Butterflies & Moths – Lepidoptera Pictures & Bio

Lepidoptera means scale wings; lepido = scale, ptera = wings. Wings of butterflies and moths are often covered with a colorful mosaic of minute scales.

Creamy Checkerspot Butterfly
This Creamy Checkerspot Butterfly was photographed in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Buckeye Butterfly
The Buckeye Butterfly widespread and easily recognized by its prominent eyespots that probably help protect them against inexperience birds.
Orange-Margined Blue Butterfly
The delicate beauty belongs to a group of butterflies known as blues.
Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly
Sometimes no bigger that 3/8" the Western Pygmy Blue is the smallest butterfly in the western United States.
California Sister Butterfly
This freshly emerged adult California Sister butterfly was sitting on a rock while it finished pumping fluids into its expanding wings.
Western Steep Fritillary Butterfly
An early morning trek to a specific meadow in the Owens Valley of California provided a glimpse at this indigenous subspecies population of Western Steep Fritillary.
Painted Lady Butterfly
The Painted Lady Butterfly is similar to the Virginia Lady and the West Coast Lady. Also known as the thistle butterfly.
Purplish Copper Butterfly
The Purplish Copper is a hardy butterfly, visible when most other species are absent.
Western White Butterfly
Very similar to the checkered white, western whites are found in the north west rather than the southern states. Wing markings vary throughout the year and between male and females.h
Harpalus Skipper
Belonging to the geographically varied genus of Holarctic Grass Skippers, this regional subspecies is found on the Eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.
Common Checkered Skipper
The wing patternation of the common checkered skipper varies considerably.
Californian Snout Moth
This Pyralid Grass Moth display the protruding labial palps mouthparts characteristic of this group of moths.
Geometrid Moth Nemoria spp.
The Blackfoot Indians of North America believe moths to be the messenger of our dreams.
Heliconid Mimic Butterfly: Eresia spp.
This butterfly was found feeding in Brazil right next to the species it mimicked.
Red Passion Flower Butterfly Heliconius erato
This butterfly advertises its unpalatability with characteristic orange and black warning colorationT
Riodinid Butterfly Lasia agesilas
There are over 2000 species of Riodinids butterflies which present considerable difficulty for taxonomists to organize.
Dagger Wing Butterfly Marpesia spp.
Damp spots in the trail are often frequented by this sun and mineral-loving Dagger Wing Butterfly.
Tropical Riodinid Butterfly
This tiny tropical riodinid butterfly from Brazil feeds on epiphylls that grow on the surfaces of vascular plant leaves, especially bromeliads and orchids.
Leaf Wing Butterfly: Zaretis itys
Caterpillars of this species form frass chains at the ends of leaves. They bind particles of their droppings together with silk resulting in a jumble of debris.
Owl Butterfly Opsiphanes spp.
Belonging to the same family of butterflies as the famous Owl Butterflies, this Opsiphanes genus contains about ten different species which can be challenging to differentiate.
Map Wing Butterfly Hypanartia lethe
This Map Wing Butterfly gets it's name from the ornate pattern and coloration found on the underside of the hind and fore wings pictured here.
Satyr Butterfly Euptychia hermes
Satyrid butterflies bear the popular name wood nymph and are characterized by low-level dodging flight.
Riodinid Butterfly Caria mantinea amazonica
This species exhibits a midday sunning characteristic, while others Riodinids are much more elusive.
Brush-footed Butterfly Underwing
The Bible often referred to insects as having only four legs for walking.
Brush-footed Butterfly Eueides aliphera
This stunning Brazilian Heliconid butterfly presents its elongated wings with bright orange an jet black coloration as it drinks from mineral rich puddles.
Clearwing Butterfly
These ethereal and delicate tropical forest butterflies are often lured out of their seclusion by the chemicals found in dried Heliotropes.
Tropical White Butterflies Ascia orseis
Mud puddling is one of the favorite pastime of these male Ascia butterflies.
Riodinid Butterfly: Rettus periander
Riodinids are tropical butterflies with a reputation for being least understood and extremely varied in color, form and behavior.
Riodinid Butterfly Rettus periander Underwing
A small patch of sunlight blessed the spot which attracted this showoff species deep within the forest.
Tussock Moth
In this case the endearing and almost human-like characteristics of this extremely hairy moth.
Wasp Mimic Moth
The Sesiidae family of moths are notorious for their ability to mimic wasps.
Silk Moth Caterpillar
Caterpillar represent the second of four life stages found in insects with complete metamorphosis.
Tropical Skipper
Differentiated from true butterflies or a moths, skippers are characterized by their stout bodies, short wings, large heads and curve tipped antennae.
Noctuid Moth
Many male moths have elaborate antennas to comb the evening air for molecules of pheromones emitted by potential mates.
Tarantula Mimic Moth
While many moths have a reputation for being hairy beasts, this one takes the prize.
Silk Moth
Looking more like a leaf, this tropical silk moth held on with its front two feet and swayed in the breeze along with the surrounding foliage.
Clear-Winged Moth
he unusual bright coloration of this moth forms part of an elaborate wasp mimic charade that includes, coloration, flight behavior, buzzing noise of the wings in flight.
Sphinx Moth
Sphinx moths are also known as hummingbird moths for their ability to hover in front of flowers and sip the sweet nectar.
Caterpillar
While some insect go to great lengths to conceal themselves with camouflage others advertise the fact that the are either dangerous of distasteful.
Golden Emperor Loepa katinka
Adult moths have primitive mouthparts and do not feed.
Underwing Moth
Cryptic forewings for camouflage against bark during the day yet when disturbed, they flash their bright disorienting colored underwings as a second line of defense
Mantis-Mimic Moth
This Indonesian moth is probably mimicking the raptorial legs of a praying mantis.
Epiplima Moth
Some Indonesian Moths truly push the boundaries of what we associate as typical moth form.
Snout Moth
It is interesting to ponder why moths that are primarily active during the night would employ such varied coloration.
Geometrid Moth
Most moths have bilateral symmetry but this large group of moths know as Geometrids are striking for the variety of "zigzag" markings and wings with serrated edges.
Hook-Tip Leaf Moth
Looking like a decomposing leaf, this hook-tip moth has a central rib marking to mimic the vein of a leaf.
Looper Moth
Adorned with strangely shaped tufts of hair on its thorax and abdomen and a striking golden metallic swatch on each forewing, this Noctuid moth is trying to resemble a bird dropping.
Bombicid Moth
Showing beauty through simplicity of design, this male moth displays a fine pair of feathered antennae.
Wasp-Mimic Moth
The waxy and transparent scales of this Sesiid moth simulate the membranous wings of the wasps they mimic.
Grass Moth
Two types of randomly placed scale cells appear on moth wings.
Hook-Tip Moth
Adult Drepanid moths are unable to feed as they possess a very poorly developed tongue.
Swallowtail Butterfly Papilio spp.
Large congregations of this swallowtail butterfly are found along the banks of an Indonesian river as they drink minerals.
Nymphalid Butterfly
These butterflies exhibit strong and confident flight characteristics and are also attracted to the higher concentrations of minerals along the river banks.
Death's Head Hawk Moth Acherontia spp.
Much superstition surrounding this moth species due to the skull motif on the thorax.
Hawk Moth
Setting up a light trap on a hillside in Sulawesi attracted a tremendous variety of sphinx moths with cryptic wing coloration and patternation mimicking leaf venation.
Silk Moth Antennae
Male antennae are sensitive chemoreceptors, combing out pheromone molecules from the female.
Leaf Mimic Moth
Navajo Indians used the Mothway Myth to encourage clan members to marry outsiders.
Tiger Moth
Tiger moths and are known for their white and orange wings as well as their striped fringe border. These moths feed on plant materials.
Arctiid Moth
Australian fabric sculptor, Annemieke Mein produces tactile works of art inspired by numerous, not so popular insects, including moths.
Small Magpie Moth Eurrhypara spp.
Resembling the geometrid Magpie Moth, the larvae of this moth eats nettles.
Baorisa Moth Baorisa hieroglyphica
This specimen is arguably the most beautiful of the Noctuid moths, resembling an Art Deco, Piet Mondrian creation.