San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature Connection[BRCC San Diego Natural History Museum: Entomology Department]
Butterflies of San Diego County

Some of the species in this list are rare or are limited in their distribution. Those that are rare and are likely to be seen in limited capacity are marked with an asterisk (*). Species indigenous to San Diego County are bolded. Species with state or federal protection are bolded orange.

Swallowtails | Whites and Sulphurs | Gossamer-wing | Metalmarks | Brushfoots | The Skippers


The True Butterflies


Subfamily Papilioninae: True Swallowtails
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Desert Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes coloro)
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
Pergamus (Indra) Swallowtail (Papilio indra pergamus)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)
*Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multiculdata)


FAMILY PIERIDAE: Whites and Sulphurs

Subfamily Pierinae: Whites
Becker's White (Pontia (Pieris) beckerii)
Spring White (Pontia sisymbrii)
Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Subfamily Anthocharinae: Marbles & Orangetips
Desert Pearly Marble (Euchloe hyantis lotta)
Desert Orangetip (Anthocharis cethura)
Pacific Sara Orangetip (Anthocharis sara sara)
Stella Orangetip (Anthocharis stella)
*Grinnell's Marble (Anthocharis lanceolata australis)

Subfamily Coliadinae: Sulphurs
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Harford's Sulphur (Colias harfordii)
California Dogface (Zerene eurydice)
*Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebus sennae marcellina)
*Mexican Yellow (Eurema mexicanum)
Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)



Subfamily Lycaeninae: Coppers
Tailed Copper (Lycaena arota)
Great Copper (Lycaena xanthoides)
Gorgon Copper (Lycaena gorgon)
Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)
Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes)

Subfamily Theclinae: Hairstreaks
Golden Hairstreak (Habrodais grunus)
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus corcorani)
*Sarita Hairstreak (Chlorostrymon simaethis sarita)
California Hairstreak (Satyrium californica)
Sylvan Hairstreak (Satyrium sylvinus sylvinus)
Gold-hunter's Hairstreak (Satyrium auretorum spadix)
Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak (Satyrium tetra)
Hedgerow Hairstreak (Satyrium saepium)
Immaculate Bramble Hairstreak (Callophrys dumetorum affinis)
Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus)
*Western Pine Elfin (Callophrys eryphon)
Thicket Hairstreak (Callophrys spinetorum)
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
Nelson's Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus nelsoni)
Loki Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus loki)
*Thorne's Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus thornei)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus pudica)
Mallow Scrub Hairstreak (Strymon istapa)
Leda Ministreak (Ministrymon leda)

Subfamily Polyommatinae: Blues
Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exila)
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
Edward's Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus gyas)
Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola alce)
Western Tailed-Blue (Everes amyntula)
Echo Blue (Celistrina ladon [argiolus] echo)
Sonoran Blue (Philotes sonorensis)
Bernardino Blue (Euphilotes bernardino)
Dammer's Blue (Euphilotes enoptes dammersi)
Small Blue (Philotiella [Philotes] speciosa)
Arrowhead Blue (Glaucopsyche piasus)
Southern Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus australis)
Melissa Blue (Lycaeides melissa paradoxa)
*Hilda Greenish Blue (Plebejus saepiolus hilda)
Evius Blue (Icaricia icaroides evius)
Acmon Blue (Icaricia acmon acmon)
Lupine Blue (Icaricia lupini monticola)



Subfamily Riodinidae: Metalmarks
Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis californica)
Wright's Metalmark (Calephelis wrighti)
Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo)
        Behr's Metalmark (A. mormo virgulti)
        Desert Metalmark (A. mormo deserti)
        Peninsular Metalmark (A. mormo penisularis)
        Sonoran Metalmark (A. mormo mejicanus)
*Palmer's Metalmark (Apodemia palmeri)



Subfamily Libytheinae: Snouts
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)


Subfamily Heliconiinae: Heliconians
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae incarnata)
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charitonius tuckeri)

Subfamily Argynninae: Argynnis
*Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Semiramis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis semiramis)
Comstock's Fritillary (Speyeria callippe comstocki)

Subfamily Melitaeinae: Crescents and Checkerspots
Wright's Checkerspot (Thessalia leanira wrighti)
California Patch (Chlosyne californica)
*Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia crocale)
Gabb's Checkerspot (Chlosyne gabbii)
Imperial Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas imperialis)
*Texan Crescent (Anthanassa texana)
Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
*Field Crescent (Phycoides pulchellus (campestris))
Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona)
Chalcedon Checkerspot (E. chalcedona chalcedona)
Henne's Checkerspot (E. chalcedona hennei)
*Quino Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha quino)

Subfamily Nymphalinae: True Brushfoots
Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus)
Zephyr Hoary Comma (Polygonia zephyrus)
California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
*Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti subpallida)
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria)
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia grisea)

Subfamily Limenitidinae: Admirals and Relatives
Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)
California Sister (Adelpha bredowii californica)

Subfamily Satyrinae: Satyrs
Common California Ringlet (Coenonympha californica californica)
Sylvan Great Basin Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis sthenele silvestris)

Subfamily Danainae: Milkweed Butterflies
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Queen (Danaus gilippus thersippus)

The Skippers



Subfamily Pyrginae: Spread-wing Skippers
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus californicus)
Hammock Skipper (Polygonus leo arizonensis)
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)
Plain Longtail (Urbanus simplicius)
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
*Golden-headed Scallopwing (Staphylus ceos)
*Texas Powdered-Skipper (Systasea pulverulenta)
*Arizona Powdered Skipper (Systasea zampa)
Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo lacustra)
Propertius Duskywing (Erynnis propertius)
Mournful Duskywing (Erynnis tristis)
Pacuvius Duskywing (Erynnis pacuvius)
Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis)
Afranius Duskywing (Erynnis afranius)
*Laguna Mt. Skipper (P. ruralis lagunae)
Small Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus scriptura)
White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)
*Erichson's White-Skipper (Heliopetes domicella)
Northern White-Skipper (Heliopetes ericetorum)
*Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)
Mohave Sootywing (Hesperopsis libya)

Subfamily Herperiinae: Grass Skippers
Orange Skipperling (Copaeodes aurantiacia)
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus muertovalle)
Alkali Skipper (Pseudocopaeodes eunus)
Juba Skipper (Hesperia juba)
Leussler's Skipper (Hesperia comma leussleri)
Columbian Skipper (Hesperia columbia)
Sandhill Skipper (Polites sabuleti sabuleti)
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
Rural Skipper (Ochlodes agricola)
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)
Umber Skipper (Poanes melane)
Harbison Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris harbisoni)
Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)
*Wandering Skipper (Panoquina errans)

Subfamily Megathyminae: Giant Skippers
California Giant-Skipper (Agathymus stephensi)
Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae)
        Martin's Giant Skipper (M. yuccae martini)
        Harbison Giant Skipper (M. yuccae harbisoni)


The following additional species have occurred only accidentally or are not officially documented in the San Diego County.
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe)
Boisduval's Yellow (Eurema boisduvaliana)
Little Yellow (Eurema lisa)
Mimosa Yellow (Eurema nise)
Behr's Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii)
Ares Metalmark (Emesis ares)
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
Mexican Cloudywing (Thorybes mexicana)
Lindsey's Skipper (Hesperia lindseyi)
Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius)
Violet-banded Skipper (Nyctelius nyctelius)

Nature Festivals of San Diego County prepared this checklist with professional review by David Faulkner of the San Diego Natural History Museum and Dr. John Brown of the Smithsonian Institute. It lists all species and subspecies, which are known to have bred in the County, or are regular strays. The species' common names are from the North American Butterfly Association's Checklist of North American Butterflies, 2nd Edition. The common name of the subspecies are from Emmel and Emmel's book, Butterflies of Southern California and James A. Scott's book, The Butterflies of North America and Emmel's book, Systematics of Western North American Butterflies.

Revised 9/02
Additions and amendments to this checklist are welcomed.
Contact Michael W. Klein at
© 2002 Nature Festivals of San Diego County with permission for
San Diego Natural History Museum.