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
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
American Copper
Lycaena phlaeas
Disturbed areas: pastures, road edges, old fields

Larva

Buckwheat, Sheep Sorrel, Curly Dock Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae), Common Buttercup, White Clover, Butterflyweed, Yarrow
Harvesters: Miletinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Harvester
Feniseca tarquinius
Deciduous or mixed woodlands along streams

Pupa

Woolly Aphids, Scales, and Treehoppers found feeding on Alder, Witch Hazel, Ash, Beech, Hawthorn Honeydew
Blues: Polyommatinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Eastern Pygmy-Blue

Brephidium isophthalma

Coastal marshes, Tidal flats

Pupa

Glassworts (Salicornia spp.) Palmetto Palm, Glassworts
Holly Azure
Celastrina idella
Deciduous woods near streams, Acidic bogs

Pupa

Hollies (Ilex spp.) Various nectar plants
Spring Azure
Celastrina ladon
Edges of deciduous woods, Old fields, Wooded freshwater marsh and swamp

Pupa

Dogwood, New Jersey Tea Dogbane (poisonous), Privet, New Jersey Tea, Blackberry, Common Milkweed
Summer Azure
Celastrina neglecta
Stream valleys, Right-of-ways, Gardens

Pupa

Dogwood, New Jersey Tea Various nectar plants
Appalachian Azure (#)
Celestrina neglectamajor
Deciduous woods near streams

Pupa

Black Cohosh Various nectar plants
Eastern Tailed-Blue
Cupido comyntas
Open sunny locations, Weedy areas, Disturbed habitats

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Shepherd’s Needle, Wild Strawberry, Winter Cress, Cinquefoil, Asters
Silvery Blue
Glaucopsyche lygdamus
Open woods, Coastal Dunes, Meadows, Road edges, Rocky moist woods, Brushy fields

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Ceraunus Blue
Hemiargus ceraunus
Open woodland, Dunes, Pasture, Road edges

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Various nectar plants
Cassius Blue
Leptotes cassius
Thorn scrub, Forest edges, Weedy fields

Pupa

Leadwort, Rattlebox, Downy Milkpea, Lima Bean Shepherd’s Needle
Hairstreaks and Elfins: Theclinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Great Purple (Blue) Hairstreak
Atlides halesus
Oak woods, Planted walnut fields, Mixed woods with mistletoe

Pupa

Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) Goldenrod, Hercules Club, Shepherd’s Needle, Sweet Pepperbush, Wild Plum
Brown Elfin
Callophrys augustinus
Mixed conifer woods, Barrens, Bogs, Sandy coasts

Pupa

Plants in the Heath Family (Ericaceae)- Eastern US Blueberry, Spicebush, Willow, Winter Cress, Wild Plum
Juniper Hairstreak
Callophrys grynea
Old fields, Bluffs, Barrens, Juniper woodlands, Cedar breaks

Pupa

Red Cedar, Juniper Winter Cress, Dogbane (poisonous), Common Milkweed, Wild Carrot, Shepherd’s Needle, Butterflyweed
Henry’s Elfin
Callophrys henrici
Edges or opening in barrens and pine or pine-oak woodlands

Pupa

Dahoon Holly, American Holly, Yaupon Holly, Redbud, Blueberry, Huckleberry, Viburnum Redbud, Willow, Wild Plum, Hawthorn, Swamp Privet
Hessel’s Hairstreak
Callophrys hesseli
Coastal plains swamps and stream banks with associated barrens

Pupa

Atlantic White-cedar Swamp Milkweed, Shadbush, Sand Myrtles, Sweet Pepperbush, Highbush Blueberry, Buttonbush, Dogbane
Frosted Elfin
Callophrys irus
Open woods, Forest edges, Fields, Scrub

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Eastern Pine Elfin
Callophrys niphon
Small to medium pine forest opening or edges, Old fields

Pupa

Scrub Pine (Pinus virginiana), White Pine (Pinus strobus) Blueberry, Cinquefoil, Chickweed, Common Milkweed
Red-banded Hairstreak
Calycopis cecrops
Coastal hammocks, Overgrown fields, Forest edges

Larva

Wax Myrtle (fallen leaves), Winged Sumac, Oaks Yarrow, Wild Cherry, Tickseed Sunflower, Sumac, Sweet Pepperbush, New Jersey Tea, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
White M Hairstreak
Parrhasius m-album
Woods with broadleaf trees

Pupa

Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) and various other oaks Viburnum, Sumac, Sourwood, Wild Plum, Poinsettia, Sweet Pepperbush, Common Milkweed, Lantana, Dogwood, Goldenrod
Banded Hairstreak
Satyrium calanus
Open forest and adjacent edges, Fields

Egg

Oaks (Quercus spp.), Walnuts (Juglans spp.), Hickories (Carya spp.) Dogbane (poisonous), Common milkweed, Chinquapin, Dogwood, New Jersey Tea, Yarrow
Edward’s Hairstreak
Satyrium edwardsii
Oak thickets in rocky open habitats, sand, shale barrens, or limestone ridges

Egg

Black Oak (Quercus velutina) Dogbane (poisonous), Goldenrod, Milkweed, New Jersey Tea
Oak Hairstreak
Satyrium favonius
Oak woodlands and hammocks

Egg

Oaks (Quercus spp.) Various nectar plants
King’s Hairstreak
Satyrium kingi
Hardwood hammocks, Wooded streams, Swamp edges

Egg

Horse Sugar (Symplocos tinctoria) Allegheny Chinquapin, Sourwood
Striped Hairstreak
Satyrium liparops
Deciduous forest openings and edges, Shaded swamps, Acidic barrens, Prairies streamsides and copses

Egg

Plants in the Rose Family (Rosaceae) and Heath Family (Ericaceae), Hornbeam, Oaks, Willow Chinquapin, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Goldenrod, New Jersey Tea, Viburnum
Coral Hairstreak
Satyrium titus
Shrubby areas, Brushlands, Woodland openings, Barrens, Neglected pastures

Egg

Plants in the Rose Family (Rosaceae): Wild Cherry, Wild Plum, Chokeberry Butterflyweed, New Jersey Tea, Dogbane (poisonous)
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Open non-forested sites, Weedy disturbed areas

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) and Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Dogbane (poisonous), Milkweed, Mints, Winter Cress, Goldenrod, Tick Trefoil
BRUSHFOOT BUTTERFLIES: Nymphalidae Family
Emperors: Apaturine Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Hackberry Emperor
Astercampa celtis
Wooded streams, Forest glades, River edges, Wooded roadsides

Larva

Hackberry (Celtis spp.) and Sugarberry (C. laevigata) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion
Tawny Emperor
Astercampa clyton
Densely wooded riparian areas, Dry woods, Open woods

Larva

Plants in the Elm Family (Ulmaceae) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion
Leafwings: Charaxinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
HabitatOverwinter Stage Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Goatweed Leafwing

Anaea andria

Deciduous woods and scrub along waterways, Open fields, Roadsides

Adult

Goatweed (Croton spp.) Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Bird Droppings
Monarchs and Queens (Milkweed Butterflies): Danainae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Queen (*)
Danaus gilippus
Open sunny areas: fields, roadsides, pastures, dunes, washes, and waterways

Migratory

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Milkweed; Early Season: Shepherd’s Needle, Dogbane (poisonous), Lilac, Red Clover, Lantana, Thistle; Late Season: Goldenrod, Blazing Star, Ironweed, Tickseed Sunflower
Monarch
Danaus plexippus
Open habitats: fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides

Migratory

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Milkweed; Early Season: Shepherd’s Needle, Dogbane (poisonous), Lilac, Red Clover, Lantana, Thistle; Late Season: Goldenrod, Blazing Star, Ironweed, Tickseed Sunflower
Heliconians and Fritillaries: Heliconiiae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Gulf Fritillary
Agraulis vanillae
Pastures, Open fields, Moist broadleaf (subtropical) forests and edges

Adult

Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Asters, Verbena, Phlox
Meadow Fritillary (#)
Clossiana bellona
Marsh areas

Larva

Violets (Viola spp.) Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae), Verbena, Dogbane
Julia Heliconian (+)
Dryas iulia
Moist broadleaf (subtropical) forest openings or edges, and nearby fields

Migratory

Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
Variegated Fritillary
Euptoieta claudia
Open sunny areas: prairies, fields, pastures, road edges

Adult

Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.), Violets, Purslane, Stonecrop, Moonseed Butterflyweed, Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Peppermint, Red Clover, Tickseed Sunflower
Zebra Heliconian (*)
Heliconius charithonia
Moist forests and adjacent edges, Open fields

Adult

Passion-vine (Passiflora spp.) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
Aphrodite Fritillary (#)
Speyeria aphrodite
Moist prairies, High mountain meadows, Barrens, Brushland, Dry fields, Open oak woods, Bogs

Larva

Violets (Viola spp.) Milkweed
Great Spangled Fritillary (#)
Speyeria cybele
Open moist fields, Valleys, Pastures, Right-of-ways, Meadows, Open woodland, Prairies

Larva

Violets (Viola spp.) Milkweed, Thistle, Ironweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Mountain Laurel, Verbena, Vetch, Bergamot, Red Clover, Joe-Pye Weed, Purple Coneflower
Diana Fritillary (#)
Speyeria diana
Fields, Moist openings in forested mountains and valleys

Larva

Violets (Viola spp.) Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Ironweed, Red Clover
Snouts: Libytheinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
American Snout
Libytheana carinenta
Forest clearings and edges, Thorn scrub, Brushy fields, Roadsides

Adult

Hackberry (Celtis spp.) Asters, Dogbane (poisonous), Dogwood, Goldenrod, Sweet Pepperbush
Viceroys and Admirals: Limenitidinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Red-spotted Purple
Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Deciduous or mixed forests, Moist uplands, Valley bottoms, Coastal plains

Larva

Wild Cherry, Poplar, Cottonwood, Oaks, Hawthorn, Birch, Willow, Basswood, Serviceberry, Deerberry Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Carrion, Dung, Aphid Honeydew, Spirea, Privet, Viburnum
Viceroy
Limenitis archippus
Shrubby areas along lake and swamp edges, Willow thickets, Wet meadows, Roadsides

Larva

Willow, Poplar, Cottonwood Aphid Honeydew, Carrion, Dung, Decaying Fungi, Asters, Goldenrod, Joe-Pye Weed, Shepherd’s Needle, Thistle
“True” Brushfoots: Nymphalinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
White Peacock (*)
Anartia jatrophae
Pond and stream edges, Shallow ditches, Weedy fields

Migratory

Plants in the Acanthus Family (Acanthaceae): Wild Petunia, Water Hyssop Shepherd’s Needle
Texan Crescent
Anthanassa texana
Open areas, Streamsides, Road edges

Larva

Plants in the Acanthus Family (Acanthaceae): Wild Petunia Various nectar plants
Gorgone Checkerspot
Chlosyne gorgone
Open areas: ridges, prairies, streamsides, hardwood forests and edges, Old fields

Larva

Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae) Various nectar plants (especially yellow colored)
Silvery Checkerspot
Chlosyne nycteis
Streamsides, Meadows, Forest openings

Larva

Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae) Red Clover, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
Baltimore Checkerspot (#)
Euphydryas phaeton
Wet meadows, Bogs, Marshes, Wooded hillsides

Larva

Turtlehead, Hairy Beardtongue, English Plantain, False Foxglove; Overwinter: Arrowood, Common Lousewort, Japanese Honeysuckle, White Ash Milkweed, Viburnum, Wild Rose
Common Buckeye
Junonia coenia
Open, sunny areas with low vegetation and some bare ground

Adult

Snapdragons, Toadflax, Plantains, Wild Petunia Asters, Chicory, Knapweed, Tickseed Sunflower, Dogbane (poisonous), Gumweed, Peppermint
Phaon Crescent (*)
Phyciodes phaon
Openings in thorn forests, Open areas near cropped plants, Dunes, Pastures, Roadsides

Adult

Plants in the Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Pearl Crescent
Phyciodes tharos
Open pastures, Road edges, Fields, Open pine woods

Larva

Smooth-leaved Asters (Aster pilosus and A. laevis) Dogbane (poisonous), Swamp Milkweed, Shepherd’s Needle, Asters, Winter Cress
Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis antiopa
Migrates: found almost anywhere host plants are present, Riparian areas

Adult

Willow, American Elm, Cottonwood, Paper Birch, Hackberry Tree Sap of Oaks (Quercus spp.), Rotting Fruit
Small Tortoiseshell (+)
Nymphalis urticae
Gardens, Weedy areas, Migrates to mountains

Adult

Plants in the Nettle Family (Urticaceae) Various nectar plants
Eastern Comma
Polygonia comma
Deciduous woodlands, Woods near water sources: rivers, marshes, swamps

Adult

Plants in the Elm Family (Ulmaceae) and Nettle family (Urticaceae) Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit
Green Comma (#)
Polygonia faunus
Forests, Mountain streamsides, Canyons

Adult

Pussy Willow, Black Birch, Alder, Gooseberry Various nectar plants, Dung, Carrion
Question Mark
Polygonia interrogationis
Wooded areas with openings, Parks, Fencerows

Adult

American Elm, Hackberry, Nettles, False Nettle Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit, Dung, Carrion, Common Milkweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Asters
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta
Migrates: found in moist woods, yards, parks, marshes, seeps, fields

Adult

Plants in the Nettle Family (Urticaceae) Tree Sap, Fermenting Fruit, Bird Droppings, Common Milkweed, Red Clover, Asters, Alfalfa
Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui
Almost everywhere: open or disturbed areas, Gardens, Old fields, Dunes

Adult

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
American Lady
Vanessa virginiensis
Open places with low vegetation: dunes, meadows, parks, vacant lots, forest edges

Adult

Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Rabbit Tobacco, Plantain-leaved Pussy Toes, Wormwood, Ironweed Dogbane (poisonous), Asters, Goldenrod, Marigold, Common Milkweed, Vetch, Heal-all
Nymphs and Satyrs: Satyrinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Common Wood Nymph
Cercyonis pegala
Large areas with sun: prairies, open meadows, Bogs, Old fields

Larva

Purpletop (Tridens flavus) and other grasses Rotting Fruit, Various nectar plants
Gemmed Satyr
Cyllopsis gemma
Open wet woodlands, Grassy areas near water, Streams, Ponds

Larva

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) most likely Not reported
Intricate Satyr
Hermeuptychia intricata
Woodlands

Larva

Unknown Unknown
Carolina Satyr
Hermeuptychia sosybius
Grassy areas, Woodlands

Larva

Carpet Grass, Centipede Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass Tree Sap, Rotting Fruit
Northern Pearl-eye
Lethe anthedon
Damp deciduous woods, Marshes and waterways, Mixed or grassy woodlands

Larva

Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae): Erianthus spp., Uniola latifolia, Leersia erectum Dung, Fungi, Carrion, Sap from Willow, Poplar, Birch
Appalachian Brown
Lethe appalachia
Wooded swamps, Shrub swamp, Forest edges, Along slow-moving streams

Larva

Narrowfruit Horned Beaksedge (Rhynchospora inundata) Tree Sap
Creole Pearl-eye
Lethe creola
Dense moist woods near swamps and upland forests

Larva

Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Rotting Fruit, Tree Sap, Dung, Carrion
Southern Pearl-eye
Lethe portlandia
Shady, damp woods near stream fed swamps

Larva

Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Rotting Fruit, Tree Sap, Dung, Carrion
Little Wood-Satyr
Megisto cymela
Grassy woods and openings, Old fields with basic soil

Larva

Orchard Grass, Centipede Grass Tree Sap, Aphid Honeydew
Viola Wood-Satyr (*)
Megisto viola
Grassy woods

Larva

Orchard Grass, Centipede Grass Sap, Aphid Honeydew, Rarely Flower Nectar
Georgia Satyr
Neonympha areolata
Grassy opening in sandy pinewoods or pine barrens

Larva

Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Not Reported
Helicta Satyr
Neonympha helicta
Dry or wet areas

Larva

Unknown Unknown
SWALLOWTAILS AND PARNASSIANS: Papilionidae Family
True Swallowtails: Papilioninae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Pinevine Swallowtail
Battus philenor
Woods, Open brush
Pupa
Pipevine (Aristolochia spp.) Thistle, Bergamot, Azalea, Phlox, Lilac, Verbena
Zebra Swallowtail
Eurytides marcellus
Open, moist woods

Pupa

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) Blueberry, Blackberry, Lilac, Redbud, Verbena, Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous)
Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (#)
Papilio appalachiensis
Wooded areas, High elevation

Pupa

Wild Black Cherry Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Blackberry, Multiflora Rose
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Papilio glaucus

Moist, wooded areas

Pupa

Black Cherry, Sweetbay, Basswood, Tulip Poplar, Birch, Ash, Cottonwood, Willow Wild Cherry, Lilac, Milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed
Giant Swallowtail
Paplio cresphontes
Woods, Brush, Citrus Groves

Pupa

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) Azalea, Goldenrod, Japanese Honeysuckle, Swamp Milkweed
Palmedes Swallowtail
Papilio palamedes
Wet woods near rivers, Swamps

Pupa

Redbay, Swampbay, Sassafras Sweet Pepperbush, Thistle, Blue Flag Iris, Azalea
Black Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes
Opens areas

Pupa

Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace Red Clover, Milkweed, Thistle
Spicebush Swallowtail
Papilio troilus
Woods, Brush areas

Pupa

Spicebush, Sassafras, Tulip Poplar, Sweetbay, Redbay, Camphor Japanese Honeysuckle, Jewelweed, Thistle, Milkweed, Azalea, Sweet Pepperbush
YELLOWS, SULPHURS, WHITES, AND ORANGETIPS: Pieridae Family
Yellows and Sulphurs: Coliadinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Orange Sulphur
Colias eurytheme
Open fields, Meadows, Roadsides

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Alfalfa, Clover Dandelion, Milkweed, Goldenrod, Asters, Marigold, Zinnia
Clouded Sulphur
Colias philodice
Open fields, Meadows, Roadsides

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Barred Yellow
Eurema daira
Pastures, Open pine woods

Adult

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Pencil Flower, Vetch Vetch, Shepherd’s Needle
Little Yellow
Eurema lisa
Roadsides, Open areas, Sandy fields

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Partridge Pea, Wild Sensitive Plant Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Sleepy Orange
Eurema nicippe
Pine flats, Road edges, Low elevation

Adult

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Shepherd’s Needle
Dainty Sulphur
Nathalis iole
Open fields

Adult

Plants in the Composite Family (Asteraceae): Shepherd’s Needle, Sneezeweed, Marigold Asters, Marigold
Large Orange Sulphur (+)
Phoebis agarithe
Open lowlands including: gardens, pastures, road edges, trails, parks

Adult

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Bougainvillea, Rose Periwinkle, Turk’s Cap, Hibiscus
Orange-barred Sulphur (+)
Phoebis philea
Open lowland sites: gardens, forest edges, parks, road edges

Adult

Cassias (Cassia sp.) Various nectar plants
Cloudless Sulphur
Phoebis sennae
Open fields

Adult

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Cassia spp. Long tubular flowers: Bougainvillea, Cardinal Flower, Hibiscus, Lantana, Wild Morning Glory
Southern Dogface
Zerene cesonia
Open fields

Adult

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Alfalfa, Coreopsis, Houstonia, Verbena
Whites and Orangetips: Pierinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Great Southern White (*)
Ascia monuste
Salt marshes, Coastal dunes, Open fields

Pupa

Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae): Cabbage, Radish, Peppergrass and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Saltworts, Lantana, Verbena
Falcate Orangetip
Anthocharis midea
Open woodlands

Pupa

Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) Mustards, Violets
Cabbage White
Pieris rapae
All open areas

Pupa

Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Mustards, Dandelion, Red Clover, Asters, Purple Coneflower, Joe-Pye Weed, Mints, Verbena
West Virginia White (#)
Pieris virginiensis
Moist woodlands

Pupa

Toothworts (Cardamine diphylla and C.laciniata) Toothworts, Spring Beauty, Violets
Checkered White
Pontia protodice
Meadows, Fields

Pupa

Plants in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and the Caper Family (Capparidaceae) Mustards, Asters, Alfalfa
METALMARKS: Riodinidae Family
True Metalmarks: Riodininae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Little Metalmark
Calephelis virginiensis
Coastal plains with grassy areas or open pinewoods, Savannah, Salt-marsh meadows

Larva

Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum) Short-flowered Asters, Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Sneezeweed, Blue Mistflower

Superfamily Hesperoidea (Skippers)

SKIPPERS: Hesperiidae Family
Grass Skippers: Hesperiinae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites aesculapius
Moist, dense woods with cane growth

Larva

Cane (Arundinaria spp.) Elephant’s Foot, Sweet Pepperbush, Blackberry, Dutch White Clover, Heal-all, Dogbane (poisonous)
Dusky Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites alternata
Open pinewoods

Larva

Not reported Various nectar plants
Bell’s Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites belli
Grassy areas near creeks, woodland openings and edges, gardens

Larva

Indian Woodoats Grass (Chasmanthium latifolia) Various nectar plants
Pepper and Salt Skipper
Amblyscrites hegon
Near stream edges in forest glades

Larva

Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans and S. secundum), River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) Viburnum, Blackberry
Reversed Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscrites reversa
Swampy or wet woods near slow streams with cane growth

Larva

Switch Cane (Arundinaria tecta) Various nectar plants
Common Roadside- Skipper
Amblyscirtes vialis
Open areas in or near woodlands, especially close to streams

Larva

Wild Oats, Bent Grass, Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass, River Oats Verbena, Heal-all
Delaware Skipper
Anatrytone logan
Moist areas: marshes, prairies, fields, roadsides

Larva or Pupa

Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, Plume Grass Common Milkweed, Mountain Mint, Houstonia, Marsh Fleabane, Sweet Pepperbush, Buttonbush, Thistle, Pickerelweed
Least Skipper
Ancyloxypha numitor
Moist or wet open areas with tall grass, Marshes, Ditches, Slow streams, Hillsides and old fields with tall grasses

Larva

Marsh Millet (Zizaniopsis miliacea), Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), Cultivated Rice (Oryza sativa) Wood Sorrel, Swamp Verbena, Pickerelweed, Chicory, Dutch White Clover
Sachem
Atalopedes campestris
Disturbed open areas: roadsides, landfills, pastures, meadows, fencerows, yards, parks, lawns

Larva

Bermuda Grass, Crabgrass, St. Augustine Grass, Goosegrass Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Buttonbush, Dogbane (poisonous), Peppermint, Red Clover, Tickseed Sunflower, Thistle, Ironweed, Marigold, Asters
Arogos Skipper
Atrytone arogos
Undisturbed areas: grasslands, prairies, sand prairies, serpentine barrens

Larva

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardi) Purple Vetch, Canada Thistle, Dogbane, Stiff Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Green Milkweed, Ox-Eye Daisy
Dusted Skipper
Atrytonopsis hianna
Grasslands, Prairies, Barrens, Old fields

Larva

Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), Big Bluestem (A. gerardi) Japanese Honeysuckle, Wild Strawberry, Blackberry, Wild Hyacinth, Phlox, Vervain, Red Clover
Loammi Skipper (*)
Atrytonopsis loammi
Barrier islands

Larva

Seaside Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium littorale) Unknown
Brazilian Skipper
Calpodes ethlius
Gardens, Residential areas

Larva

Canna lily, Cultivated plants in the Arrowroot Family (Marantaceae) Woody lianas (vines), trees and shrubs with white or pale yellow flowers
Southern Skipperling
Copaeodes minimus
Grassy areas, Open fields, Flats

Larva

Bermuda Grass Fine-leaved Sneezeweed
Berry’s Skipper (*)
Euphyes berryi
Marshy areas near ponds, swamps, canals

Larva

Not reported Pickerelweed
Two-spotted Skipper
Euphyes bimacula
Marshes, Bogs, Streamsides, Wet sedge meadows

Larva

Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Blue Flag, Common Milkweed, Spirea
Dion Skipper
Euphyes dion
Swamps, Open marshes, Bogs

Larva

Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sneezeweed, Buttonbush
Duke’s Skipper (*)
Euphyes dukesi
Shady tupelo swamps, Partially shaded ditches and marshes

Larva

Plants in the Sedge Family (Cyperaceae) Pickerelweed, Sneezeweed, Hibiscus, Blue Mistflower
Palatka Skipper (*)
Euphyes pilatka
Coastal brackish and freshwater marshes

Larva

Sawgrass Sedge (Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicensis) Pickerelweed
Dun Skipper
Euphyes vestris
Wet areas near deciduous forests: meadows, seeps, swamp edges, streams

Larva

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) Common Milkweed, Purple Vetch, Heal-all, Peppermint, Dogbane (poisonous) New Jersey Tea
Dotted Skipper
Hesperia attalus
Short-grassed prairies, Pine barrens, Woodland meadows

Larva

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Fall Witchgrass (Leptoloma cognatum) Prickly Pear Cactus, Alfalfa, Thistles, Purple Coneflower
Leonard’s Skipper
Hesperia leonardus
Open grassy areas: prairies, fields, meadows

Larva

Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae): Little Bluestem, Blue Grama, Bentgrass Blazing Star, Thistles, Asters, Teasel
Meske’s Skipper
Hesperia meskei
Sparse open woods, Grassy areas

Larva

Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), Arrowfeather Threeawn (Aristida purpurascens) Blazing Star, Pickerelweed
Cobweb Skipper
Hesperia metea
Dry, grassy open areas: woods, pine barrens, oak savannah, sandy scrub, burned areas, old pastures

Larva

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
Fiery Skipper
Hylephila phyleus
Sunny, open areas: fields, lawns, gardens, levees, roadsides, second-growth scrub

Pupa

Bermuda Grass, Crabgrass, St. Augustine Grass Sweet Pepperbush, Swamp Milkweed, Asters, Sneezeweed, Knapweed, Ironweed, Thistle
Eufala Skipper
Lerodea eufala
Open, sunny areas: vacant lots, agricultural areas, road edges, lawns

Larva

Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense), Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) Alfalfa, Asters
Clouded Skipper
Lerema accius
Forest edges, Clearings near rivers and swamps

Pupa

St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) Shepherd’s Needle, Heal-all, Vervain, Buttonbush, Lantana
Swarthy Skipper
Nastra lherminier
Grassy open areas: sand barrens, meadows, hillsides, fields

Larva

Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius) Heal-all, Red Clover, Tick Trefoil, Purple Vetch, New Jersey Tea, Peppermint
Neamathla Skipper
Nastra
Ineamathla
Open, moist areas: marsh edges

Pupa

Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae) Various nectar plants
Twin-Spot Skipper
Oligoria maculata
Coastal swamps and pinewoods

Larva

Plants in the Grass Family (Poaceae) Pickerelweed
Ocola Skipper
Panoquina ocola
Low, damp fields and pastures

Pupa

Cultivated Rice (Oryza sativa) Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle, Swamp Milkweed, Buttonbush, Pickerelweed
Salt Marsh Skipper (*)
Panoquina panoquin
Coastal salt or brackish marshes and adjacent fields or wood edges

Larva

Seashore Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) Privet, Sweet Pepperbush, Red Clover, Salt Marsh Fleabane, Blue Mistflower, Thistle, Verbena
Aaron’s Skipper (*)
Poanes aaroni
Coastal salt marshes

Larva

Possibly Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alternifolia var. glabra) Pickerelweed, Salt Marsh Fleabane, Coreopsis
Hobomok Skipper
Poanes hobomok
Openings and edges of damp woods, Edges of bogs, Light gaps along streams, City parks

Larva

Panic Grasses (Panicum spp.), Bluegrasses (Poa spp.) Milkweed, Henbit, Blackberry
Broad-winged Skipper
Poanes viator
Fresh and saltwater marshes

Larva

Reed (Phragmites communis), Wild Rice, Marsh Millet Inland: Swamp Milkweed, Purple Loosestrife, Blue Vervain; Coastal: Dogbane (poisonous), Swamp Milkweed, Pickerelweed, Thistle, Salt Marsh Fleabane
Yehl Skipper
Poanes yehl
Clearings in wet or swampy woodlands

Larva

Cane (Arundinaria spp.) Sweet Pepperbush, Chinquapin, Pickerelweed, Swamp Milkweed
Zabulon Skipper
Poanes zabulon
Brushy openings near moist forests and streams

Larva

Love Grass, Purpletop, Bluegrass, Orchardgrass, Bentgrass Japanese Honeysuckle, Red Clover, Heal-all, Blackberry, Purple Vetch, Common Milkweed, Buttonbush, Joe-Pye Weed, Thistle
Crossline Skipper

Polites origenes

Open grassy areas: prairies, hillsides, barrens, power line cuts, old fields, forest openings

Larva

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
Peck’s Skipper (#)
Polites peckius
Open grassy habitats: meadows, prairies, lawns, marshes, landfills, roadsides, vacant lots, power line right-of-ways

Larva

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
Tawny-edged Skipper
Polites themistocles
Moist grassy areas: prairie swales, pastures, lawns, roadsides, vacant lots

Pupa

Panic Grasses (Panicum sp.), Slender Crabgrass (Digitaria filiformis), Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) Alfalfa, Red Clover, Dogbane, Shrub Houstonia, Purple Coneflower, Thistles, Chicory
Whirlabout
Polites vibex
Scrubby or open habitats: dunes, fields, pinewoods, roadsides, forest openings, yards, parks

Pupa

Bermuda Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Thin Paspalum Shepherd’s Needle, Lantana
Little Glasswing
Pompeius verna
Moist areas near shaded wood edges

Larva

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
Rare Skipper (*)
Problema bulenta
Brackish river marshes, Abandoned rice patties

Larva

Not reported Pickerelweed, Swamp Milkweed
Byssus Skipper
Problema byssus
Edges of coastal marshes

Larva

Eastern Gamma Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides) Pickerelweed
European Skipper (#)
Thymelicus lineola
Open grassy areas: meadows, hayfields, pastures, abandoned homesteads, road edges

Egg

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
Northern Broken-Dash
Wallengrenia egeremet
Opens areas near woods or scrubs

Larva

Panic Grasses (Panicum spp.) White, Pink, Purple Flowers preferred: Dogbane, Red Clover, New Jersey Tea, Sweet Pepperbush
Southern Broken-Dash
Wallengrenia otho
Openings near wooded rivers or swamps

Larva

Paspalum Grass, St. Augustine Grass Pickerelweed, Heal-all, Sweet Pepperbush
Giant-Skippers: Megathyminae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Cofaqui Giant-Skipper
Megathymus cofaqui
Coastal dunes, Pinewoods, Shrubland

Larva

Bear Grass (Yucca filamentosa), Spanish Bayonet (Y. aloifolia), Small’s Yucca (Y. smalliana) Adults do not feed; Males sip moisture from mud
Yucca Giant-Skipper
Megathymus yuccae
Coastal dunes, Open: yucca flats, woodland, grassland, old field

Larva

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
Spread-wing Skippers: Pyrginae Subfamily
Common Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Overwinter Stage
Preferred Host Plants Preferred Nectar Source
Hoary Edge
Achalarus lyciades
Open woodland, Brushy areas, Often pine or oak woods with sandy soils

Pupa

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Ticks, False Indigo, Lespedeza Common Milkweed, Dogbane (poisonous), Buttonbush, Japanese Honeysuckle, New Jersey Tea
Golden Banded-Skipper
Autochton cellus
Damp, wooded ravines with permanent water sources

Pupa

Hog Peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata) Trailing Arbutus, Blackberry, Abelia, Hollyhock
Silver-spotted Skipper
Epargyreus clarus
Disturbed open woods, Foothill stream courses, Prairie waterways

Pupa

Black Locust, Honey Locust, False Indigo Common Milkweed, Red Clover, Buttonbush, Blazing Star, Thistles (almost never visits yellow flowers)
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Erynnis baptisiae
Open woods, Barrens, Highways roadsides, Railroad beds, Upland fields, Areas with crown vetch

Larva

Wild Indigo, Wild Blue Indigo, Lupine Blackberry, Dogbane (poisonous), Sunflower, Crimson Clover
Sleepy Duskywing
Erynnis brizo
Oak or oak-pine scrub, Barrens, On well-drained sandy or shale soils

Larva

Oaks (Quercus spp.) Azalea, Blueberry, Blackberry, Dandelion
Funereal Duskywing (+)
Erynnis funeralis
Warm or arid lowlands, Roadsides

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Horace’s Duskywing
Erynnis horatius
Open woodlands and edges, Clearings, Fencerows, Wooded swamps, Power line right-of-ways, Open fields, Roadsides

Larva

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
Dreamy Duskywing (#)
Erynnis icelus
Woodland opening or edges

Larva

Willow, Poplar, Birch Blueberry, Wild Strawberry, Blackberry, Dogbane, New Jersey Tea, Winter Cress, Purple Vetch, Lupine
Juvenal’s Duskywing
Erynnis juvenalis
Oak woods or scrub with associated edges or fields

Larva

Oaks (Quercus spp.) Winter Cress, Dandelion, Wild Plum, Wisteria, Blueberry, Vetch, Redbud, Lilac
Mottled Duskywing
Erynnis martialis
Open woodland, Barrens, Prairie hills, Open bushy fields

Larva

Plants in the Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae): Wild Liliacs, New Jersey Tea, RedRoot (Ceanothus herbaceus var. pubescens) Bush Houstonia, Gromwell, Hoary Vervain
Zarucco Duskywing
Erynnis zarucco
Wood edges, Open fields, Scrub

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Black Locust, Lespedeza Shepherd’s Needle
Common Sootywing
Pholisora catullus
Open or disturbed areas: landfills, vacant lots, gardens, roadsides, fields, pastures

Larva

Lambsquarter, Amaranth, Cockscomb Dogbane (poisonous), Marjoram, Oxalis, Dutch White Clover, Common Milkweed, Peppermint, Cucumber, Melon
White Checkered- Skipper
Pyrgus albescens
Open sunny areas with low vegetation, Bare soils: prairies, fields, roadsides, yards

Pupa

Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae)- not well reported Various nectar plants
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

Larva

Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Shepherd’s Needle, Fleabane, Asters, Red Clover, Knapweed, Beggar’s Tick
Tropical Checkered- Skipper
Pyrgus oileus
Open, sunny areas: pastures, brushy fields, wooded trails, thorn-scrub, roadsides

Larva

Plants in the Mallow Family (Malvaceae) Shepherd’s Needle
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing
Staphylus hayhurstii
Vacant weed lots, Suburban gardens, Woods: openings, rustic roads, trails

Larva

Plants in the Amaranth Family (Amaranthaceae) Marigold, Knotweed, Spearmint, Wild Marjoram, Cucumber, Dogbane (poisonous), Dutch White Clover
Southern Cloudywing

Thorybes bathyllus

Open scrubby areas: dry meadows, burned areas, dry prairie hills, Power line right-of-ways

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Tick, Lespedeza, Clover Dogbane (poisonous), Heal-all, Vetch, Japanese Honeysuckle, Thistle, Common Milkweed
Confused Cloudywing
Thorybes confusis
Near swamps and marshes, Woods in river valleys

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae) Various nectar plants
Northern Cloudywing
Thorybes pylades
Open or scrubby boreal woodland and forest edges

Larva

Plants in the Pea Family (Fabaceae): Beggar’s Tick, Lespedeza, Clover Dogbane (poisonous), Heal-all, Vetch, Japanese Honeysuckle, Thistle, Hoary Vervain, Common Milkweed
Dorantes Longtail
Urbanus dorantes
Roadsides, Overgrown fields, Wood edges and clearings, Along trails in hardwood hammocks

Larva

Wild and Cultivated Beans (Phaseolus spp.) Shepherd’s Needle, Lantana, Ironweed, Bougainvillea
Long-tailed Skipper
Urbanus proteus
Brushy fields, Edges of woods, Gardens, Open disturbed areas

Larva

Wild and Cultivated Beans (Phaseolus spp.): Hog Peanut, Beggar’s Tick, Wisteria Bougainvillea, Lantana, Shepherd’s Needle
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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