Butterflies in Kansas

Silvery Checkerspot
Photo by Jim Mason
Silvery Checkerspot Photo by Jim Mason

Butterflies in Kansas

Butterflies and moths form the insect order Lepidoptera.

They are one of the advanced orders of insects and undergo complete metamorphosis.

Most people regard butterflies as colorful and appealing, even if they don't like "bugs" in general. By studying them, one can gain insight into the invertebrate world in general.

725 different species of butterflies occur in the U.S. and Canada. Roughly 20,000 occur worldwide. The following is a list of the 190 species of butterflies that have been recorded in Kansas, their distributional status, and their normal range within the state.

  • Occurrence data is based on "Checklist of Kansas Butterflies", Kansas School Naturalist, Vol.37, No.4, April 1991 by Marvin Schwilling and Charles Ely, with updates (Feb. 2011) by Charles Ely.
  • An asterisk (*) indicates the species is an erratic only rarely found in Kansas (54 species).
  • Species recorded from Kansas whose normal range is in an adjoining state are indicated as strays.
  • Taxonomy, nomenclature and overall distribution are drawn from The Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Those interested in observing butterflies may be interested in joining the North American Butterfly Association.

Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails)

Pipevine Swallowtail - Battus philenor – All but NW 1/8
Zebra Swallowtail - Eurytides marcellus – SE 1/4
Black Swallowtail - Papilio polyxenes - All
* Baird’s Old World Swallowtail - Papilio machaon bairdii {NW}
Anise Swallowtail - Papilio zelicaon– Stray W
* Thoas Swallowtail - Papilio thoas {S}
Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes – E 1/2
* Ornythion Swallowtail - Papilio ornythion {S}
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio glaucus – E 2/3
* Two-tailed Swallowtail - Papilio multicaudata – Stray W
Spicebush Swallowtail - Papilio troilus – E 1/4
* Ruby-spotted Swallowtail - Papilio anchisiades {S}

Family Pieridae (Whites, Sulphurs, & Orange-Tips)

Subfamily Pierinae (Whites)

* Florida White - Appias drusilla {S}
Checkered White - Pontia protodice - All
* Western White - Pontia occidentalis {W}
Cabbage White - Pieris rapae - All
* Great Southern White - Ascia monuste {S}
* Giant White - Ganyra josephina {S}
Olympia Marble - Euchloe olympia - All
Falcate Orangetip - Anthocharis midea – SE 1/4

Subfamily Coliadinae (Sulphurs)

Clouded Sulphur - Colias philodice – All
Orange Sulphur - Colias eurytheme - All
Southern Dogface - Colias cesonia - All
* White Angled-Sulphur - Anteos chlorinde {SW}
Cloudless Sulphur - Phoebis sennae - All
* Orange-barred Sulphur - Phoebis philea {S}
* Apricot Sulphur - Phoebis argante {S}
* Large Orange Sulphur - Phoebis agarithe {S}
* Statira Sulphur - Phoebis statira {S}
* Lyside Sulphur - Kricogonia lyside {S}
Mexican Yellow - Eurema mexicana – All but NE 1/8
* Tailed Orange - Eurema proterpia {S}
Little Yellow - Eurema lisa – E 2/3
* Mimosa Yellow - Eurema nise {S}
Sleepy Orange - Eurema nicippe – All but NW 1/8
Dainty Sulphur - Nathalis iole - All

Family Lycaenidae (Gossamer-wing Butterflies)

Subfamily Miletinae (Harvesters)

Harvester - Feniseca tarquinius - E 1/4

Subfamily Lycaeninae

American Copper - Lycaena phlaeas – Stray E
Gray Copper - Lycaena dione  - All 
Bronze Copper - Lycaena hyllus - All
Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides – Stray NW

Subfamily Theclinae (Hairstreaks)

Great Purple Hairstreak - Atlides halesus – Stray S
Soapberry Hairstreak - Phaeostrymon alcestis - SC 1/4
Coral Hairstreak - Satyrium titus – All but W 1/4
Acadian Hairstreak - Satyrium acadica – Stray N
Edwards’ Hairstreak - Satyrium edwardsii – Stray E
Banded Hairstreak - Satyrium calanus – E 2/3
Hickory Hairstreak - Satyrium caryaevorus – Stray Striped Hairstreak - Satyrium liparops – NE 1/8
Southern Hairstreak - Satyrium favonius - SE 1/4
Henry’s Elfin - Callophrys henrici – E 1/3
'Olive' Juniper Hairstreak - Callophrys gryneus gryneus – E 2/3
White M Hairstreak - Parrhasius m-album – Stray E
Gray Hairstreak - Strymon melinus - All
Red-banded Hairstreak - Calycopis cecrops – Stray SE
* Dusky-blue Groundstreak - Calycopis isobeon {S}
* Gray Ministreak - Ministrymon azia {S}

Subfamily Polyommatinae (Blues)

Western Pygmy-Blue - Brephidium exilis – SW 1/4
* Cassius Blue - Leptotes cassius {S}
Marine Blue - Leptotes marina – All but NE 1/8
* Ceraunus Blue - Hemiargus ceraunus {S}
Reakirt’s Blue - Hemiargus isola - All
Eastern Tailed-Blue - Cupido comyntas - All
Spring Azure - Celastrina ladon – All
Summer Azure - Celastrina neglecta - All
* Silvery Blue - Glaucopsyche lygdamus {W}
Melissa Blue - Plebejus melissa – W 1/2
Lupine Blue - Plebejus lupini – W 1/2

Family Nymphalidae (Brushfoots)

Subfamily Libytheinae (Snouts)

American Snout - Libytheana carinenta - All

Subfamily Heliconiinae (Heliconians)

Gulf Fritillary - Agraulis vanillae – Stray S
* Banded Orange Heliconian - Dryadula phaetusa {S}
* Julia Heliconian - Dryas iulia {S}
* Isabella’s Heliconian - Eueides isabella {S}
* Zebra Heliconian - Heliconius charithonia {S}

Subfamily Nymphalinae (True Brushfoots)

Variegated Fritillary - Euptoieta claudia - All
Great Spangled Fritillary - Speyeria cybele – NE 2/3 
Aphrodite Fritillary - Speyeria aphrodite – Stray N
Regal Fritillary - Speyeria idalia – All, Stray W 1/2 
Edwards’ Fritillary - Speyeria edwardsii – Stray W
Fulvia Checkerspot - Thessalia fulvia – W 1/2
Bordered Patch  - Chlosyne lacinia – SW 1/4
Gorgone Checkerspot - Chlosyne gorgone - All
Silvery Checkerspot - Chlosyne nycteis – E 1/2
* Texan Crescent - Phyciodes texana {S}
Graphic Crescent - Phyciodes graphica – Stray S
Phaon Crescen - Phyciodes phaont – SE 1/2
Pearl Crescent  - Phyciodes tharos - All
* Field Crescent - Phyciodes campestris {W}
Painted Crescent - Phyciodes picta – W 1/4
* Dotted Checkerspot - Poladryas minuta {W}
Baltimore Checkerspot - Euphydryas phaeton – Stray E
Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis - All
Eastern Comma - Polygonia comma – NE 1/2
Hoary Comma - Polygonia gracilis – Stray W
Gray Comma - Polygonia progne – E 1/4
Mourning Cloak - Nymphalis antiopa - All
* Milbert’s Tortoiseshell - Aglais milberti {W}
American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis - All
Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui - All
West Coast Lady - Vanessa annabella – Stray W
Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta - All
Common Buckeye - Junonia coenia - All
* White Peacock - Anartia jatrophae {S}
* Malachite - Siproeta stelenes {S}

Subfamily Limenitidinae (Admirals)

Red-spotted Purple - Limenitis arthemis astyanax – E 1/2
Viceroy - Limenitis archippus - All
* Weidemeyer’s Admiral - Limenitis weidemeyerii {W}
Arizona Sister - Adelpha eulalia – Stray SW
* Florida Purplewing - Eunica tatila {S}
* Common Mestra - Mestra amymone {S}
* Many-banded Daggerwing - Marpesia chiron {S}
* Ruddy Daggerwing - Marpesia petreus {SW}

Subfamily Charaxinae (Leafwings)

* Tropical Leafwing - Anaea aidea {S}
Goatweed Leafwing - Anaea andria - All

Subfamily Apaturinae (Emperors)

Hackberry Emperor - Asterocampa celtis - All
Tawny Emperor - Asterocampa clyton – E 2/3

Subfamily Satyrinae (Satyrs)

Northern Pearly Eye  - Enodia anthedon – Stray E 1/4
* Creole Pearly Eye - Enodia creola {SE}
* Eyed Brown - Satyrodes eurydice {N}
Gemmed Satyr - Cyllopsis gemma – Stray SE 1/8
* Carolina Satyr - Hermeuptychia sosybius {SE}
Little Wood Satyr - Megisto cymela – E 2/3
Red Satyr - Megisto rubricata – Stray SW
Common Wood Nymph - Cercyonis pegala - All

Subfamily Danainae (Milkweed Butterflies)

Monarch - Danaus plexippus – All
Queen - Danaus gilippus – Stray S 1/2 
* Tiger Mimic-Queen - Lycorea halia {S}

 

 

Family Hesperiidae (Skippers)

Subfamily Pyrginae (Spreadwing Skippers)

Silver-spotted Skipper - Epargyreus clarus - All
* Long-tailed Skipper - Urbanus proteus {S}
Hoary Edge - Achalarus lyciades - E 1/4
Southern Cloudywing - Thorybes bathyllus - E 1/2
Northern Cloudywing - Thorybes pylades - E 1/2
Confused Cloudywing  - Thorybes confusis - SE 1/4
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing - Staphylus hayhurstii - E 2/3
* Northern Sicklewing - Eantis tamenund {S}
* Hermit Skipper - Grais stigmatica {S}
* White-patched Skipper - Chiomara georgina {S}
Sleepy Duskywing - Erynnis brizo – Stray E
Juvenal’s Duskywing - Erynnis juvenalis - E 1/4
Horace’s Duskywing - Erynnis horatius – E 1/2 
Mottled Duskywing - Erynnis martialis – Stray E
Funeral Duskywing - Erynnis funeralis – All
* Columbine Duskywing - Erynnis lucilius {NE}
Wild Indigo Duskywing - Erynnis baptisiae – E 1/2
* Afranius Duskywing - Erynnis afranius {W}
* Persius Duskywing - Erynnis persius {W}
Common Checkered-Skipper - Pyrgus communis - All
Common Sootywing - Pholisora catullus – All
* Mexican Sootywing - Pholisora mejicana  {SW}

 

Subfamily Heteropterinae (Skipperlings)

* Russet Skipperling- Piruna pirus {W}

Subfamily Herperiinae (Grass-Skippers)

Swarthy Skipper - Nastra lherminier – Stray SE
* Clouded Skipper - Lerema accius {SE}
Least Skipper - Ancyloxypha numitor – All
Orange Skipperling - Copaeodes aurantiaca - W 1/4
Fiery Skipper - Hylephila phyleus – All
Uncas Skipper - Hesperia uncas – W 1/3
Ottoe Skipper - Hesperia ottoe – All
Leonard’s Skipper - Hesperia leonardus – NW 1/4
Pahaska Skipper - Hesperia pahaska – Stray W
Cobweb Skipper - Hesperia metea – Stray SE
Green Skipper - Hesperia viridis – W 1/3
Dotted Skipper - Hesperia attalus – Stray SC
Rhesus Skipper - Polites rhesus – Stray W
Peck’s Skipper - Polites peckius – NE 1/4
Tawny-edged Skipper  - Polites themistocles – E 1/2
Crossline Skipper - Polites origenes – E 1/2
Southern Broken-dash - Wallengrenia otho – Stray SE
Northern Broken-dash - Wallengrenia egeremet – Stray E
Little Glassywing  - Pompeius verna – Stray NE
Sachem - Atalopedes campestris - All 

Arogos Skipper - Atrytone arogos – All but SW 1/4 
Delaware Skipper - Anatrytone logan – All 
Byssus Skipper - Problema byssus – SE 1/4
Hobomok Skipper - Poanes hobomok – E 1/2
Zabulon Skipper - Poanes zabulon – E 1/2
Dion Skipper - Euphyes dion – Stray SE
Two-Spotted Skipper - Euphyes bimacula – Stray N
Dun Skipper - Euphyes vestris – All
Dusted Skipper - Atrytonopsis hianna - All 
Bronze Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes aenus – Stray SW
Linda’s Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes linda - Stray SE
Oslar’s Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes oslari – W 1/4
Nysa Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes nysa - E 2/3 
* Dotted Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes eos {SW}
Common Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes vialis – All
Bell’s Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes belli – SE 1/4
Eufala Skipper  - Lerodea eufala – All
* Brazilian Skipper - Calpodes ethlius {S}

Subfamily Megathyminae (Giant-Skippers)

Yucca Giant-Skipper - Megathymus yuccae – W 1/2
Strecker’s Giant-Skipper - Megathymus streckeri – SW & NW