Butterflies Of Ohio

Although people sometimes associate butterflies with arid environments, Ohio is home to a variety of fascinating insects. When traveling around Ohio, you’re sure to observe a variety of kinds because the state is home to more than 140 different butterfly species. You could even see some of these butterflies in your own garden because of their important role in pollination!


We’ll go through 11 of Ohio’s most prevalent butterflies in this article. Keep a look out for the following species since they are most likely to be found in and near your gardens.

Red Admiral

In Ohio, the Red Admiral is the butterfly that is most common.

Seek out this lovely butterfly in wet environments close to the edges of woods. The distinctive favorite meal of Red Admiral Butterflies is fermented fruit. If you want to draw them in, consider setting out sliced fruit that is overripe in a sunny area of your yard.

Butterflies that migrate include Red Admirals. In the winter, they migrate south toward warmer regions before returning north in the late spring when there is more food available.

You’re in luck if you’re seeking for a butterfly in Ohio that’s simple to observe. Red Admirals regularly land on people and are quite peaceful and approachable.


The viceroys are most frequently observed in willow thickets, damp meadows, and on the periphery of marshy areas. In these areas, these butterflies frequently deposit their eggs on the ends of leaves.

The viceroy has a very similar appearance to the monarch. You must examine the hindwing to search for a black line and white spots inside the banding in order to distinguish.

Despite being on the decline in many states, viceroys are still widespread in Ohio and have a robust population.


The most recognizable butterfly in Ohio is undoubtedly the monarch!

They are well-known for migrating and their color pattern. Since milkweed is the sole food source their caterpillars can consume, look for monarchs anywhere there is milkweed.

The majority of people are aware of the monarch butterfly’s dwindling population. You might not be aware, though, that this points to a general fall in the number of many other pollinating species, including bees. These other plants will benefit if local milkweed species are planted to draw monarch butterflies.

Painted lady butterfly

There are many painted lady butterflies in the globe. Except for Australia and Antarctica, all the continents are home to the yellow, black, and white wings that are so beloved by butterfly aficionados. Check one of these insects’ preferred plants if you’re expecting to spot one:

The outside margins of the wing of this butterfly are marked with both white and black dots, making them simpler to recognize.

American Lady

In Ohio, keep an eye out for American Lady butterflies close to open areas with green, blooming plants.

Eyespots are seen on the underside of the wings of American Lady butterflies. Predators are deterred by the butterfly’s frightening appearance because to these circular patterns.

Moths, various insects, and even certain fish species exhibit this evolutionary defensive mechanism, therefore eyespots are not just seen on butterflies.

Furthermore, American Lady butterflies are jittery and frequently fly away from any disturbance.

Spice bush swallowtail

The Green-Clouded Butterfly is another common name for the Spice Bush Swallowtail. They frequently settle on plants like milkweed, purple coneflower, and butterfly weed after flying low to the ground.

Search for the blue and yellow marks on the bottom edge of the otherwise black wing to best recognize them.

Hackberry Emperor

In Ohio, hackberry Emperor butterflies are frequent.

Look for them in parks, suburban yards, and wet woodland places. Hackberry Emperors don’t take any flower nectar, thus flowers are one area you WON’T find them!

Although they are not drawn to flowers, they are naturally interested and will even land on nearby humans. To consume salt from our skin is one cause for this practice. It may be difficult to believe, but dirt, rocks, and even concrete are all great sites for Hackberry Emperors to get the minerals they require to thrive.

Additionally, they consume decaying fruit, manure, carrion, sap, and water from puddles. They may be the least finicky eaters I’ve ever come across!

Eastern black swallowtail

Given that it frequently consumes parsley and carrot gardens, the eastern black swallowtail is far from being the most adored butterfly. Additionally, milkweed and butterfly weed are home to this yellow and black butterfly.

Find the pale-yellow wings with black tips if you’re hunting for an eastern black swallowtail. The pale yellow wing is also covered in tiny black veins.

Red-Spotted Purple

The Red-Spotted Purple is one of Ohio’s most exquisite butterflies.

Surprisingly, their ability to stand out because to their shimmering, dark-purple wings and vivid red-orange patches serves as their primary defense against predators. They changed their appearance to resemble the deadly Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.

It’s surprising how diverse Red-Spotted Purple butterflies may appear from one another within the same species. This identical butterfly is referred to as the White Admiral in the northern portion of its habitat, where there are no Pipevine Swallowtail!

Red-Spotted Purple butterflies consume carrion, sap, and decaying fruit in instead of nectar. Try placing a chopped orange or banana in a suet cage outside to draw them in. The best chance of seeing them is from April to October, when they are most active.

The eastern tiger swallowtail

The eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly, which was originally discovered in North America in 1587, has lovely wings. The margins of the orange wings are covered in a broad black band, while the wings themselves are veined with black. The white dots scattered across the black bands create an exquisitely patterned wing.

This species frequently inhabits milkweed, bee balm, and butterfly weed.

White Admiral

The fascinating thing about White Admirals is that, while having a completely different appearance from Red-Spotted Purple butterflies, they belong to the same species!

In Ohio, Red-Spotted Purple butterflies altered their color to resemble a different species. The White Admiral butterfly still exists with its natural colors as the imitation species isn’t as common.

Apart from their appearance, these two subspecies are remarkably similar. For instance, the willow, aspen, and birch trees serve as hosts for their caterpillars.

Try placing a chopped orange or banana in a suet cage in your yard to draw attention from White Admirals. White Admiral butterflies consume carrion, sap, and decaying fruit in instead of nectar.

Their mating season, which lasts from April to October, is when they are most active.

Anglewings, Commas, and Crescents
These butterflies are renowned for their beautiful patterns and get their name from the little markings on the undersides of their wings.

The clouded sulphur butterfly

In Ohio, the clouded sulphur butterfly is rather widespread and may be found in a range of environments. These brilliant yellow insects can be seen in wide fields, meadows, alfalfa and clover fields, and sometimes even on your own lawn.

Although this butterfly is entirely yellow, the outer edges of its wings contain some definite deeper mustard yellow markings.

Mourning Cloak

Near deciduous woodlands is where you’ll most frequently see Mourning Cloak butterflies. However, a variety of constructed locations, including suburban yards, parks, and golf courses, make up their habitat.

In Ohio, it could be difficult to locate this butterfly.

Even for a dedicated butterfly fan, it might be challenging to identify this species despite its extensive distribution due to its fondness for chilly weather and solitary lifestyle! Additionally, when its wings are folded, it blends in so well that you might not see one that is directly in front of you.

In the spring, mourning cloak butterflies are frequently the first to emerge from dormancy. Some individuals even continue to be active throughout the winter months on mild days when snow is still on the ground.

They are also among the butterflies with the longest lifespans, with some surviving up to 10 months!

Orange sulphur butterflies

Ohio is home to a large number of orange sulphur butterflies, which can be hard to distinguish from their clouded sulphur counterparts.

The orange sulphur is usually more orange-hued than just yellow, which is the biggest giveaway. This means that if you spot an orange glow on the wing, it’s probably an orange sulphur. In Ohio, you may see these butterflies from March through December.

Pearl Crescent

The wingspan of Pearl Crescent butterflies ranges from 1.25 to 1.75 inches.

They have a striking orange hue with black lines, dots, and borders. The black marks form a design that resembles lace.

Caterpillars have cream stripes and spines all over their dark brown bodies.

In Ohio, search for Pearl Crescent butterflies by damp ground.

Although they favor open, sunny environments, they may thrive in a variety of settings, including gardens, fields, meadows, and the margins of forests.

The aster plant is the favored host of the Pearl Crescent caterpillar. This lovely butterfly will be drawn to any flowering plants in your yard, but for optimum results, look for one that is local to the area.

The nectar of the asters will also be consumed by the caterpillars as they develop into butterflies.

Common Buckeye

Due to its name’s resemblance to The Ohio State University’s mascot, the buckeye, this species is a popular in the state. This common butterfly, whose wings are predominantly brown with two eyespots and two orange bands, is most frequently spotted in bright, open settings.

In the United States, this species does winter, although not as far north as Ohio. Therefore, the summer and fall seasons are the greatest for seeing the common buckeye.

In Ohio, open areas like pastures, abandoned fields, and highway sides are preferred by common Buckeyes. They fly low to the ground and frequently perch long enough for you to take pictures, despite their difficulty being approached and fear of predators.

The Common Buckeye doesn’t have a particular breeding season in the southern United States. They continue to proliferate because they can survive the southern environment all year.

Common Buckeyes from northern areas go south over the winter before coming back to breed in the spring. Each season, these northern people may give birth to two to four generations!

Question Mark

Search for a question Identify butterflies in wet forests and forest margins. Elm trees and nettle are the preferred host plants for their caterpillars, thus regions with elm woods or thickets of nettle, or both, are where you’re most likely to observe this species.

The upper side of the wings of question marks are brightly colored, but the underside is mottled brown. The butterflies’ coloring helps to conceal them, making them appear like a dead leaf when they are perched on branches.

The small, light-colored marking on the underside of the wing that gives them their name. You’ll need to use your imagination, but this marking resembles a hastily made question mark.

The American copper

One of the most widespread and well-liked butterflies in the country is the American copper. This species is widespread and does well in a range of settings. It may be found in practically every state. In Ohio, fields, meadows, pastures, and even the sides of roadways are where you’ll most often observe American coppers.

This butterfly has a brown hindwing and a brilliant orange forewing. Orange highlights may be seen around the lower border of the hindwing.

Eastern Comma

In parks, suburban yards, and deciduous woodlands, Eastern Comma butterflies can be seen.

The favored hosts for their caterpillars are nettle and elm trees. Adults prefer to eat decaying food, carrion, and animal feces instead of being drawn to flowers. So you probably wouldn’t want to try to attract this animal to your yard!

It’s interesting to note that Eastern Commas do not hibernate as caterpillars, but as adults. They take refuge in log piles, tree hollows, and even some man-made structures throughout the winter. Early spring is their mating season, and early summer is when the new generation of butterflies emerges.

The falcate orangetip

Particular locations of Ohio see high falcate orangetip populations in the spring. Since this species uses early mustard plants as hosts for egg-laying and nectar production, you’re most likely to see it there. Typically, this butterfly’s habitat preference is for forested areas.

Look for their vivid orange wingtips when searching for this species. The top of the wings are mostly white, while the bottom of the wings are white with a black marbled pattern.

The butterfly must have its wings open in order to notice the orange wing tip, which is only visible on the top of the butterfly. This butterfly’s body is typically somewhat hairy, adding to its distinctive look.

Variegated Fritillary

In Ohio, look for these butterflies in fields, meadows, and open spaces.

To draw them to your garden, plant flowers like butterfly weed, mint, and sunflowers. Their caterpillars live on ornamental plants including violets, pansies, and passionflower.

One of the most exquisite butterfly chrysalises in Ohio is that of the Variegated Fritillary. The caterpillar develops into the adult butterfly inside of its protective shell. It looks like a pricey pendant with its pearly white tint and glittering gold spikes!


Ohio is an excellent state to see some of these more common species if you enjoy butterflies. As Ohio may become rather chilly during the winter, keep in mind that the best times to encounter these insects are in the summer and fall.

To see all eleven of these butterflies, make careful to visit a broad range of environments given their diverse habitats.