House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Types of Butterflies in Missouri (With Pictures)

Asian Swallowtail butterfly

Did you know Missouri has more than 150 species of butterflies? It’s true! Luckily, with this abundance also comes ease of access to view these winged beauties.

There are many locations throughout the state where you can see and photograph these beautiful creatures. Whether it’s a quick trip from the big city or a lengthy drive from your own home, there is a place you can visit to see these amazing animals fly around you.

In this article, we will discuss 8 of the most common types of butterflies in Missouri and their specific habitat details.

divider 1

The 8 Types of Butterflies in Missouri

1. Marbled Emperor

Habitat:  Wetlands, oak forests, orchards
Lifespan:  15-30 days

This type of butterfly is loved by many as a symbol of spring and summer, but it is also a common sight for those who enjoy butterflies during the fall season. This type of butterfly is a migrant, which means it is native to other areas and migrates here from its home in Mexico and Central America.

The spring marbled emperor is found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, oak forests, and even areas with irrigated crops and orchards. They prefer hot and dry areas, their flight patterns are very predictable, and they are often spotted flying around human crowds. Their spring mating season is beautiful, with their wings having a marbled pattern that is often associated with luxury and wealth.


2. White Admiral

white admiral butterfly
Image Credit: Wayne, Pixabay
Habitat:  Gardens, forests, open plains
Lifespan:  12-14 days

The White Admiral butterfly is easy to recognize as it is the only butterfly that is white in color with black spots on its wings. This butterfly is also the most commonly seen during the summer season. It’s a native of Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to the United States in an attempt to promote pollination of various crops and flowers. This species of butterfly is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and even areas with irrigated crops.


3. Black-spotted Purple

Black spotted Purple butterfly
Image Credit: Pixabay
Habitat:  Wet meadows, oak forests, agricultural fields
Lifespan:  6-14 days

The Black-spotted Purple is a beautiful butterfly that can be found in a variety of habitats throughout the state. In the southern part of the state, it is often seen in oak forests, wet meadows, and even riparian areas. In the northern half of Missouri, this butterfly frequents a variety of habitats, including wetlands, oak forests, and even agricultural fields. The Black-spotted Purple is often spotted flying in tandem with other types, so identifying them is often easier if you have help. They have a black spot on the middle of their wings, which makes them easy to spot.


4. Zebra Longwing

Zebra Longwing
Image Credit: Pixabay
Habitat:  Open fields, wet plains, forests
Lifespan:  7-14 days

These zebra-striped butterflies are present in the southeastern part of the state and throughout the summer months. They are frequent visitors to gardens and ornamental areas throughout the state. This type of butterfly is often spotted flying in tandem with other types of butterflies. Their wings are often a black-and-purple zebra pattern that makes them easy to spot when they are flying in large flocks. This butterfly is often mistaken for the monarch butterfly, which is commonly found in the same areas.


5. Orange-tipped Hairstreak

Orange Tipped Hairstreak Butterfly
Image Credit: Pixabay
Habitat:  Forests, gardens, and agricultural areas
Lifespan:  4-10 days

The Orange-tipped Hairstreak is native to Europe and Asia, but it was accidentally introduced to the United States in the late 19th century. It is a common sight throughout the state, but it is particularly common in the southern part of the state. This butterfly is often mistaken for the Zebra Longwing, which is also found in this area. They have a long, orange-tipped hairstreak, which is their mating partner and is also mistaken as a type of flower. This butterfly is often spotted in gardens, forests, and agricultural areas.


6. Dingy-footed White

Dingy footed butterfly
Image Credit: Pixabay
Habitat:  Parks, open areas, backyards, gardens
Lifespan:  1-2 weeks

The dingy-footed white butterfly is all white with one small spot on the lower end of each of its wings, which makes it very easy to identify. This type of butterfly is native to Europe and Asia and has been found in the United States since the 1930s. They are present throughout the state of Missouri, but they are particularly common in the southern part of the state. This butterfly easily stands out from other butterflies due to its color and it’s often found flying around residential areas, parks, and even gardens.


7. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

western tiger swallowtail
Image Credit: gb59098, Pixabay
Habitat:  Gardens, forests, rivers, and irrigation areas
Lifespan:  About 14 days

The Canadian tiger swallowtail is present in the eastern and southern part of Missouri, but it’s especially common in the southern part of the state. This butterfly is often mistaken for the Zebra Longwing, which is also found in this area. This butterfly is often spotted flying around gardens, forests, rivers, and irrigation areas. This is one of the largest types of butterflies in the state, and they are found throughout the year, even in the winter.


8. Azure

Image Credit: Phil59, Pixabay
Habitat:  Forests, gardens, and riparian areas
Lifespan:  5-7 days

The azure is one of the most beautiful butterflies that you will ever lay your eyes on. It has a light-blue or purplish hue and quite a sight to watch. This type of butterfly is present in the eastern and central part of the state and is a common sight throughout the summer. This butterfly is native to Europe and Asia and has been accidentally brought to the United States. This species can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and even riparian areas. This is one of the most commonly seen types in Missouri, and it is often seen flying in tandem with other types of butterflies.

divider 1

Conclusion

Many types of butterflies are native to Missouri, and they are often seen flying in tandem with other types of butterflies. Keep your eyes open for these types of butterflies and your chances of spotting one will improve. The best ways to observe butterflies in Missouri are during their flight, resting, and mating patterns. While it may be surprising, butterflies are often found in areas close to humans, with the majority being spotted near gardens, backyard trees, and even near irrigation areas.

See also: 10 Wildflowers That Grow in Missouri (Identification Guide With Pictures)

Sources
  • https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/butterflies-skippers#:~:text=Many%20familiar%20butterflies%20are%20in,and%20satyrs%20and%20wood%2Dnymphs.
  • https://www.butterflyidentification.com/butterflies-in-us/missouri-butterflies
  • https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/ipm1019?p=29

Featured Image Credit: Mark Bridger, Shutterstock

Contents

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools

woodworking

Garden

Automotive