The full grown morpho rhetenor butterfly, a native to South America.
Glanville fritillary butterfly.
A male Hypolimnas bolina, the Eggfly, or Blue Moon Butterfly.
The Splendeuptychia ackeryi butterfly, or Magdalena valley ringlet, whose distinguishing feature is unusually hairy mouthparts.
The blue morpho butterfly shows off its brightly colored wings when in flight. But at rest, with closed wings, the butterfly reveals a dull brown color that helps the animal blend in with its surroundings.
A museum specimen of the amazonian butterfly, Emerald-patched Cattleheart.
Billions of Butterflies Descend on California
North American monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles to California and Mexico each winter.
Female Bicyclus anynana butterflies had less ornamentation on their wings when they had been raised as caterpillars in wet conditions with lots of nutrients.
Heliconius erato butterflies have evolved photoreceptors in their eyes for detecting UV colors and express UV-yellow pigment on their wings.
Monarch butterflies adorn a thistle. The species is getting walloped by extreme weather.
Some creatures can't pick sides, like this half-male, half-female leopard lacewing butterfly. Dual-sex animals like this one, called gynandromorphs, are also found in birds and crustaceans. This butterfly emerged from its chrysalis at Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens in 2008. Half of its body is male, with a male's orange, black and white wing. The other half is female, with a female's paler wing.
In almost nine years, Reiman Gardens has received about 163,116 pupae to populate its butterfly wing. But this leopard lacewing is the only gynandromorph butterfly to ever emerge. Gynandromorphs likely go unnoticed in species in which males and females look alike, so it is difficult to estimate how frequently they occur.
James Adams, a biology professor, found this gynandromorph tiger swallowtail at Pigeon Mountain in Georgia. But the location doesn’t really matter, he said: "You never go out to look for those because they are genetic anomalies. You happen upon them."
The more brilliant blue male morpho butterfly is shown above, and the female below. Both are on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History to show the difference between males and females – called sexual dimorphism – in the same species of butterfly.
The author Vladimir Nabokov was an unofficial curator of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) for Harvard's research collection, and, in his autobiography, he recounts losing a prized gynandromorph as a child when his governess sat on his collection: "… A precious gynandromorph, left side male, right side female, whose abdomen could not be traced and whose wings had come off, was lost forever: one might re-attach the wings, but one could not prove that all four belong to that headless thorax on its bent pin." Shown above is an unrelated gynandromorph blue morpho butterfly featured in "The Rarest of the Rare: Stories Behind the Treasures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History" (Harper-collins Publishers, 2004).
A yellow form of the female eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly, here at Spruce Knob, W.Va.
The Canadian tiger swallowtail butterfly is found in Canada and bordering areas of the United States.
Male Appalachian tiger swallowtail feeding in Rhododendron flowers atop Spruce Knob, W.Va.
Pipevine swallowtail butterfly in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.
The black female form of the Appalachian tiger swallowtail has the wing pattern of the pipevine swallowtail to evade predators.
A cloud of monarch butterflies flutters above the overwintering colony in Mexico.