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Butterfly Gardening Web Brochure
for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas

Compiled by Gil Quintanilla and Mike Quinn

Contributors:   Diann Ballesteros, David & Jan Dauphin, Javier Deleon, Carol Goolsby, Martin Hagne, Maxine McClendon, Joshua Rose, Ellie Thompson, Cynthia Traylor, Ann Vacek, Frank Wiseman



Butterflies in Garden and Yard

1st 50 are the ones you most expect ina butterfly garden
Common Butterflies Found in the Garden
Flight Caterpillar  Caterpillar
Common Name Scientific Name Period Season Food Plant Other Comments
Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes 1-12 1-12 torchwood, citrus most common swallowtail in Valley
Checkered White Pontia protodice 1-12 1-12 cabbage, pepper grass topside has a checkered pattern
Great Southern White Ascia monuste 1-12 1-12 cabbage, capers at times abundant along the coast
Southern Dogface Colias cesonia 1-12 1-12 Texas kidneywood forewing has "poodle face" outline
Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis sennae 1-12 1-12 species in pea family (Fabaceae) similar to other sulphurs prefers red flowers
Large Orange Sulphur Phoebis philea 1-12 1-12 guamuchil, species in pea family Valley's most abundant large sulphur
Lyside Sulphur Kricogonia lyside 1-12 1-12 guayacan green,yellow, white - variable color
Little Yellow Eurema lisa 1-12 1-12 plants in pea family males are yellow, females almost white
Dainty Sulphur Nathalis iole 1-12 1-12 plants in aster family, marigolds tiny - Valley's smallest sulphur
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus 1-12 1-12 many, prefers pea and mallow families widespread and common
Mallow-scrub Hairstreak Strymon istapa 1-12 1-12 plants in mallow family likely most common hairstreak in Valley
Dusky-blue Groundstreak Calycopis isobeon 1-12 1-12 dead leaves and fruits widespread and partial toward shade
Clytie Ministreak Ministrymon clytie 1-12 1-12 legumes including mesquite dozens sometimes on single plant
Western-Pygmy Blue Brephidium exile 1-12 1-12 pigweed and saltbush species tiny - Valley's smallest butterfly
Ceraunus Blue Hemiargus ceraunus 1-12 1-12 woody legumes, mesquite most common blue in Valley
Reakirt's Blue Hemiargus isola 1-12 1-12 legumes including mesquite and mimosa typically loners - look for 5 forewing black spots
Fatal Metalmark Calephelis nemesis 1-12 1-12 old man's beard most widespread and variable metalmark
American Snout Libytheana carinenta 1-12 1-12 spiny hackberry (granjeno) an American legend -massive  migrations
Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae 1-12 1-12 blue passion flower orange above with beautiful silver patterned underside
Theona Checkerspot Chlosyne theona 1-12 1-12 cenizo patterns and colors vary considerably
Bordered Patch Chlosyne lacinia 1-12 1-12 sunflowers widespread and extremely "variable" in appearance
Texan Crescent Phyciodes texana 1-12 1-12 dicliptera, wild petunia, and acanthus family common and widespread in woody areas
Vesta Crescent Phyciodes vesta 1-12 1-12 hairy tube tongue common and widespread
Phaon Crescent Phyciodes phaon 1-12 1-12 frogfruits most common of Valley crescents
Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos 1-12 1-12 asters broad median band 
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis 1-12 1-12 asters underside is mottled with two large eyespots
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui 1-12 1-12 mallows and thistles world's most widespread butterfly, several underside eyespots
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 1-12 1-12 pellitory, nettle readily comes to bait and abundant in fall and winter
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia 1-12 1-12 shrimp plant,wild petunia unmistakable with large eyespots on forewing and hindwing
White Peacock Anartia jatrophae 1-12 1-12 ruellia, lippia, frogfruit beautiful, widespread, and common year round
Tropical Leafwing Anaea aidea 1-12 1-12 crotons mimics a dead leaf
Tawny Emperor Asterocampa clyton 1-12 1-12 sugar hackberry ubiquitous along the National Butterfly Center woodland trail
Carolina Satyr Hermeuptychia sosybius 1-12 1-12 carpet grass, Bermuda grass common along shady woodlands trails 
Monarch Danaus plexippus 1-12 1-12 tropical milkweed widespread and year round resident of the Valley
Queen Danaus gilippus 1-12 1-12 tropical milkweed widespread and commonly mistaken for the Monarch
Brown Longtail Urbanus procne 1-12 1-12 Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass Valley specialty that is widespread and common
Sickle-winged Skipper Achlyodes thraso 1-12 1-12 pricklyash and citrus widespread - males darker than females
Funereal Duskywing Erynnis funeralis 1-12 1-12 Texas baby bonnets, Barbados cherry forewing has a dull brown patch at end of cell 
White Checkered Skipper Pyrgus albescens 1-12 1-12 possiby mallows widespread and similar to common checkered-skipper
Tropical Checkered Skipper Pyrgus oileus 1-12 1-12 mallows note forewing fringe right before the apex is blackened
Laviana White Skipper Heliopetes laviana 1-12 1-12 mallows look for Y pattern on the underside hindwing
Common Sootywing Pholisora catullus 1-12 1-12 lambsquarters prefers to stay close to the ground
Clouded Skipper Lerema accius 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass Valley's most common skipper. Likes morning sun
Southern Skipperling Copaeodes minimus 1-12 1-12 Bermuda grass Valley's smallest skipper.  White line across underside
Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus 1-12 1-12 Bermuda grass, St. Augustine widespread and variable.  look for measles-like spots
Whirlabout Polites vibex 1-12 1-12 Bermuda grass widespread with large smudged spots 
Southern Broken-Dash Wallengrenia otho 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass hindwing postmedian band often shaped like a 3
Sachem Atalopedes campestris 1-12 1-12 Bermuda grass most robust of the 3 wizards with hindwing chevron
Celia's Roadside Skipper Amblyscirtes celia 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass only gray-brown skipper with dotted underside hindwing
Eufala Skipper Lerodea eufala 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass common and will clap its wings when it lands
Above:  Top 50

Uncommon and Unusual Butterflies found in the Garden

Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor 1-12 1-12 pipvines underside of hindwing has submarginal band of large orange spots
Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes 1-12 1-12 carrot, celery, dill dimorphic…males upperside with two bands of yellow spots
Giant White Ascia monuste 5-12 5-12 caper trees our largest white, prominent black spot in upper forewing of males
Orange Sulphur Colia eurytheme 3-11 3-11 plants in the pea family variable with female having a yellow and white form
White Angled-Sulphur Anteos clorinde 1-12 1-12 senna high flying with strong prominent veining on leaf-like wings
Yellow Angled-Sulphur Anteos maerula 8-12 8-12 cassia in pea family similar to white-angled, but weak veins &  yellow on the topside
Mexican Yellow Eurema mexicana 9-12 9-11 plants in the pea family upper surface has outline of a dog's head
Tailed Orange Eurema proterpia 1-12 1-12 mesquite and senna species summer form has virtually no tail
Sleepy Orange Eurema nicippe 1-12 1-12 plants in the pea family forewing with small black cell spot that looks like sleepy eye
Mimosa Yellow Eurema nise 1-12 1-12 sensitive plant in pea family both male and female yellow...prefers woodland edges
Great Purple Hairstreak Atlides halesus 1-12 1-12 mistletoe usually solitary and often seen on blooming brush holly
Marius Hairstreak Rekoa marius 8-12 8-12 duranta, malpighias occasionally colonizes in the Valley
Silver-banded Hairstreak Chlorostrymon simaethis 6-12 6-12 common balloon vine beautiful, small green butterfly. Compare to Xami hairstreak
Red-crescent Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon rufofusca 10-12 10-12 3-lobe false mallow one tail on hindwing
Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon bazochii 1-12 1-12 lantana no tails, upperside of hindwing is blue
Rounded Metalmark Calephelis perditalis 1-12 1-12 betony leaf mistflower look for a "bulge' on the forewing postmedian band
Blue Metalmark Lasaia sula 1-12 1-12 screwbean mesquite beautiful, dimorphic and mostly found in eastern Valley
Julia Heliconian Dryas iulia 1-12 1-12 passion vines Valley specialty with long, orange, narrow wings
Zebra Heliconian Heliconius charithonia 1-12 1-12 passion vines Valley specialty of shady areas with zebra-like markings 
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia 3-12 3-12 purslane, stonecrop widespread, but not very common year-round
Mexican Fritillary Euptoieta hegesia 1-12 1-12 turnera, passion vines similar to variegated fritillary, but fewer markings on hindwings
Crimson Patch Chlosyne janais 7-12 6-12 flame acanthus, dicliptera colonies at the National Butterfly Center & Frontera Audubon
Elada Checkerspot Texola elada 1-12 1-12 hairy tube tongue tiny butterfly usually found close to host plant
Pale-banded Crescent Phyciodes tulcis 6-12 6-12 dicliptera Santa Ana NWR and Frontera Audubon are good places to find
Banded Peacock Anartia fatima 1-12 1-12 wild petunia (ruellia) mostly brown with distinctive white bands
Malachite Siproeta stelenes 1-12 1-12 wild petunia (ruellia) Valley's large, magnificent green butterfly
Mexican Bluewing Myscelia ethusa 1-12 1-12 vasey adelia cryptic underside and stunning bluish-purple upperside
Common Mestra Mestra amymone 1-12 1-12 noseburn most common in summer and fall
Red Rim Biblis hyperia 7-12 7-12 noseburn mostly black-brown  with a prominent red submarginal band 
Gray Cracker Hamadryas februa 7-11 unknown herbs in family Euphorbiaceae. rare stray that will readily come to bait
Ruddy Daggerwing Marpesia petreus 7-11 7-12 mulberry tree mostly orange, hindwing has long dagger-like tails
Hackberry Emperor Asterocampa celtis 5-12 5-12 sugar hackberry inner bar on leading edge is usually "hacked"
Empress Leilia Asterocampa leilia 1-12 1-12 sugar hackberry often seen on the ground along woodland trails
Pavon Emperor Doxocopa pavon 11-12 unknown spiny hackberry/granjeno will come to bait and rotting fruit
Silver Emperor Doxocopa laure 6-12 6-12 spiny hackberry/granjeno various sightings at National Butterfly Center
Gemmed Satyr Cyllopsis gemma 1-12 1-12 carpet grass, Bermuda grass look for shiny gem-like spots on hindwing margin
Soldier Danus eresimus 6-01 6-12 milkweed vine look for "water spot" mark on underside hindwing
Guava Skipper Phocides polybius 1-12 1-12 guava "Show me the Guava"...Butterfy everyone wants to see
White-striped Longtail Chiodes catillus 1-12 1-12 beans and pea in legume family diagonal white stripe along underside of body with long tails
Zilpa Longtail Chiodes zilpa 3-4,8-11 unknown probably legumes underside of hindwing is mottled and has a  white patch
Gold-spotted Aguna Aguna asander 8-11 8-11 bauhinia - pata de chivo often found perched under leaves
Emerald Aguna Aguna claxon 9-11 9-11 probably legumes striking green body with white median band
Long-tailed Skipper Urbanus pronus 1-12 1-12 legumes, including beans green on back of body 
Dorantes Longtail Urbanus dorantes 1-12 1-12 honey mesquite widespread, but uncommon with lavender sheen when fresh
Two-barred Flasher Astraptes fulgerator 1-12 1-12 coyotillo, vitex one of the flashiest most sought after butterflies
Coyote Cloudywing Achalarus toxeus 1-12 1-12 Texas ebony prefers shady ebony tree woodland areas
Glazed Pellicia Pellicia arina 6-12 6-12 unknown solitary…best time to see is in the Fall
Mazan's Scallopwing Staphytus mazans 1-12 1-12 pigweed  hindwing margins are scalloped
Texas Powdered Skipper Systasea pulverulenta 1-12 1-12 mallows prefers disturbed weedy areas
Brown-banded Skipper Timochares ruptifasciatus 3-11 3-11 Barbados cherry distinctive brown bands across  upperside
White-patched Skipper Chimara asychis 1-12 1-12 Barbados cherry brown-black with irregular white patches
False Duskywing Gesta gesta 4-11 4-11 wild indigo very rare in the Valley
Mournful Duskywing Erynnia tristis 1-12 1-12 oaks white fringes and distinctive diagnostic underside
Turk's-cap White-Skipper Helipetes macaira 1-12 1-12 turk's cap look for broken Y pattern on underside of hindwing
Julia's Skipper Nastra julia 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass  plain yellowish-brown underside
Fawn-spotted Skipper Cymaenes odilia 6-11 6-11 guineagrass likes shady areas close to the ground
Common Mellana Quasimellana eulogius 1-12 1-12 guineagrass dimorphic with faint postmedian band
Nysa Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes nysa 1-12 1-12 St. Augustine grass distinctively marked and most active in morning hours
Brazilian Skipper Calpodes ethlius 1-12 1-12 canna active in early morning and cool evenings, often around canna
Obscure Skipper Panoquina panoquinoides 1-12 1-12 saltgrass reliably found at Laguna Atascosa NWR
Ocola Skipper Panoquina ocola 1-12 1-12 guineagrass has elongated forewing and may nectar upside down
Purple-washed Skiper Panoquina sylvicola 8-12 8-12 guineagrass hindwing has a line of white spots
Violet-banded Skipper Nyctelius nyctelius 5-12 5-12 guineagrass leading edge has dark and distinctive  small spot

Uncommon, Local & Unusual Species in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas

that might be found if plants & habitat are right in the yard and a population to colonize the yard is nearby
Flight Caterpillar  Caterpillar
Common Name Scientific Name Period Season Food Plant Other Comments
Polydamus Swallowtail
Xami Hairstreak
Marius Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Blue Metalmark
Red-bordered Pixie
Julia Helicoian
Zebra Heliconian
Mexican Fritillary
Theona Checkerspot
Crimson Patch
Pale-banded Crescent
Mexican Bluewing
Guava Skipper
Two-barred Flasher
Brazilian Skipper


September 7, 2009 / Site Map