Family Nymphalidae - Brush-Footed Butterflies
Butterflies Home | Butterfly Index | Skipper Butterflies | Moths | Moths Index
This family incorporates the admirals, fritillaries, checkerspots, crescentspots, anglewings, leafwings,
painted ladies, tortoiseshells and longwings. Live butterflies photographed in the wild in the USA.
HackBerry Butterfly
HackBerry Butterfly demonstrates the "four-legged" stance of the Nymphalids
Family Nymphalidae - Brushfoots or brush-footed butterflies encompass approximately 3,000 species worldwide, of which 160 or so live in or visit North America. This is a very diverse family of butterflies, and they occur everywhere except the polar ice caps. Their unifying characteristic is the reduced forelegs of both males and females. These vestigial forelegs are nearly useless for walking and give rise to the family's common name.

The habit of holding the forelegs close to the body is shared with many other insects, including some bumblebees, flies, bugs and beetles. I assume the evolutionary device will eventually lead many species to lose the appendages completely.

Common Wood Nymph
Common Wood Nymph
Little Wood Satyr
Little Wood Satyr
Gray Comma Butterfly
Gray Comma
Eastern Comma Butterfly
Eastern Comma
Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly
Northern Pearly Eye
American Snout Butterfly
American Snout
Painted Lady
Painted Lady
American Painted Lady
American Painted Lady
Buckeye Butterfly - Junonia coenia
Buckeye Butterfly - Junonia coenia
White Peacock Butterfly
White Peacock

Great Orangetip
Great Orangetip

Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
Red Admiral

Pearl Crescent
Goatweed Leafwing Butterfly
Goatweed Leafwing
Common Sailor Butterfly
Common Sailor Butterfly
Cruiser Butterfly
Cruiser Butterfly
Owl Butterfly
Owl Butterfly
Common Morpho Butterfly
Common Morpho
Monarch Butterfly
Monarch
Viceroy Butterfly
Viceroy Butterfly
Queen Butterfly
Queen Butterfly
Subfamily Danainae - The Milkweed Butterflies & Glasswings consist of 400 species, only four of which reside in North America. The monarch is the most famous of this family, known for its soaring flight and yearly migration. Most species' caterpillars feed on the toxic milkweed plant, imparting a bitter flavor to the adult butterfly which is distasteful to birds. The viceroy butterfly is not a member of this family, but mimics the monarch.
Gulf Fritillary Butterfly
Gulf Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary

Meadow Fitillary

Variegated Fritillary
Subfamily Heliconiinae - Heliconians and Fritillaries can be divided into 45-50 genera and were sometimes treated as a separate family (Heliconiidae) within the Papilionoidea.

Most longwings are found in the Tropics, particularly in South America; only the Argynnini are quite diverse in the Holarctic. Especially tropical species feed on poisonous plants, characteristically Passifloraceae vines, as larvae, becoming poisonous themselves. The adult butterflies announce their acquired toxicity with strong aposematic colors, warning off would-be predators. There are several famous cases of Batesian and Müllerian mimicry both within this group and with other butterflies. Other common foodplants are Fabaceae (which also contain several toxic species), and particularly among northernly species, Violaceae [4].
Eleuchia Longwing
Eleuchia Longwing

Silver-Bordered Fritillary
Postman Butterfly
Postman Butterfly
Cydno Longwing
Cydno Longwing
References
  1. Bugguide.net, Family Nymphalidae
  2. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders Chanticleer Press 1980
  3. Eric Eaton & Ken Kaufman, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
  4. Arthur Evans, National Wildlife Federation Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.
Custom Search
Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.
Learn to identify many of the American Midwest's common species through descriptions and large diagnostic photos of live, wild specimens.
Butterfly Index | Moth Pictures | Moths Index | Skipper Butterflies
© Red Planet Inc.