Prince William County Wildlife -
Butterflies
Tips from the Prince William Conservation Alliance
Butterflies can be found everywhere, from your own backyard to stream banks and fields. Warm sunny days between mid-April and mid-October are especially good times to hunt for butterflies. The flight periods of some species last only a few weeks, so look often. When looking for good spots, consider what most butterflies like: sunshine and flowers. The best possibilities are open areas and in dappled light along forest edges, especially where flowers are in bloom. The variety of butterflies increases with the size and diversity of the habitat.
 
 

Name

Description
Zebra
Swallowtail

Color(s): White with black stripes
Key Features: Very long tails; zebra striped
Adult Habitat: Moist woods along rivers, woods swamps, pine flatwoods

Eastern Tiger
Swallowtail
Color(s): Yellow, black stripes; some females are black
Key Features: Tiger-striped
Adult Habitat: Deciduous broadleaf forests, edges, and river valleys
WARNING! Some females look similar to Pipevine, but
without iridescent blue on underside of hindwing.
Black
Swallowtail

Color(s): Black, yellow
Key Features: Very dark black; 2 rows of orange spots
Adult Habitat: Open areas—fields, gardens, waste areas, marshes, meadows

WARNING! Spicebush, Pipevine, and dark female E. Tiger Swallowtails look similar in flight. Note two rows of orange spots on hindwing and habitat.
  Spicebush
Swallowtail

Color(s): Black, blue
Key Features: Spoon-shaped tails
Adult Habitat: Deciduous forests, second growth woods, edges, wooded swamps, pine barrens

WARNING! Black, Pipevine, and dark female E. Tiger Swallowtails look similar in flight. Note two rows of orange spots on hindwing and habitat.
Red-Banded
Hairstreak

Color(s): Gray-brown; red/orange stripe
Key Features: Hair-like tails on wings; red stripe
Adult Habitat: Fields, coastal hammocks, edges



 
Monarch

Color(s): Orange, black
Key Features: Bright orange, black veins
Adult Habitat: Meadows, weedy fields, moist areas

WARNING! Similar to Viceroy, but larger and does not have a black band crossing hindwings. Glides in a “V” shape, while Viceroy glides with flat wings.
 

Viceroy 

Color(s): Orange, black
Key Features: Bright orange, black veins, and black band cutting across hindwings.
Adult Habitat: Open areas near water or marshes with willow

WARNING! Mimic of Monarch. Viceroy is smaller, has black band across hindwings, and glides with flat wings. Monarch glides in a “V” shape.