Field Guide

Butterflies and Moths

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
Media
Several regal fritillaries feeding on butterfly weed
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 700 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Learn about butterflies and skippers as a group. What makes a butterfly a butterfly? How are they different from moths? What are the major groups of butterflies?
Media
Photo of a Common Checkered Skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrgus communis
Description
The white and black checkered pattern makes this a simple identification. The common checkered skipper is the only checkered skipper in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a Delaware Skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anatrytone logan
Description
The undersides of the Delaware skipper's wings are solid orange. It's found statewide in a variety of habitats.
Media
image of a Fiery Skipper, Wings Spread
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hylephila phyleus
Description
Fiery skippers have plain orange undersides scattered with a sprinkling of small dark spots. Males have flame-shaped orange patches on the hindwing upper surface.
Media
Photo of a Least Skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ancyloxypha numitor
Description
One of the smallest skippers in the eastern United States, the least skipper is found in moist, grassy areas, usually near water.
Media
Photo of a Peck's Skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polites peckius
Description
Peck’s skipper is found in Missouri’s fields, lawns, and other open habitats from May through October. Identify it by the one yellow hindwing rectangle that is wider than the others.
Media
image of a Sachem, Wings Folded
Species Types
Scientific Name
Atalopedes campestris
Description
Found statewide in grassy, open places, the sachem gets its name from the boldness of the males, which approach and chase away intruders — even people!
Media
Image of a silver-spotted skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Epargyreus clarus
Description
In a large, global family of several thousand species, the silver-spotted skipper is one of the easiest to identify in our state.
Media
Photo of an unidentified grass skipper
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 275 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
At first glance, skippers look halfway between butterflies and moths. They are commonly seen darting among the flowers they visit on hot summer days.
Media
image of a Tawny-Edged Skipper, Wings Spread
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polites themistocles
Description
Wide-ranging and common, the tawny-edged skipper can be seen May through October in a variety of grassy, open habitats.
See Also
Media
image of Caddisfly on leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,500 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Adult caddisflies are mothlike. Their larvae are aquatic and build portable, protective cases out of local materials, including grains of sand, bits of leaves and twigs, and other debris.
Media
Photo of eastern dobsonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corydalus cornutus
Description
Adult eastern dobsonflies are huge and mothlike, with large wings and a weak, fluttery flight. The fiercely predaceous aquatic larvae, called hellgrammites, are well-known to anglers, who often use them as bait.

About Butterflies and Moths in Missouri

Butterflies, skippers, and moths belong to an insect order called the Lepidoptera — the "scale-winged" insects. These living jewels have tiny, overlapping scales that cover their wings like shingles. The scales, whether muted or colorful, seem dusty if they rub off on your fingers. Many butterflies and moths are associated with particular types of food plants, which their caterpillars must eat in order to survive.