The various types of orange butterflies are some of the most beautiful creatures you will ever see in nature. Because of their vibrant orange coloring, they can be very easy to spot in the wild if you know where to look. From the banded orange butterfly of Brazil to the queen butterfly of South America, each has a distinct pattern and characteristics that set them apart from the others.
14 Types of orange butterflies
In this article, we’ll go over the different types of orange butterflies found in North America.
1. Pearl Crescent
Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos
The pearl crescent is a lovely butterfly that can be found throughout North America, specifically from Alberta to Mexico. Its wingspan is between 3 and 4 cm, and the borders of its orange wings are black.
The habitat of this species includes pastures, vacant lots, fields, road edges, and open pine woods. They will also be seen feeding on flower nectars such as dogbane, asters, swamp milkweed, and shepherd’s needle.
2. Apricot Sulfur
Scientific Name: Phoebis argante
The apricot sulfur is a delicate and beautiful creature commonly seen in South America, where they fly through rainforests and brushy areas. This species’ male has bright orange wings, while the female has a paler color.
The male species of this butterfly has also been observed gathering with other sulfur butterfly species to drink minerals from mud and dump soils. Females primarily consume flower nectars such as lantana and impatiens.
3. Orange Sulfur
Scientific Name: Colias eurytheme
Orange sulfurs can be found throughout North America, from Canada to Mexico. This butterfly species is medium in size, with a wingspan of about 5 cm. Males have wings that are yellow-orange with black borders and spots.
It spends most of its time near host plants such as alfalfa and white clover, where it lays eggs and feeds on pollen. The female lays her eggs on these plants so that when the larvae hatch, they can feed on the leaves or roots of their host plant. Adult butterflies of this species eat milkweed or wildflowers like goldenrod or aster.
4. Mexican Silverspot
Scientific Name: Dione moneta
The Mexican silverspot is a lovely creature found throughout Mexico, and its larvae feed on various types of passion vines. These butterflies have orange and brown upperside, and they have a silvery-white coloration with black spots on the underside of their wings. They prefer dry areas with abundant wildflowers, so you might see them near tropical forests.
5. Ruddy Daggerwing
Scientific Name: Marpesia petreus
Ruddy daggerwing is a butterfly that can be found from Brazil to Central America and can occasionally be found from Arizona to Texas. It is most commonly seen in warm climates, where it lives in tropical lowland forests. It gets its name from its long and narrow wing tips, which resemble a dagger.
This butterfly has orange wings that are 2 to 3 inches long and have three black lines on them. Because of their brown dried leaf-like underside, these butterflies are known for camouflaging as dead leaves.
6. Queen Butterfly
Scientific Name: Danaus gilippus
The queen butterfly is a lovely insect that can be found in tropical regions of Central and South America, as well as in Florida. This insect’s wingspan can reach up to 3 inches in length.
The wings of the queen butterfly are a brilliant orange color. They also have a black border with white spots. This species feeds primarily on milkweeds and will even lay eggs on them so that their caterpillar can feed on the plant host.
7. Tiger Mimic Queen
Scientific Name: Lycorea halia
The tiger mimic queen is a large brown butterfly with orange and black stripes on its wings and body. It’s a lovely, intriguing creature found throughout the American lowlands.
The average wingspan of this butterfly is 9-10 cm. This insect’s larvae are black with yellow stripes on their backs and feed on plants such as Papaya, fig, bloodflower, and Jacartia. Adult butterflies consume bird droppings as part of their diet.
8. Banded Orange
Scientific Name: Dryadula phaetusa
Banded orange is a small butterfly with a bright orange body and prominent black stripes, and you can find it from Brazil to Central America. Adult butterflies are frequently seen on the ground in small groups feeding on bird droppings. Additionally, they would consume flower nectars as part of their diet.
The eggs of this species are typically laid on the underside of leaves. When the caterpillar hatches, it eats the leaves of its host plant, which are mostly passion-vine plants.
Scientific Name: Limenitis archippus
The viceroy butterfly is a North American insect that is named after imitating the monarch. It has a wingspan of about three inches when fully grown and can be seen flying around moist and shrubby areas.
This species’ caterpillars resemble bird droppings, which helps them avoid predators who may consider them food. When flowers are scarce, the adult would primarily feed on decaying fungi and dung.
10. Gulf Fritillary
Scientific Name: Agraulis vanillae
The Gulf fritillary is a small, brightly colored butterfly with orange wings and black markings on the upper side. You can find it throughout the southeastern United States and in Mexico.
This butterfly lays eggs on passionflower vines, which its caterpillars consume. Caterpillars are also cannibalistic, which means they eat each other when food is scarce. On the other hand, adult butterflies have been observed drinking nectar from flowers such as lantana and shepherd’s needle.
Scientific Name: Eueides aliphera
The juliette is a butterfly species native to Central and Southern America’s neotropical forests. It’s also common in Mexico and Brazil. This butterfly has a wingspan of 55 mm, and its wings are reddish-orange with black outlines.
Juliette females are known to reproduce only once in their lifetime. Their eggs are typically laid on the undersides of their host plants’ leaves.
12. Edwards’s Fritillary
Scientific Name: Speyeria edwardsii
Edwards’ fritillary is a lovely butterfly that can be found from southern Alberta to New Mexico. It is distinguished by its bright orange wings with black spots and streaks.
The Edwards’ Fritillary’s underside is grayish green with silver markings. It is usually found near wildflowers and other plants that it eats, such as violets.
13. Question Mark
Scientific Name: Polygonia interrogationis
The question mark butterfly is one of the most interesting butterflies you can find around Canada and the United States. It has red-orange wings with black spots and a violet-tipped tail on the hindwings. The underside of this species has a figure resembling a question mark, hence the name.
You can find it in wooded areas where caterpillars eat American elm, hackberry, and nettles. Adults primarily consume rotting fruits, dung, and tree saps. When these foods are unavailable, they will feed on flower nectars such as milkweed and aster.
14. Sleepy Orange
Scientific Name: Abaeis nicippe
Sleepy orange is a species of butterfly native to Central America. It is also known as the sleepy orange because of its underwing pattern, which resembles the closed eyes of a sleeping person.
The butterfly has a wingspan of about 1 – 2 inches and is distinguished by its bright orange coloration with black spots. The black borders on the upperside are visible on the male, but on the female’s wings, they are less noticeable. They are typically found in low-elevation areas, such as fields, gardens, and even vacant lots.