www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/

Butterflies of South Carolina

There are over 700 species of butterflies in North America; however, this number narrows when considering each state. South Carolina is home to approximately 165 species of butterflies, though some species are more commonly seen than others.

Knowledge of habitat, host plants (for egg laying and caterpillar food), and nectar preferences helps in attracting butterflies to the garden.

Knowledge of habitat, host plants (for egg laying and caterpillar food), and nectar preferences helps in attracting butterflies to the garden.
Michael T. Waldrop, ©2018

Common names found in bold type are the 21 Most Common Butterflies Found Across South Carolina. These 21 species are listed by abundance in HGIC 1701, Butterflies in the Garden.

Superfamily Papilionoidea (True Butterflies)

GOSSAMER-WING BUTTERFLIES: Lycaenidae Family
Coppers: Lycaeninae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
American Copper
Lycaena phlaeas
Disturbed areas: pastures, road edges, old fields Buckwheat, Sheep Sorrel, Curly Dock Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae), Common Buttercup, White Clover, Butterflyweed, Yarrow
Larva
Harvesters: Miletinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Harvester
Feniseca tarquinius
Deciduous or mixed woodlands along streams Woolly Aphids, Scales, and Treehoppers found feeding on Alder, Witch Hazel, Ash, Beech, Hawthorn Honeydew
Pupa
Blues: Polyommatinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Eastern Pygmy-Blue
Brephidium isophthalma
Coastal marshes, Tidal flats Glassworts (Salicornia spp.) Palmetto Palm, Glassworts
Pupa
Holly Azure
Celastrina idella
Deciduous woods near streams, Acidic bogs Hollies (Ilex spp.) Various nectar plants
Pupa
Spring Azure
Celastrina ladon
Edges of deciduous woods, Old fields, Wooded freshwater marsh and swamp Dogwood, New Jersey Tea Dogbane (poisonous), Privet, New Jersey Tea, Blackberry, Common Milkweed
Pupa
Summer Azure
Celastrina neglecta
Stream valleys, Right-of-ways, Gardens Dogwood, New Jersey Tea Various nectar plants
Pupa
Appalachian Azure (#)
Celestrina neglectamajor
Deciduous woods near streams Black Cohosh Various nectar plants
Pupa
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Cupido comyntas
Open sunny locations, Weedy areas, Disturbed habitats Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Shepherd’s Needle, Wild Strawberry, Winter Cress, Cinquefoil, Asters
Larva
Silvery Blue
Glaucopsyche lygdamus
Open woods, Coastal Dunes, Meadows, Road edges, Rocky moist woods, Brushy fields Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Pupa
Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus
Open woodland, Dunes, Pasture, Road edges Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Various nectar plants
Pupa
Cassius Blue
Leptotes cassius
Thorn scrub, Forest edges, Weedy fields Leadwort, Rattlebox, Downy Milkpea, Lima Bean Shepherd’s Needle
Pupa
Hairstreaks and Elfins: Theclinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Great Purple (Blue) Hairstreak
Atlides halesus
Oak woods, Planted walnut fields, Mixed woods with mistletoe Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) Goldenrod, Hercules Club, Shepherd’s Needle, Sweet Pepperbush, Wild Plum
Pupa
Brown Elfin
Callophrys augustinus
Mixed conifer woods, Barrens, Bogs, Sandy coasts Plants in the Heath Family (Ericaceae)- Eastern US Blueberry, Spicebush, Willow, Winter Cress, Wild Plum
Pupa
Juniper Hairstreak
Callophrys grynea
Old fields, Bluffs, Barrens, Juniper woodlands, Cedar breaks Red Cedar, Juniper Winter Cress, Dogbane (poisonous), Common Milkweed, Wild Carrot, Shepherd’s Needle, Butterflyweed
Pupa
Henry’s Elfin
Callophrys henrici
Edges or opening in barrens and pine or pine-oak woodlands Dahoon Holly, American Holly, Yaupon Holly, Redbud, Blueberry, Huckleberry, Viburnum Redbud, Willow, Wild Plum, Hawthorn, Swamp Privet
Pupa
Hessel’s Hairstreak
Callophrys hesseli
Coastal plains swamps and stream banks with associated barrens Atlantic White-cedar Swamp Milkweed, Shadbush, Sand Myrtles, Sweet Pepperbush, Highbush Blueberry, Buttonbush, Dogbane
Pupa
Frosted Elfin
Callophrys irus
Open woods, Forest edges, Fields, Scrub Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Pupa
Eastern Pine Elfin
Callophrys niphon
Small to medium pine forest opening or edges, Old fields Scrub Pine (Pinus virginiana), White Pine (Pinus strobus) Blueberry, Cinquefoil, Chickweed, Common Milkweed
Pupa
Red-banded Hairstreak
Calycopis cecrops
Coastal hammocks, Overgrown fields, Forest edges Wax Myrtle (fallen leaves), Winged Sumac, Oaks Yarrow, Wild Cherry, Tickseed Sunflower, Sumac, Sweet Pepperbush, New Jersey Tea, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
Larva
White M Hairstreak
Parrhasius m-album
Woods with broadleaf trees Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) and various other oaks Viburnum, Sumac, Sourwood, Wild Plum, Poinsettia, Sweet Pepperbush, Common Milkweed, Lantana, Dogwood, Goldenrod
Pupa
Banded Hairstreak
Satyrium calanus
Open forest and adjacent edges, Fields Oaks (Quercus spp.), Walnuts (Juglans spp.), Hickories (Carya spp.) Dogbane (poisonous), Common milkweed, Chinquapin, Dogwood, New Jersey Tea, Yarrow
Egg
Edward’s Hairstreak
Satyrium edwardsii
Oak thickets in rocky open habitats, sand, shale barrens, or limestone ridges Black Oak (Quercus velutina) Dogbane (poisonous), Goldenrod, Milkweed, New Jersey Tea
Egg
Oak Hairstreak
Satyrium favonius
Oak woodlands and hammocks Oaks (Quercus spp.) Various nectar plants
Egg
King’s Hairstreak
Satyrium kingi
Hardwood hammocks, Wooded streams, Swamp edges Horse Sugar (Symplocos tinctoria) Allegheny Chinquapin, Sourwood
Egg
Striped Hairstreak
Satyrium liparops
Deciduous forest openings and edges, Shaded swamps, Acidic barrens, Prairies streamsides and copses Plants in the Rose Family (Rosaceae) and Heath Family (Ericaceae), Hornbeam, Oaks, Willow Chinquapin, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Goldenrod, New Jersey Tea, Viburnum
Egg
Coral Hairstreak
Satyrium titus
Shrubby areas, Brushlands, Woodland openings, Barrens, Neglected pastures Plants in the Rose Family (Rosaceae): Wild Cherry, Wild Plum, Chokeberry Butterflyweed, New Jersey Tea, Dogbane (poisonous)
Egg
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Open non-forested sites, Weedy disturbed areas Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) and Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Dogbane (poisonous), Milkweed, Mints, Winter Cress, Goldenrod, Tick Trefoil
Pupa
BRUSHFOOT BUTTERFLIES: Nymphalidae Family
Emperors: Apaturine Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Hackberry Emperor
Astercampa celtis
Wooded streams, Forest glades, River edges, Wooded roadsides Hackberry (Celtis spp.) and Sugarberry (C. laevigata) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion
Larva
Tawny Emperor
Astercampa clyton
Densely wooded riparian areas, Dry woods, Open woods Plants in the Elm Family (Ulmaceae) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion
Larva
Leafwings: Charaxinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Goatweed Leafwing
Anaea andria
Deciduous woods and scrub along waterways, Open fields, Roadsides Goatweed (Croton spp.) Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Bird Droppings
Adult
Monarchs and Queens (Milkweed Butterflies): Danainae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Queen (*)
Danaus gilippus
Open sunny areas: fields, roadsides, pastures, dunes, washes, and waterways Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Milkweed; Early Season: Shepherd’s Needle, Dogbane (poisonous), Lilac, Red Clover, Lantana, Thistle; Late Season: Goldenrod, Blazing Star, Ironweed, Tickseed Sunflower
Migratory
Monarch
Danaus plexippus
Open habitats: fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Milkweed; Early Season: Shepherd’s Needle, Dogbane (poisonous), Lilac, Red Clover, Lantana, Thistle; Late Season: Goldenrod, Blazing Star, Ironweed, Tickseed Sunflower
Migratory
Heliconians and Fritillaries: Heliconiiae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae
Pastures, Open fields, Moist broadleaf (subtropical) forests and edges Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Asters, Verbena, Phlox
Adult
Meadow Fritillary (#)
Clossiana bellona
Marsh areas Violets (Viola spp.) Plants in the Composite  Family (Asteraceae), Verbena, Dogbane
Larva
Julia Heliconian (+)
Dryas iulia
Moist broadleaf (subtropical) forest openings or  edges, and nearby fields Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
Migratory
Variegated Fritillary
Euptoieta claudia
Open sunny areas: prairies, fields, pastures, road edges Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.), Violets, Purslane, Stonecrop, Moonseed Butterflyweed, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Peppermint, Red Clover, Tickseed Sunflower
Adult
Zebra Heliconian (*)
Heliconius charithonia
Moist forests and adjacent edges, Open fields Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
Adult
Aphrodite Fritillary (#)
Speyeria aphrodite
Moist prairies, High mountain meadows, Barrens, Brushland, Dry fields, Open oak woods, Bogs Violets (Viola spp.) Milkweed
Larva
Great Spangled Fritillary (#)
Speyeria cybele
Open moist fields, Valleys, Pastures, Right-of-ways, Meadows, Open woodland, Prairies Violets (Viola spp.) Milkweed, Thistle, Ironweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Mountain Laurel, Verbena, Vetch, Bergamot, Red Clover, Joe-Pye Weed, Purple Coneflower
Larva
Diana Fritillary (#)
Speyeria diana
Fields, Moist openings in forested mountains and valleys Violets (Viola spp.) Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Ironweed, Red Clover
Larva
Snouts: Libytheinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
American Snout
Libytheana carinenta
Forest clearings and edges, Thorn scrub, Brushy fields, Roadsides Hackberry (Celtis spp.)

 

Asters, Dogbane (poisonous), Dogwood, Goldenrod, Sweet Pepperbush
Adult
Viceroys and Admirals: Limenitidinae Subfamily
Common NameScientific Name Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Red-spotted Purple
Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Deciduous or mixed forests, Moist uplands, Valley bottoms, Coastal plains Wild Cherry, Poplar, Cottonwood, Oaks, Hawthorn, Birch, Willow, Basswood, Serviceberry, Deerberry Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Carrion, Dung, Aphid Honeydew, Spirea, Privet, Viburnum
Larva
Viceroy
Limenitis archippus
Shrubby areas along lake and swamp edges, Willow thickets, Wet meadows, Roadsides Willow, Poplar, Cottonwood Aphid Honeydew, Carrion, Dung, Decaying Fungi, Asters, Goldenrod, Joe-Pye Weed, Shepherd’s Needle, Thistle
Larva
“True” Brushfoots: Nymphalinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
White Peacock (*)
Anartia jatrophae
Pond and stream edges, Shallow ditches, Weedy fields Plants in the Acanthus Family (Acanthaceae): Wild Petunia, Water Hyssop Shepherd’s Needle
Migratory
Texan Crescent
Anthanassa texana
Open areas, Streamsides, Road edges Plants in the Acanthus Family (Acanthaceae): Wild Petunia Various nectar plants
Larva
Gorgone Checkerspot
Chlosyne gorgone
Open areas: ridges, prairies, streamsides, hardwood forests and edges, Old fields Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae) Various nectar plants (especially yellow colored)
Larva
Silvery Checkerspot
Chlosyne nycteis
Streamsides, Meadows, Forest openings Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae) Red Clover, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
Larva
Baltimore Checkerspot (#)
Euphydryas phaeton
Wet meadows, Bogs, Marshes, Wooded hillsides Turtlehead, Hairy Beardtongue, English Plantain, False Foxglove; Overwinter: Arrowood, Common Lousewort, Japanese Honeysuckle, White Ash Milkweed, Viburnum, Wild Rose
Larva
Common Buckeye
Junonia coenia
Open, sunny areas with low vegetation and some bare ground Snapdragons, Toadflax, Plantains, Wild Petunia Asters, Chicory, Knapweed, Tickseed Sunflower, Dogbane (poisonous), Gumweed, Peppermint
Adult
Phaon Crescent (*)
Phyciodes phaon
Openings in thorn forests, Open areas near cropped plants, Dunes, Pastures, Roadsides Plants in the Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Adult
Pearl Crescent
Phyciodes tharos
Open pastures, Road edges, Fields, Open pine woods Smooth-leaved Asters (Aster pilosus and A. laevis) Dogbane (poisonous), Swamp Milkweed, Shepherd’s Needle, Asters, Winter Cress
Larva
Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis antiopa
Migrates: found almost anywhere host plants are present, Riparian areas Willow, American Elm, Cottonwood, Paper Birch, Hackberry Tree Sap of Oaks (Quercus spp.), Rotting Fruit
Adult
Small Tortoiseshell (+)
Nymphalis urticae
Gardens, Weedy areas, Migrates to mountains Plants in the Nettle Family (Urticaceae) Various nectar plants
Adult
Eastern Comma
Polygonia comma
Deciduous woodlands, Woods near water sources: rivers, marshes, swamps Plants in the Elm Family (Ulmaceae) and Nettle family (Urticaceae) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit
Adult
Green Comma (#)
Polygonia faunus
Forests, Mountain streamsides, Canyons Pussy Willow, Black Birch, Alder, Gooseberry Various nectar plants, Dung, Carrion
Adult
Question Mark
Polygonia interrogationis
Wooded areas with openings, Parks, Fencerows American Elm, Hackberry, Nettles, False Nettle Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion, Common Milkweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Asters
Adult
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta
Migrates: found in moist woods, yards, parks, marshes, seeps, fields Plants in the Nettle Family (Urticaceae) Tree Sap, Fermenting Fruit, Bird Droppings, Common Milkweed, Red Clover, Asters, Alfalfa
Adult
Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui
Almost everywhere: open or disturbed areas, Gardens, Old fields, Dunes Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae), Mallow family (Malvaceae), and Pea Family (Fabaceae) 3-6 ft. tall Composites: Thistle, Cosmos, Blazing Star, Ironweed, Joe-Pye Weed, Zinnia; Buttonbush, Privet, Milkweed
Adult
American Lady
Vanessa virginiensis
Open places with low vegetation: dunes, meadows, parks, vacant lots, forest edges Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Rabbit Tobacco, Plantain-leaved Pussy Toes, Wormwood, Ironweed Dogbane (poisonous), Asters, Goldenrod, Marigold, Common Milkweed, Vetch, Heal-all
Adult
Nymphs and Satyrs: Satyrinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Common Wood Nymph
Cercyonis pegala
Large areas with sun: prairies, open meadows, Bogs, Old fields Purpletop (Tridens flavus) and other grasses Rotting Fruit, Various nectar plants
Larva
Gemmed Satyr
Cyllopsis gemma
Open wet woodlands, Grassy areas near water, Streams, Ponds Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) most likely Not reported
Larva
Intricate Satyr
Hermeuptychia intricata
Woodlands

 

Larva

Unknown Unknown
Carolina Satyr
Hermeuptychia sosybius
Grassy areas, Woodlands Carpet Grass, Centipede Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit
Larva
Northern Pearl-eye
Lethe anthedon
Damp deciduous woods, Marshes and waterways, Mixed or grassy woodlands Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae): Erianthus spp., Uniola latifolia, Leersia erectum Dung, Fungi, Carrion, Sap from Willow, Poplar, Birch
Larva
Appalachian Brown
Lethe appalachia
Wooded swamps, Shrub swamp, Forest edges, Along slow-moving streams Narrowfruit Horned Beaksedge (Rhynchospora inundata) Tree Sap
Larva
Creole Pearl-eye
Lethe creola
Dense moist woods near swamps and upland forests Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Rotting Fruit, Tree Sap, Dung, Carrion
Larva
Southern Pearl-eye
Lethe portlandia
Shady, damp woods near stream fed swamps Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Rotting Fruit, Tree Sap, Dung, Carrion
Larva
Little Wood-Satyr
Megisto cymela
Grassy woods and openings, Old fields with basic soil Orchard Grass, Centipede Grass Tree Sap, Aphid Honeydew
Larva
Viola Wood-Satyr (*)
Megisto viola
Grassy woods Orchard Grass, Centipede Grass Sap, Aphid Honeydew, Rarely Flower Nectar
Larva
Georgia Satyr
Neonympha areolata
Grassy opening in sandy pinewoods or pine barrens Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Not Reported
Larva
Helicta Satyr
Neonympha helicta
Dry or wet areas Unknown Unknown
Larva
SWALLOWTAILS AND PARNASSIANS: Papilionidae Family
True Swallowtails: Papilioninae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Pinevine Swallowtail
Battus philenor
Woods, Open brush Pipevine (Aristolochia spp.) Thistle, Bergamot, Azalea, Phlox, Lilac, Verbena
Pupa
Zebra Swallowtail
Eurytides marcellus
Open, moist woods Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) Blueberry, Blackberry, Lilac, Redbud, Verbena, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
Pupa
Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (#)
Papilio appalachiensis
Wooded areas, High elevation Wild Black Cherry Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Blackberry, Multiflora Rose
Pupa
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio glaucus
Moist, wooded areas Black Cherry, Sweetbay, Basswood, Tulip Poplar, Birch, Ash, Cottonwood, Willow Wild Cherry, Lilac, Milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed
Pupa
Giant Swallowtail
Paplio cresphontes
Woods, Brush, Citrus Groves Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) Azalea, Goldenrod, Japanese Honeysuckle, Swamp Milkweed
Pupa
Palmedes Swallowtail
Papilio palamedes
Wet woods near rivers, Swamps Redbay, Swampbay, Sassafras Sweet Pepperbush, Thistle, Blue Flag Iris, Azalea
Pupa
Black Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes
Opens areas Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace Red Clover, Milkweed, Thistle
Pupa
Spicebush Swallowtail
Papilio troilus
Woods, Brush areas Spicebush, Sassafras, Tulip Poplar, Sweetbay, Redbay, Camphor Japanese Honeysuckle, Jewelweed, Thistle, Milkweed, Azalea, Sweet Pepperbush
Pupa
YELLOWS, SULPHURS, WHITES, AND ORANGETIPS: Pieridae Family
Yellows and Sulphurs: Coliadinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Orange Sulphur
Colias eurytheme
Open fields, Meadows, Roadsides Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Alfalfa, Clover Dandelion, Milkweed, Goldenrod, Asters, Marigold, Zinnia
Pupa
Clouded Sulphur
Colias philodice
Open fields, Meadows, Roadsides Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Larva
Barred Yellow
Eurema daira
Pastures, Open pine woods Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Pencil Flower, Vetch Vetch, Shepherd’s Needle
Adult
Little Yellow
Eurema lisa
Roadsides, Open areas, Sandy fields Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Partridge Pea, Wild Sensitive Plant Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Pupa
Sleepy Orange
Eurema nicippe
Pine flats, Road edges, Low elevation Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Shepherd’s Needle
Adult
Dainty Sulphur
Nathalis iole
Open fields Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Shepherd’s Needle, Sneezeweed, Marigold Asters, Marigold
Adult
Large Orange Sulphur (+)
Phoebis agarithe
Open lowlands including: gardens, pastures, road edges, trails, parks Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Bougainvillea, Rose Periwinkle, Turk’s Cap, Hibiscus
Adult
Orange-barred Sulphur (+)
Phoebis philea
Open lowland sites: gardens, forest edges, parks, road edges Cassias (Cassia sp.) Various nectar plants
Adult
Cloudless Sulphur
Phoebis sennae
Open fields Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Long tubular flowers: Bougainvillea, Cardinal Flower, Hibiscus, Lantana, Wild Morning Glory
Adult
Southern Dogface
Zerene cesonia
Open fields Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Alfalfa, Coreopsis, Houstonia, Verbena
Adult
Whites and Orangetips: Pierinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Great Southern White (*)
Ascia monuste
Salt marshes, Coastal dunes, Open fields Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae): Cabbage, Radish, Peppergrass and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Saltworts, Lantana, Verbena
Pupa
Falcate Orangetip
Anthocharis midea
Open woodlands Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) Mustards, Violets
Pupa
Cabbage White
Pieris rapae
All open areas Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Mustards, Dandelion, Red Clover, Asters, Purple Coneflower, Joe-Pye Weed, Mints, Verbena
Pupa
West Virginia White (#)
Pieris virginiensis
Moist woodlands Toothworts (Cardamine diphylla and C.laciniata) Toothworts, Spring Beauty, Violets
Pupa
Checkered White
Pontia protodice
Meadows, Fields Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Mustards, Asters, Alfalfa
Pupa
METALMARKS: Riodinidae Family
True Metalmarks: Riodininae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Little Metalmark
Calephelis virginiensis
Coastal plains with grassy areas or open pinewoods, Savannah, Salt-marsh meadows Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum) Short-flowered Asters, Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Sneezeweed, Blue Mistflower
Larva

 

Superfamily Hesperoidea (Skippers)

SKIPPERS: Hesperiidae Family
Grass Skippers: Hesperiinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites aesculapius
Moist, dense woods with cane growth Cane (Arundinaria spp.) Elephant’s Foot, Sweet Pepperbush,  Blackberry, Dutch White Clover, Heal-all, Dogbane (poisonous)
Larva
Dusky Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites alternata
Open pinewoods Not reported Various nectar plants
Larva
Bell’s Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites belli
Grassy areas near creeks, woodland openings and edges, gardens Indian Woodoats Grass (Chasmanthium latifolia) Various nectar plants
Larva
Pepper and Salt Skipper
Amblyscrites hegon
Near stream edges in forest glades Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans and S. secundum), River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) Viburnum, Blackberry
Larva
Reversed Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites reversa
Swampy or wet woods near slow streams with cane growth Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Various nectar plants
Larva
Common Roadside- Skipper
Amblyscirtes vialis
Open areas in or near woodlands, especially close to streams Wild Oats, Bent Grass, Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass, River Oats Verbena, Heal-all
Larva
Delaware Skipper
Anatrytone logan
Moist areas: marshes, prairies, fields, roadsides Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, Plume Grass Common Milkweed, Mountain Mint, Houstonia, Marsh Fleabane, Sweet Pepperbush, Buttonbush, Thistle, Pickerelweed
Larva or Pupa
Least Skipper
Ancyloxypha numitor
Moist or wet open areas with tall grass, Marshes, Ditches, Slow streams, Hillsides and old fields with tall grasses Marsh Millet (Zizaniopsis miliacea), Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), Cultivated Rice (Oryza sativa) Wood Sorrel, Swamp Verbena, Pickerelweed, Chicory, Dutch White Clover
Larva
Sachem
Atalopedes campestris
Disturbed open areas: roadsides, landfills, pastures, meadows, fencerows, yards, parks, lawns Bermuda Grass, Crabgrass, St. Augustine Grass, Goosegrass Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Buttonbush, Dogbane (poisonous), Peppermint, Red Clover, Tickseed  Sunflower, Thistle, Ironweed, Marigold, Asters
Larva
Arogos Skipper
Atrytone arogos
Undisturbed areas: grasslands, prairies, sand prairies, serpentine barrens Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardi) Purple Vetch, Canada Thistle, Dogbane, Stiff Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Green Milkweed, Ox-Eye Daisy
Larva
Dusted Skipper
Atrytonopsis hianna
Grasslands, Prairies, Barrens, Old fields Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), Big Bluestem (A. gerardi) Japanese Honeysuckle, Wild Strawberry, Blackberry, Wild Hyacinth, Phlox, Vervain, Red Clover
Larva
Loammi Skipper (*)
Atrytonopsis loammi
Barrier islands Seaside Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium littorale) Unknown
Larva
Brazilian Skipper
Calpodes ethlius
Gardens, Residential areas Canna lily, Cultivated plants in the Arrowroot Family (Marantaceae) Woody lianas (vines), trees and shrubs with white or pale yellow flowers
Larva
Southern Skipperling
Copaeodes minimus
Grassy areas, Open fields, Flats Bermuda Grass Fine-leaved Sneezeweed
Larva
Berry’s Skipper (*)
Euphyes berryi
Marshy areas near ponds, swamps, canals Not reported Pickerelweed
Larva
Two-spotted Skipper
Euphyes bimacula
Marshes, Bogs, Streamsides, Wet sedge meadows Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Blue Flag, Common Milkweed, Spirea
Larva
Dion Skipper
Euphyes dion
Swamps, Open marshes, Bogs Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sneezeweed, Buttonbush
Larva
Duke’s Skipper (*)
Euphyes dukesi
Shady tupelo swamps, Partially shaded ditches and marshes Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sneezeweed, Hibiscus, Blue Mistflower
Larva
Palatka Skipper (*)
Euphyes pilatka
Coastal brackish and freshwater marshes Sawgrass Sedge (Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicensis) Pickerelweed
Larva
Dun Skipper
Euphyes vestris
Wet areas near deciduous forests: meadows, seeps, swamp edges, streams Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) Common Milkweed, Purple Vetch, Heal-all, Peppermint, Dogbane (poisonous) New Jersey Tea
Larva
Dotted Skipper
Hesperia attalus
Short-grassed prairies, Pine barrens, Woodland meadows Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Fall Witchgrass (Leptoloma cognatum) Prickly Pear Cactus, Alfalfa, Thistles, Purple Coneflower
Larva
Leonard’s Skipper
Hesperia leonardus
Open grassy areas: prairies, fields, meadows Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae):  Little Bluestem, Blue Grama, Bentgrass Blazing Star, Thistles, Asters, Teasel
Larva
Meske’s Skipper
Hesperia meskei
Sparse open woods, Grassy areas Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), Arrowfeather Threeawn (Aristida  purpurascens) Blazing Star, Pickerelweed
Larva
Cobweb Skipper
Hesperia metea
Dry, grassy open areas: woods, pine barrens, oak savannah, sandy scrub, burned areas, old pastures Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), Big Bluestem (A. gerardi) Wild Strawberry, Blackberry, Bird’s Foot Violet, Winter Cress, Red Clover, Lilac, Vervain, Carolina Larkspur, Wild Hyacinth
Larva
Fiery Skipper
Hylephila phyleus
Sunny, open areas: fields, lawns, gardens, levees, roadsides, second-growth scrub Bermuda Grass, Crabgrass, St. Augustine Grass Sweet Pepperbush, Swamp Milkweed, Asters, Sneezeweed, Knapweed, Ironweed, Thistle
Pupa
Eufala Skipper
Lerodea eufala
Open, sunny areas: vacant lots, agricultural areas, road edges, lawns Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense),  Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) Alfalfa, Asters
Larva
Clouded Skipper
Lerema accius
Forest edges, Clearings near rivers and swamps St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) Shepherd’s Needle, Heal-all, Vervain, Buttonbush, Lantana
Pupa
Swarthy Skipper
Nastra lherminier
Grassy open areas: sand barrens, meadows, hillsides, fields Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius) Heal-all, Red Clover, Tick Trefoil, Purple Vetch, New Jersey Tea, Peppermint
Larva
Neamathla Skipper
Nastra neamathla
Open, moist areas: marsh edges Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae) Various nectar plants
Pupa
Twin-Spot Skipper
Oligoria maculata
Coastal swamps and pinewoods Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae) Pickerelweed
Larva
Ocola Skipper
Panoquina ocola
Low, damp fields and pastures Cultivated Rice (Oryza sativa) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Swamp Milkweed, Buttonbush, Pickerelweed
Pupa
Salt Marsh Skipper (*)
Panoquina panoquin
Coastal salt or brackish marshes and adjacent fields or wood edges Seashore Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Privet, Sweet Pepperbush, Red Clover, Salt Marsh Fleabane, Blue Mistflower, Thistle, Verbena
Larva
Aaron’s Skipper (*)
Poanes aaroni
Coastal salt marshes Possibly Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alternifolia var. glabra) Pickerelweed, Salt Marsh Fleabane, Coreopsis
Larva
Hobomok Skipper
Poanes hobomok
Openings and edges of damp woods, Edges of bogs, Light gaps along streams, City parks Panic Grasses (Panicum spp.), Bluegrasses (Poa spp.) Milkweed, Henbit, Blackberry
Larva
Broad-winged Skipper
Poanes viator
Fresh and saltwater marshes Reed (Phragmites communis), Wild Rice, Marsh Millet Inland: Swamp Milkweed, Purple Loosestrife, Blue Vervain; Coastal: Dogbane (poisonous), Swamp Milkweed, Pickerelweed, Thistle, Salt Marsh Fleabane
Larva
Yehl Skipper
Poanes yehl
Clearings in wet or swampy woodlands Cane (Arundinaria spp.) Sweet Pepperbush, Chinquapin, Pickerelweed, Swamp Milkweed
Larva
Zabulon Skipper
Poanes zabulon
Brushy openings near moist forests and streams Love Grass, Purpletop, Bluegrass, Orchardgrass, Bentgrass Japanese Honeysuckle, Red Clover, Heal-all, Blackberry, Purple Vetch, Common Milkweed, Buttonbush, Joe-Pye Weed, Thistle
Larva
Crossline Skipper
Polites origenes
Open grassy areas: prairies, hillsides, barrens, power line cuts, old fields, forest openings Purpletop (Tridens flavus), Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius) White, Pink, Purple Flowers preferred: Purple vetch, Red Clover, Heal-all, Dogbane, Shrub Houstonia, New Jersey Tea, New York Ironweed
Larva
Peck’s Skipper (#)
Polites peckius
Open grassy habitats: meadows, prairies, lawns, marshes, landfills, roadsides, vacant lots, power line right-of-ways Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides); Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) Red Clover, Purple Vetch, Thistles, Heal-all, New York Ironweed, Blue Vervain, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Dogbane, New Jersey Tea
Larva
Tawny-edged Skipper
Polites themistocles
Moist grassy areas: prairie swales, pastures, lawns, roadsides, vacant lots Panic Grasses (Panicum sp.), Slender Crabgrass (Digitaria filiformis), Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) Alfalfa, Red Clover, Dogbane, Shrub Houstonia, Purple Coneflower, Thistles, Chicory
Pupa
Whirlabout
Polites vibex
Scrubby or open habitats: dunes, fields, pinewoods, roadsides, forest openings, yards, parks Bermuda Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Thin Paspalum Shepherd’s Needle, Lantana
Pupa
Little Glasswing
Pompeius verna
Moist areas near shaded wood edges Purpletop (Tridens flavus) White, Pink, Purple Flowers preferred: Dogbane, Heal-all, Peppermint, Joe-Pye Weed, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed; Yellow flowers visited when others are not available
Larva
Rare Skipper (*)
Problema bulenta
Brackish river marshes, Abandoned rice patties Not reported Pickerelweed, Swamp Milkweed
Larva
Byssus Skipper
Problema byssus
Edges of coastal marshes Eastern Gamma Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides) Pickerelweed
Larva
European Skipper (#)
Thymelicus lineola
Open grassy areas: meadows, hayfields, pastures, abandoned homesteads, road edges Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae): Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense) Orange Hawkweed, Thistles, Ox-Eye Daisy, Fleabane, White Clover, Red Clover, Heal-all, Deptford Pink, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed
Egg
Northern Broken-Dash
Wallengrenia egeremet
Opens areas near woods or scrubs Panic Grasses (Panicum spp.) White, Pink, Purple Flowers preferred: Dogbane, Red Clover, New Jersey Tea, Sweet Pepperbush
Larva
Southern Broken-Dash
Wallengrenia otho
Openings near wooded rivers or swamps Paspalum Grass, St. Augustine Grass Pickerelweed, Heal-all, Sweet Pepperbush
Larva
Giant-Skippers: Megathyminae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Cofaqui Giant-Skipper
Megathymus cofaqui
Coastal dunes, Pinewoods, Shrubland Bear Grass (Yucca filamentosa), Spanish Bayonet (Y. aloifolia), Small’s Yucca (Y. smalliana) Adults do not feed; Males sip moisture from mud

 

Larva
Yucca Giant-Skipper
Megathymus yuccae
Coastal dunes, Open: yucca flats, woodland, grassland, old field Bear Grass (Yucca filamentosa), Spanish Bayonet (Y. aloifolia), Small’s Yucca (Y. smalliana), Spanish Dagger (Y. glorisa) Adults do not feed; Males sip moisture from mud
Larva
Spread-wing Skippers: Pyrginae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Overwinter Stage
Hoary Edge
Achalarus lyciades
Open woodland, Brushy areas, Often pine or oak woods with sandy soils Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Ticks, False Indigo, Lespedeza Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Buttonbush, Japanese Honeysuckle, New Jersey Tea
Pupa
Golden Banded-Skipper
Autochton cellus
Damp, wooded ravines with permanent water sources Hog Peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata) Trailing Arbutus, Blackberry, Abelia, Hollyhock
Pupa
Silver-spotted Skipper
Epargyreus clarus
Disturbed open woods, Foothill stream courses, Prairie waterways Black Locust, Honey Locust, False Indigo Common Milkweed, Red Clover, Buttonbush, Blazing Star, Thistles (almost never visits yellow flowers)
Pupa
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Erynnis baptisiae
Open woods, Barrens, Highways roadsides, Railroad beds, Upland fields, Areas with crown vetch Wild Indigo, Wild Blue Indigo, Lupine Blackberry, Dogbane (poisonous), Sunflower, Crimson Clover
Larva
Sleepy Duskywing
Erynnis brizo
Oak or oak-pine scrub, Barrens, On well-drained sandy or shale soils Oaks (Quercus spp.) Azalea, Blueberry, Blackberry, Dandelion
Larva
Funereal Duskywing (+)
Erynnis funeralis
Warm or arid lowlands, Roadsides Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Larva
Horace’s Duskywing
Erynnis horatius
Open woodlands and edges, Clearings, Fencerows, Wooded swamps, Power line right-of-ways, Open fields, Roadsides Willow Oak, Northern Red Oak, Water Oak, Post Oak, Live Oak 4.5 ft. tall plants: Dogbane (poisonous), Buttonbush, Sneezeweed, Goldenrod, Peppermint, Boneset, Winter Cress
Larva
Dreamy Duskywing (#)
Erynnis icelus
Woodland opening or edges Willow, Poplar, Birch Blueberry, Wild Strawberry, Blackberry, Dogbane, New Jersey Tea, Winter Cress, Purple Vetch, Lupine
Larva
Juvenal’s Duskywing
Erynnis juvenalis
Oak woods or scrub with associated edges or fields Oaks (Quercus spp.) Winter Cress, Dandelion, Wild Plum, Wisteria, Blueberry, Vetch, Redbud, Lilac
Larva
Mottled Duskywing
Erynnis martialis
Open woodland, Barrens, Prairie hills, Open bushy fields Plants in the Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae): Wild Liliacs, New Jersey Tea, RedRoot (Ceanothus herbaceus var. pubescens) Bush Houstonia, Gromwell, Hoary Vervain
Larva
Zarucco Duskywing
Erynnis zarucco
Wood edges, Open fields, Scrub Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Black Locust, Lespedeza Shepherd’s Needle
Larva
Common Sootywing
Pholisora catullus
Open or disturbed areas: landfills, vacant lots, gardens, roadsides, fields, pastures Lambsquarter, Amaranth, Cockscomb Dogbane (poisonous), Marjoram, Oxalis, Dutch White Clover, Common Milkweed, Peppermint, Cucumber, Melon
Larva
White Checkered- Skipper
Pyrgus albescens
Open sunny areas with low vegetation, Bare soils: prairies, fields, roadsides, yards Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae)- not well reported Various nectar plants
Pupa
Common Checkered- Skipper
Pyrgus communis
Open sunny areas with low vegetation, Bare soils: prairies, meadows, fields, roadsides, landfills, yards, pastures, Opening and trails in woods Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Shepherd’s Needle, Fleabane, Asters, Red Clover, Knapweed, Beggar’s Tick
Larva
Tropical Checkered- Skipper
Pyrgus oileus
Open, sunny areas: pastures, brushy fields, wooded trails, thorn-scrub, roadsides Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Shepherd’s Needle
Larva
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing
Staphylus hayhurstii
Vacant weed lots, Suburban gardens, Woods: openings, rustic roads, trails Plants in the Amaranth Family (Amaranthaceae) Marigold, Knotweed, Spearmint, Wild Marjoram, Cucumber, Dogbane (poisonous), Dutch White Clover
Larva
Southern Cloudywing
Thorybes bathyllus
Open scrubby areas: dry meadows, burned areas, dry prairie hills, Power line right-of-ways Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Tick, Lespedeza, Clover

 

Dogbane (poisonous), Heal-all, Vetch, Japanese Honeysuckle, Thistle, Common Milkweed

 

Larva
Confused Cloudywing
Thorybes confusis
Near swamps and marshes, Woods in river valleys Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Larva
Northern Cloudywing
Thorybes pylades
Open or scrubby boreal woodland and forest edges Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Tick, Lespedeza, Clover Dogbane (poisonous), Heal-all, Vetch, Japanese Honeysuckle, Thistle, Hoary Vervain, Common Milkweed
Larva
Dorantes Longtail
Urbanus dorantes
Roadsides, Overgrown fields, Wood edges and clearings, Along trails in hardwood hammocks Wild and Cultivated Beans (Phaseolus spp.) Shepherd’s Needle, Lantana, Ironweed, Bougainvillea
Larva
Long-tailed Skipper
Urbanus proteus
Brushy fields, Edges of woods, Gardens, Open disturbed areas Wild and Cultivated Beans (Phaseolus spp.): Hog Peanut, Beggar’s Tick, Wisteria Bougainvillea, Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
Larva
Butterfly species list for South Carolina compiled by LayLa Burgess, Cooperative Extension, Clemson University. Species list verified using the Checklist of the Butterflies of SC (Dec 2016) developed by Brian Scholtens (Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston) and Dr. Dennis Forsythe (Emeritus Professor, The Citadel). Preferred habitat, host plants, nectar sources, and overwintering stage were added by LayLa Burgess, Clemson Extension.
* Essentially restricted to the coast
# Essentially restricted to the mountains
+ Limited
Note: Habitat, host plants, and nectar sources listed are those preferred by each butterfly species; however, most butterflies will use a variety of habitats and plants when available and necessary.

Additional Information: HGIC 1734, Urban Wildlife – Butterflies

Online Resources:

  • The Lepidopterists’ Society
  • Butterflies and Moths of North America

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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