs

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

Quick Facts

Other names Four-footed butterflies, brush-footed butterflies
Distribution Throughout the continents of America, Europe, Africa, and Asia
Habitat Park, 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 plants Milkweed, 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.