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Learn more about the butterflies that live at the Prairie Nature Center. Explore the beautiful pictures then click on the common name once find out more information each of these 15 different butterflies. Click on the common name a second time to close the information window.

Summer Azure

celastrina neglecta
Wings: 2.8-3.3 cm
Habitat: trails, woods, woodland edges and gardens
Flight: late May, June, late July, and September

This small blue butterfly is similar to the slightly smaller spring azure and has distinctive brilliant blue dorsal wing surfaces. It is typically found near mud puddles or animal scat. The larvae feed on dogwoods, wild cherry and wingstem.


cercyonis pegala
Wings: 4.8-7.6 cm
Habitat: fields, prairies, woodland edges, meadows 
Flight: May to July

This common butterfly has eye spots on the forewings. Wood-nymphs in this area typically lack the yellow color that is found  in other regions. It bounces in flight similar to the wood-satyr but rarely flies into wooded areas. The larval hosts of the wood-nymph are various grasses.

Clouded Sulphur

colias philodice
Wings: 4.9-6.8 cm
Habitat: fields, gardens, meadow, woodland edges 
Flight: April to October

Sulphurs are related to whites such as the cabbage butterfly. They are generally yellow and larvae feed on legumes. Males have a narrow, dark dorsal outer wing margin, whereas females have a wider margin broken up by spots. They rarely hold their wings open when nectaring or basking.

Monarch butterfly

danaus plexippus
Wings: 8.6-12.4 cm
Habitat: gardens, fields, forests, roadsides
Flight: May to October

The monarch is the longest lived butterfly in Ohio. The autumn adults can love for more than 10 months and migrate great distances. Monarch larvae feed on milkweeds. Toxins found in milkweed make the adults unpalatable to predators. The brilliant orange color serves as a warning to predators to avoid them.

Wild Indigo Duskywing
Wild Indigo Duskywing

erynnis baptisiae
Wings: 3.5-4.1 cm
Habitat: open areas
Flight: April to May and September to October

The common name comes from the native host plant for the larvae, an uncommon prairie plant Baptisia lactea which can be found in the Prairie Nature Center. It also thrives on the alien crown vetch which is frequently planted  along roadsides for erosion control. Adults typically feed on blackberry, clover, dogbane, and sunflowers.

Eastern Tailed Blue
Eastern Tailed Blue

everes comyntas
Wings: 2.0-2.9 cm
Habitat: all but deep woods 
Flight: April to October

Being established in all over Ohio, the eastern tailed blue is one of the state's most common members of the family. Lycaenidae, which includes harvesters, coppers, hairstreaks, and blues. Despite having a projection from the hindwing, this is not a hairstreak. The larvae of the eastern tailed blue feed on legumes such as bush cover or partridge pea.

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

hyalophora cecropia
Wings: 11-15 cm
Habitat: open areas with trees 
Flight: early to mid-spring

The cecropia is one of the largest moths in North America. Larvae typically feed on trees and shrubs including maple, cherry, and birch. Adults do not feed. Their sole purpose is to make and lay eggs. Attracted by chemical pheromones released by the females, males can fly for miles in order to find a mate.


junonia coenia
Wings: 4.1-5.7 cm
Habitat: fields, roadsides, and gardens 
Flight: July-October

The buckeye is not a resident
of Ohio but is a seasonal immigrant. It typically appears during the late summer in the southern part of the state and then spreads northward. The larvae of the buckeye feed on plantain and clovers.


limenitis archippus
Wings: 5.9-8.4 cm
Habitat: wetlands, openings in wet woods 
Flight: June, July, and August

The viceroy is a mimic, having evolved a pattern nearly identical to the monarch. This allows it to have some protection from predators that have learned to avoid monarchs. It is distinguished by the narrow black bar across the middle of the hindwing. It is often found near willow and poplar, which host the larvae. 

Bronze Copper
Bronze Copper

lycaena hyllus
Wings: 3.8-4.8 cm
Habitat: meadows, mudflats, marshes
Flight: May, June and July to September

The males have bronze colored dorsal forewings and the females have orange dorsal forewings with black spots. The bronze copper is not as common as it once was. The larvae of the bronze copper feed on water dock and curled dock.

Black Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail

papilio polyxenes
Wings: 8.0-11.4 cm
Habitat: fields, meadows, woodland edges, gardens
Flight: May, June, July, and August

Found all over the state except in heavily forested areas. Summer brooding females may have different colors than the spring brood; often causing misidentification. The larvae feed on members of the parsley family such as wild parsnip and queen anne's lace.

Pearl Crescent
Pearl Crescent

phyciodes tharos
Wings: 3.2-4.1 cm
Habitat: fields, woodland edges, gardens, roadside 
Flight: May, June, and late July to October

The pearl crescent is almost
as common as the cabbage white to it's almost impossible not to see it when you are outdoors. The females are larger than the males and
are darker in color. The
larvae feed on asters.

Cabbage White
Cabbage White

pieris rapae
Wings: 4.5-5.7 cm
Habitat: everywhere but deep woods 
Flight: April to October

The cabbage white is an alien specie that was introduced in Quebec in 1860. It has since spread across North America. Currently, out most common butterfly, it is one of the few in our area that will fly on overcast days. The larvae feed on garden cabbage and other members of the plant family Brassicaceae.

Question Mark
Question Mark

polygonia interrogationis
Wings: 5.7-7.6 cm
Habitat: woods, wooded swamps, stream banks 
Flight:  June, July, August, and September

The name of this specie comes from the silver markings on the center of the its ventral hindwing which looks like a question mark. They can live to be eight months old. There are different colorations between the summer and autumn broods. The larvae feed on nettles, elms, and hackberry.

American Painted Lady
American Painted Lady

vanessa virginiensis
Wings: 5.4-6.7 cm
Habitat: open meadows, fields, gardens 
Flight: April, May, June, July, August, and September

The painted lady is a resident of Oho and has been noted in ever county. It is easily identifiable by the lark circular eye-like markings on its ventral hindwings. Mature butterflies nectar on dogbane and milkweeds; the larvae feed on sweet everlasting, pussy-toes, and burdock.