4 Most Common Types of Butterflies in Oregon (With Pictures)
The West Coast has over 150 species of butterfly spread throughout Washington, California, and Oregon. While most of these winged wonders can be found in Oregon, some are more common than others.
Generally, the peak butterfly season in Oregon is summer. When exploring the outdoors and getting in touch with nature, it’s hard not to spot infinite numbers of colorfully-patterned wings fluttering through the air. Oregon offers different butterfly habitats, and some of the best places to spot these gorgeous creatures include the coastal range mountains and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
Read on to learn more about the common types of butterflies in Oregon. We will outline their appearance and preferred habitat. Hopefully, you’ll also learn some tricks to make butterflies visit your garden and prolong their stay throughout the peak season.
The 4 Most Common Types of Butterflies in Oregon
1. Oregon Swallowtail
|Average wingspan||2.5 to 4 inches|
|Peak Season||April and September|
|Adult’s Lifespan||6 to 14 days|
The Oregon swallowtail is native to Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and south-central British Columbia and is an elegant and colorful butterfly. It is one of the most sought-after butterflies by collectors who target it for its eye-catching appearance.
On July 16, 1979, it earned the title of Oregon’s official insect.
2. Painted Lady
|Average wingspan||1.5 to 2.8 inches|
|Peak Season||July through October|
|Adult’s Lifespan||14 to 26 days|
The painted lady is a unique species with enchanting characteristics. The butterfly is also called the cosmopolitan butterfly because it inhabits all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Some also call it the thistle butterfly for its fondness of nectar from the thistle plant.
The painted lady’s unique characteristics include its flight speed of up to 30 miles per hour. The butterfly can also travel far, covering up to 100 miles daily. Also, the species has an unusual migration pattern that is not hinged on seasonal changes. While some believe the butterflies migrate based on climatic patterns, others believe they relocate because of overpopulation.
3. Gray Hairstreak
|Average wingspan||1 to 1.5inches|
|Peak Season||February to November|
|Adult’s Lifespan||3 to 4 weeks|
Gray hairstreak butterflies are best known for their false head pattern. When perching, they keep their head down, and the false antennae (set of tiny hindwing tails) at the back of their wings point upward. They can escape without mortal wounds if predators attack their rear wings.
Distribution-wise, gray hairstreaks are pretty common in Oregon. While they are not as colorful as most butterflies within the state, they are a sight to behold, especially during peak seasons.
4. Red Admiral
|Average wingspan||1.75 to 2.5 inches|
|Peak Season||Spring and summer|
|Adult’s Lifespan||Up to 10 months|
The red admiral was known as the “Red Admirable” during the 18th century. As the name suggests, it has striking aesthetics and is one of the easiest to identify butterfly species. The best part is that these gorgeous creatures are people-friendly and may perch on you. If a red admiral lands on you and you want it to leave, give it a gentle blow, and it will fly away.
Apart from North America, red admirals are also found in Central America, North Africa, Europe, Asia, and various other parts of the world. They are indigenous to temperate regions, although they can prolong their stay within an area if temperatures don’t drop too low during winter.
Because of the diversity of butterflies in Oregon, you can spot different species in summer, spring and fall. However, summer marks the best season for spotting and taking photos of these gorgeous insects because there’s a nice balance of various species. They are active during the day and bask with their wings outstretched or held upright over their bodies.
We hope you are now well-acquainted with some of the most common butterflies in Oregon. Have fun and be careful not to harm them and their habitats.
Featured Image Credit: Cornelia Gatz, Pixabay