Common North American Butterflies

Common North American Butterflies

North America has a wide variety of butterfly species.  There are several hundred known species of butterfly that live in North America.  We’re going to take a look at a few of the most common North American butterflies.

The monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known butterfly species.  It’s common all around the United States and the southern part of Canada.  Monarch caterpillars eat exclusively milkweed plants.

Because milkweed contains toxins, monarch larva and butterflies are not eaten by predators.  They live mostly in open, sunny places.  They especially love meadows that are full of weeds.  They live on various types of milkweed, including common milkweed, scarlet milkweed, and dogbane.

Adult monarch butterflies feed off the nectar of beggarticks, coneflowers, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, New England aster, and several types of thistle. The Eastern tiger swallowtail is certainly one of the most easily recognizable butterflies in the U.S.

It is often found in forests and streams, but may also be found around flowering bushes in city gardens.  It loves flowers with a lot of nectar.  Males are yellow with black decoration, and females are either yellow or black.

They generally breed on broadleaf trees like cottonwood, cherry, birch, poplar, and willow.  Their favorite nectar flowers are typically phlox and milkweed. The painted lady butterfly typically lays its eggs on thistle or asters.