Types of Butterflies in California

California is home to about 170 species of butterflies, out of which the large marble butterfly, the field crescent, the west coast lady, the sooty wing, and the California ringlets are the most common. Species like the Painted Lady migrate northward from the dry Mexican deserts through Southern California to reach their breeding grounds in Washington and Oregon.

The Monarch Butterfly is perhaps the most famous migratory species, while the California Dogface (Zerene eurydice) is the state butterfly of California.

Butterflies in California (CA)

Brush-Footed (Nymphalidae)

  • Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)
  • Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
  • Weidemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii)
  • Blackened Bluewing (Myscelia cyananthe)
  • California Sister (Adelpha bredowii)
  • Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
  • Callippe Fritillary (Speyeria callippe)
  • Coronis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis)
  • Hydaspe Fritillary (Speyeria hydaspe)
  • Great Basin Fritillary (Speyeria egleis)
  • Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
  • Mormon Fritillary (Speyeria mormonia)
  • Nokomis Fritillary (Speyeria nokomis)
  • Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis)
  • Unsilvered Fritillary (Speyeria adiaste)
  • Zerene Fritillary (Speyeria zerene)
  • Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia)
  • Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
  • Pacific Fritillary (Boloria epithore)
  • Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
  • Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonius)
  • Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
  • Queen (Danaus gilippus)
  • American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)
  • American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
  • Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
  • West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
  • Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
  • California Patch (Chlosyne californica)
  • Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia)
  • Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla)
  • Gabb’s Checkerspot (Chlosyne gabbii)
  • Rockslide Checkerspot (Chlosyne whitneyi)
  • Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus)
  • Hoffmann’s Checkerspot (Chlosyne hoffmanni)
  • California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)
  • Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
  • Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)
  • California Crescent (Phyciodes orseis)
  • Field Crescent (Phyciodes pulchellus)
  • Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
  • Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
  • Texan Crescent (Phyciodes texana)
  • Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
  • Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)
  • Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
  • Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus)
  • Green Comma (Polygonia faunus)
  • Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis)
  • Edith’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha)
  • Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona)
  • Leanira Checkerspot (Thessalia leanira)
  • Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
  • Tiny Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas)
  • Dotted Checkerspot (Poladryas minuta)
  • Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae)

Metalmark (Riodinidae)

  • Mormon metalmark (Apodemia mormo)

Swallowtail (Papilionidae)

Skipper (Hesperiidae)

  • White-edged Dusky Wing (Erynnis tristis)
  • White Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)
  • Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
  • Common Branded Skipper (Hesperia comma)
  • Sandhill Skipper (Polities sabuleti)