The Blue Flying Wonders: Miami's Exotic Native Butterflies
Updated: Jul 22
"The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful, and so are you," memorably sang by John Lennon. It's as if he wrote these lyrics thinking of Miami's iconic blue sky. Miami Living's favorite flying wonders happen to be beautiful and blue too, and magically enhance Miami's sunny horizons, when you are fortunate enough to be in their presence.
1 - Red-spotted Purple
Red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, is a North American brush-footed butterfly with a wingspan of up to 3.5 inches that can be spotted in Miami and in many regions of North America. The wings are black and iridescent blue with small orange spots. On the underside of the wings, they tend to have more brown-black, and blue with more striking orange spots.
2 - Pipevine Swallowtail
The swallowtail butterfly is found right here in Florida including other regions of North America and Central America. This butterfly is black with iridescent-blue hind-wings. They are found in many different habitats, but are most commonly found in tropical zones. The male has fore-wing velvety black; hind-wing with single tail, iridescent blue-green scaling and single submarginal row of pale spots. Female duller black is found with more prominent pale spot band.
3 - Spicebush Swallowtail
The Spicebush swallowtail or green-clouded butterfly, is a common black swallowtail butterfly found Miami and across North America. It has two subspecies, Papilio troilus and Papilio troilus ilioneus, the latter found mainly in the Florida peninsula. You can notice black with pale blue-green marginal spots. Hind-wing with single tail and a large orange spot along costal margin. Hind-wing with prominent greenish flush (males) or reduced diffuse blue scaling (females). Ventral hind-wing with two rows of orange spots enclosing diffuse blue scaling. Median orange band incomplete and invaded by blue scaling. Abdomen with longitudinal rows of small light spots.
4 - Long-tailed Skipper
The long-tailed skipper is a spread-winged skipper butterfly found throughout tropical and subtropical South America, south to Argentina and north into the southern part of the United States of America. It cannot live in areas with prolonged frost so the species are well adapted to Miami's climate.
They have wings brown, dorsal fore-wing with band of large glassy spots, hind-wing with single long, prominent tail. Body and wing bases with blue-green iridescence. Ventral hind-wing with continuous dark brown outer band.
5 - Great Purple Hairstreak
The great purple hairstreak (Atlides halesus), also called the great blue hairstreak, is a common gossamer-winged butterfly species in parts of the United States. Male iridescent has blue with broad black borders and large black fore-wing stigma; female black with dusty blue scaling limited to wing bases. Ventral hind-wing dull black with two long tails and red basal spots. Abdomen red.
6 - Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus, the Ceraunus blue, is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. The species was first described by Johan Christian Fabricius in 1793. It is found in the southwestern United States, southern Texas, Florida and the Florida Keys south through the West Indies, Mexico and Central America to South America.
The male violet blue can be seen with white fringes and small black spot along outer hind-wing margin. Female brown with blue scaling limited to wing bases and small black spot along outer hind-wing margin. Ventral hind-wing gray with darker bands, two black spots along leading margin, a narrow (often faint) white post-median band, and a single orange-rimmed black eye-spot along outer margin.
7 - Atala
Atala is a beautiful and one of its kind butterfly, it has got the wings that are black; Male fore-wing with iridescent green scaling, black veins and wide black borders. female fore-wing black with iridescent blue scaling around cell. Hind-wing ventral with small iridescent blue spots on outer half and large red patch midway along training margin near abdomen; abdomen red.
8 - Cassius Blue
Leptotes cassius, the Cassius blue or tropical striped blue, is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It is found in North America in Florida including the Keys, Texas south through the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America to South America.
You will see male violet-blue with white fringes. Female brown with blue scaling limited to wing bases; hind-wing of both sexes with dark spots along margin. Wings somewhat translucent. Ventral hind-wing white with darker gray bands and two orange-rimmed black eye spots along outer margin.
9 - American (Painted) Lady
The American painted lady or American lady is a butterfly found throughout North America. The larvae feed on various Asteraceae, such as the cudweeds, the pussytoes, and the everlastings, which all belong to tribe Gnaphalieae.
You get to see a lot of orange with black markings; black fore-wing extended and squared-off with small white spots; hind-wing with post-median row of small black eye-spots; ventral hind-wing with white cobweb pattern and two prominent eye-spots.
10 - White M Hairstreak
Parrhasius m-album, the white M hairstreak, is a species of butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. It is found in the United States from Connecticut west to southeast Iowa and Missouri south to east Texas the Gulf Coast and peninsular Florida. On rare occasions some stray to Michigan and Wisconsin. You can glare at the male iridescent blue with broad black borders; fore-wing with gray stigma. Female black with blue scaling limited to wing bases. Ventral hind-wing gray-brown with two short tails, a red post-median spot, a small white spot along leading margin, and a jagged white post-median line forming the letter “M”.