THE BUTTERFLIES OF HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND

A Biological Summary and Checklist in Phylogenetic Order by Richard H. Smith.

In addition to entertaining us with their bright colors and interesting life histories, butterflies serve as easily observed indicators of the biotic diversity and the true degree of unaltered natural environment retained in local areas. This is due to their attachment to an array of specialized host plants and to their notable sensitivity to environmental disturbances and introduced chemical agents during the larval stage. Thus, the variety of butterfly species obtained from a local survey and photographic record can contribute to an environmental understanding, and the survey and photographic activity can offer a pleasant pastime and beautiful photo-record for sunny spring and summer days spent outdoors.

The information below has been adapted from the trifold The Butterflies of Howard County, Maryland: A Biological Summary and Checklist (rev. 3/12) by Richard Smith with additional comments by the author. For a PDF version, click HERE.

Click on one of the major phylogenetic group names to go to that section OR on a specific name to go directly to that species. For a particular species, click on the common name to obtain additional information from the Butterflies and Moths of North America web page or click on the thumbnail to go to a page with more photos of that species. BugGuide is another web resource.This page will be updated periodically. When possible, males and females will be noted (since they may look different). For the list of butterfly species photos still needed, go to Photos still needed!

GO TO THUMBNAILS

29zabulonskippersmaleandfemale_wincopintrail_august11-DSCN6254 (62K)
Zabulon female (above) & male (below)
August 12, 2012
Wincopin Trail
Annette Allor

(Go to long PDF version)
Spread-winged Skippers
SOCL
Grass-Skippers
Fiery Skipper
Swallowtails
Black Swallowtail
Whites & Sulphurs
Sleepy Orange
Gossamer wings
Gray Hairstreak
Brushfoots
Great Spangled Fritillary
Satyrs
Little Wood Satyr
Milkweed Butterflies
89Monarch4931101409_ccdcb75dc0_b
Major groups are separated by a wide yellow banner. Click on one of the major phylogenetic group names to go to that section.
For a particular species, click on the common name to obtain additional information from the Butterflies and Moths of North America web page.
Species caption line: Cell 1: Species common name (followed by the wingspan range in inches). Cell 2: Occurrence level & flight period. Cell 3: Habitat. Cell 4: Typically visits (for nectaring). Cell 5: Larval host plants.
Place name abbreviations: MPEA - Middle Patuxent Environment Area; PRSP - Patuxent River State Park; PVSP - Patapsco River Valley State Park; UMDCF - University of Maryland Central Farm.

Click on the photo to go to another page with more photos of the species.



Spread-winged Skippers

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Silver-spotted Skipper
(1.75–2.7")
Common: May-Sep
Open woods, fields, gardens
Variety of flowers
Locusts, tick trefoils, wisteria
SSSK

August 22, 2006
Swansfield (Columbia)
June Tveekrem

Long-tailed Skipper
(1.75–2.3")
Rare: Aug-Sep
Gardens, open roadsides
Variety of flowers
Beans, legume vines
LTSK

September 5, 2012
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Southern Cloudywing
(1.3–1.8")
Uncommon: L-May to M-Aug
Dry fields at woods edges
Indian hemp (dogbane)
Tick trefoils, bush clover
SOCL

August 7, 2013
Murray Hill
Linda Hunt

Northern Cloudywing
(1.25–1.8")
Uncommon: M-Jun to E-Jul
Dry fields at woods edges
Indian hemp (dogbane)
Tick trefoils, bush clover
NOCL

June 8, 2013
Marriottsville Road (PVSP)
Annette Allor

Juvenal's Duskywing
(1.25–1.9")
Common: M-Apr to L-May
Woods trails & edges
Mud puddles
Red oaks, white oaks
JUDU

April 7, 2012
Wincopin Trail
Annette Allor

Horace's Duskywing
(1.4–1.9")
Common: L-Apr to E-Sep
Woods (May); marshes (Jul)
Buttonbush
Red oaks, white oaks
HODU

Male
July 5, 2012
Ellicott City
Cathy Litzinger

Wild Indigo Duskywing
(1.3–1.7")
Common: Jun, Aug to E-Sep
Open areas, powerline cuts
Variety of flowers
Wild indigo & crown vetch
WIDU

September 8, 2006
Centennial Park
June Tveekrem

Common Checkered-Skipper (1–1.5")
Uncommon: L-Aug to E-Oct
Open, weedy areas
White clover
Mallows, hollyhocks
CHSK

September 18, 2010
Rockburn Branch Park
Bonnie Ott

Common Sootywing
(1–1.3")
Uncommon: May to Aug
Gardens & fields
White sweet clover
Lamb's quarters
COSO

July 25, 2012
UMDCF
Annette Allor

Grass-Skippers

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Swarthy Skipper
(1–1.2")
Uncommon: Jun, Aug & Sep
Dry fields with broomsedge
Low grassblades
Little bluestem beardgrass
SWSK

June 26, 2013
Gateway Business Park
Linda Hunt

Clouded Skipper
(1.25–1.75")
Rare: L-Aug & Sep
Brushy wet meadows
New York ironweed
Woolly beardgrass
CLSK

Male
August 22, 2012
Elkhorn Garden Plots
Allen Lewis

Least Skipper
(0.8–1.2")
Common: L-May to E-Oct
Grassy stream edges
Broad grass blades
Bluegrass, rice cutgrass
LESK

April 23, 2011
Patuxent Branch Trail
Wesley Earp

Fiery Skipper
(1.25–1.5")
Uncommon: L-Aug to M-Sep
Marshy areas
Tickseed sunflower
Crabgrass, Bermuda grass
FISK

Male
September 19, 2010
Mount Pleasant
Bonnie Ott

Peck's Skipper
(1–1.25")
Common: May to M-Jun, Aug
Wet Meadows
New York Ironweed
Rice cutgrass
PESK

July 17, 2012
Jessup (Preston Ct)
Bob Solem

Tawny-edged Skipper
(0.8–1.5")
Uncommon: L-May & Aug
Wet Meadows
New York Ironweed
Panic grasses
TESK

Male
July 24, 2012
Meadowbrook Park
Bonnie Ott

Crossline Skipper
(1.1–1.5")
Abundant: Jun to L-Jul, Sep
Wet meadows, dry hillsides
Swamp milkweed
Purpletop grass
CRSK

September 2, 2013
Murray Hill powerline
Linda Hunt

Southern Broken-Dash
(1–1.2")
Rare: L-May to E-Jun, Aug
Open areas near wooded swamps & rivers
Thistles, milkweed, dogbane
Paspalum, large crabgrass, other grasses
SOBD

August 3, 2012
Columbia
Annette Allor

Northern Broken-Dash
(1–1.25")
Uncommon: M-Jun to E-Aug
Weedy fields
Indian hemp, milkweed
Panic grasses
NOBD

June 24, 2013
Hippsely Mill Road
Allen Lewis

Little Glassywing
(1.1–1.5")
Common: M-Jun to Aug
Wet meadows & woods edges
New York Ironweed
Purpletop grass
LIGL

June 6, 2012
Mount Pleasant
Annette Allor

Sachem
(1.25–1.7")
Abundant: M-Jul thru Sep
Lawns, fields, & marshes
Tickseed sunflower
Crabgrass, Bermuda grass
SACH

> September 22, 2011
Font Hill Wetland Park
Annette Allor

Mulberry Wing
(1.1–1.5")
Uncommon: E to M-Jul
Interiors of sedge marshes
Swamp milkweed
Tussock sedge
MUWI

July 1, 2012
Woodbine
Annette Allor

Hobomok Skipper
(1–1.7")
Uncommon: L-May to M-Jun
Woods trails & edges
Blackberry blossoms
Panic grass, bluegrass
HOSK

July 28, 2008
Marriottsville Road(PVSP)
June Tveekrem

Zabulon Skipper
(1.3–1.7")
Common: L-May to Jun, Aug
Woods trails & edges
Leaf & branch tips
Purpletop grass, lovegrass
ZASK

August 11, 2013
Ellicott City
Jeff Culler

Broad-winged Skipper
(1.2–2.3")
Rare: L-Jun to E-Jul
Fresh & brackish marshes
Buttonbush, milkweeds
Phragmites,wild rice, marsh millet
BRSK

July 28, 2011
Lake Elkhorn (powerlines)
Allen Lewis

Dun Skipper
(1.1–1.4")
Uncommon: L-Jun to Jul, Aug
Marsh edges
Common milkweed
Sedges, grasses
DNSK

Female
June 29, 2013
Patuxent River State Park
Richard Smith

Dusted Skipper
(1.25–1.7")
Rare: L-May
Dry fields with beardgrass
Low grassblades
Little bluestem beardgrass
DUSK

May 23, 2014
Murray Hill
Linda Hunt

Ocola Skipper
(1.3–1.7")
Rare: L-Aug, Sep
Wet meadows
New York ironweed
Grasses
OCSK

August 16, 2012
UMDCF
Nancy Magnusson

Swallowtails

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Pipevine Swallowtail
(2.75–5")
Uncommon: L-Jun & L-Jul
Fields & marshes near woods
Swamp milkweed
Dutchman's pipe, Va. snakeroot
PISW

Male
July 11, 2013
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Zebra Swallowtail
(2.5–4")
Uncommon: L-Apr & E-Jul
River edges
Highbush blueberry
Pawpaw
ZESW

May 8, 2005
Old Frederick Road (PVSP)
Kevin Heffernan

Black Swallowtail
(3.25–4.25")
Uncommon: May thru Aug
Open, weedy fields & marshes
Common milkweed
Queen Anne's lace, parsley
BLSW

August 16, 2012
UMDCF
Jo Solem

Giant Swallowtail
(4–6.2")
Rare: May thru Aug
Open, weedy fields
Swamp milkweed, Japanese Honeysuckele, goldenrod
Common Rue
GISW

September 3, 2012
Columbia
John KcKitterick

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (3.6–6.5")
Common/Abundant: E-May, Aug
Fields & gardens
Joe-Pye weed, thistles
Tulip popular & wild cherry
TISW

Male
April 19, 2010
Wincopin Trails
Richard Orr

Spicebush Swallowtail
(3–4")
Common: E-May to E-Sep
Woods trails, edges & gardens
Joe-Pye weed, thistles
Spicebush & sassafras
SPSW

Male
July 22, 2010
Annapolis Rock (PRSP)
Scott Berglund

Whites & Sulphurs

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Checkered White
(1.5–2.5")
Rare: L-Jun to L-Aug
Trails in open weedy areas
White clover
Peppergrass, shepherd's purse
CHWH

June 28, 2008
Long Corner (PRSP)
J.B. Churchill

Cabbage White
(1.75–2.25")
Abundant: L-Mar thru Oct
Fields & woods trails
Canada thistle
Crucifers (mustards & cabbage)
CAWH

Male
July 18, 2012
MPEA
Bob Solem

Falcate Orangetip
(1.35–1.75")
Uncommon: L-Apr to E-May
Open woods
Mustards
Rock cress
FAOR

Male
April 28, 2013
Robinson Nature Center
Linda Hunt

Clouded Sulphur
(1.5–2.75")
Common: E-Apr thru E-Nov
Open woods, clover fields
Clover blossoms
Clovers
CLSU

September 19, 2010
Ellicott City
Bonnie Ott

Orange Sulphur
(1.3–2.75")
Common/Abundant: L-Apr thru E-Nov
Open fields, alfalfa fields
Red clover
Clovers & vetches
ORSU

Male
June 2, 2012
UMDCF
Bonnie Ott

Cloudless Sulphur
(2.25–3.1")
Rare: L Aug - M Sep
Open fields
Senna, partridge pea
Sennas
CSSU

August 10, 2012
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Little Yellow
(1.25–1.75")
Uncommon/Rare: L-Aug to E-Sep
Sandy fields & hillsides
Sennas, partridge pea
Sennas
LIYE

September 22, 2010
Gateway Industrial Park
Jim Wilkinson

Sleepy Orange
(1.3–2.25")
Uncommon/Rare: E-Sep
Field & river edges
Wild senna
Wild senna
SLOR

Male
October 4, 2011
Elkhorn Garden Plots
Bob Solem

Dainty Sulphur
(1.25–1.75")
Uncommon/Rare: L-Aug to E-Sep
Sandy fields & hillsides
Sennas, partridge pea
Sennas
DASU

October 25, 2012
Patuxent Branch Trail
Linda Hunt

Gossamer-wings

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Harvester (1.1–1.25")
Rare: Jun & Aug
Wet, bushy woods trails
Mud puddles near alders and beech
Larvae feed on wooly aphids
HARV

June 6, 2014
Rockburn Branch Park
Annette Allor

American Copper
(0.75–1.4")
Uncommon: Jun thru Aug
Weedy, grassy fields
White clover
Sheep sorrel
AMCO

September 4, 2011
UMDCF
Bonnie Ott

Bronze Copper
(1.25–1.9")
Rare: L May - & M-Aug
Marshes & wet meadows
Indian hemp (dogbane)
Water dock & curled dock
BRCO

Historical Record
July 21, 1996
UMDCF
Jo Solem

Coral Hairstreak
(1–1.5")
Rare: L-Jun
Old fields, powerline cuts
Butterflyweed
Wild cherry, chokecherry
COHA

June 15, 2013
Patuxent River State Park
Jay Sheppard

Banded Hairstreak
(1–1.5")
Uncommon: M to L-Jun
Woods trails & edges
Indian hemp, milkweed
Various oaks
BAHA

June 15, 2009
Wincopin Trail (Savage)
Bob Solem

Striped Hairstreak
(1–1.5")
Rare: L-Jun
Swamp & marsh edges
Indian hemp, N.J. tea
Blueberry, hawthorn
STHA

June 29, 2013
Patuxent River State Park
Richard Smith

Red-Banded Hairstreak (0.85–1.25")
Uncommon: L-May & Aug
Woods edges, brushy areas
Leaf tips, Indian hemp
Fallen leaves of sumacs & oaks
RBHA

August 3, 2006
Swansfield (Columbia)
June Tveekrem

Juniper Hairstreak
(1–1.25")
Rare: L-Apr & M-Jul
Mature red cedar groves
Red cedar treetops
Red cedar
JUHA

April 1, 2012
Mount Pleasant
Annette Allor

Brown Elfin
(0.8–1.1")
Rare: L-Apr
Woods trails & edges
Laurel leaves
Huckleberry
BREL

May 1, 2001
Bon Secours
Jo Solem

Eastern Pine Elfin
(1–1.25")
Rare: L-Apr to E-Jun
Open scrub pine groves
Pussytoes
Various hard pines
EPEL

June 11, 2013
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

'Northern' Oak Hairstreak (0.9–1.5")
Very rare: M-Jun
Wood edges
Indian hemp (dogbane)
Oak woodlands and edges
OAHA

May 23, 2012
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

White M Hairstreak
(1.25–1.7")
Rare: L-Apr, Aug-Sep
Woods clearings & edges
Lance-leaved goldenrod
Oaks
WMHA

August 28, 2011
Centennial Park
Danielle Allor

Gray Hairstreak
(0.85–1.4")
Common: L-Apr to E-Oct
Open fields & roadsides
White clover, trefoils
Tick trefoil, vetch, clovers
GRHA

July 15, 2010
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Eastern Tailed-Blue
(0.8–1.2")
Abundant: L-Apr to E-Oct
Open fields & roadsides
White clover, trefoils
Beggar's-ticks, clovers
ETBL

Male
April 11, 2006
Centennial Park
June Tveekrem

Spring Azure
(0.8–1.4")
Common: E-Apr to E-May
Woods trails & edges
Mud puddles
Dogwood, wild cherry
SPAZ

Female
April 14, 2013
Ellicott City
Kurt Schwarz

Summer Azure
(0.9–1.2")
Common: L-May thru E-Oct
Woods trails & edges
Mud puddles
Viburnum, wingstem
SUAZ

September 29, 2012
MPEA
Kurt Schwarz

Brushfoots

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American Snout
(1.4–2")
Rare: E-Jul to M-Sep
Roadsides, woods edges
Mud puddles
AMSN

September 2, 2013
Murray Hill powerlines
Linda Hunt

Variegated Fritillary
(1.75–3.2")
Common: Aug to M-Oct
Dry fields & gardens
Red clover, pansies
Violets & pansies
VAFR

June 3, 2011
Sykesville/River Road (PVSP)
Kevin Heffernan

Great Spangled Fritillary
(2.5–4")
Common: M-Jun to E-Sep
Fields & gardens
Milkweeds, thistles
Yellow & blue violets
GSFR

June 2, 2012
Mt Pleasant
Annette Allor

Meadow Fritillary
(1.3–2")
Uncommon: Apr, Jun & E-Sep
Grassy wet meadows
Indian hemp, spearmint
Wooly blue violets
MEFR

Male
July 15, 2010
Poplar Springs Park
Sue Muller

Silvery Checkerspot
(1.4–2")
Rare: E-Jun to Aug
Wood trails along rivers
Sunflower
Wingstem & wild sunflower
SICH

September 15, 2012
Carroll Mill Road
Dick Smith

Pearl Crescent
1.25–1.75"
Abundant: E-May to E-Nov
Fields & gardens
Butterflyweed, milkweed
Various asters
PECR

September 22, 2011
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Baltimore Checkerspot
(1.75–2.75")
Rare: M-Jun
Interiors of marshes
Grassblades, daisies
Turtlehead
BACH

June 29, 2009
Marriottsville Road (PVSP)
Bill Sherman

Question Mark
(2.25–3")
Uncommon: Apr, Jun & E-Sep
Woods, roads
Rotting fruit & sap
Nettles, elm, hackberry
QUMA

July 19, 2003
MPEA
Cheryl Farfaras

Eastern Comma
(1.75–2.5")
Uncommon: Apr, Jun & E-Sep
Woods, roads
Rotting fruit & sap
Nettles, elm, hops
EACO

October 4, 2009
Western Regional Park
June Tveekrem

Mourning Cloak
(2.25–4")
Uncommon: E-Apr, Jun & Sep
Woods, roads
Rotting fruit & sap
Willow, elm, cottonwood
MOCL

June 14, 2012
High Ridge Park
Harry Fink

American Lady
(1.75–2.7")
Common: L-Apr thru Sep
Weedy fields
Milkweed, Indian hemp
Everlasting & pussytoes
AMLA

July 26, 2007
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Painted Lady
(2–2.9")
Common: L-Apr, Jun to Sep
Weedy fields
Thistles, milkweed
Thistles, mallows
PALA

August 21, 2010
Ellicott City
Kathy Litzinger

Red Admiral
(1.75–3")
Uncommon: L-May to E-Sep
Woods trails & edges
Joe-Pye weed
Nettles
READ

May 15, 2010
Sykesville/River Road (PVSP)
Bonnie Ott

Common Buckeye
(1.6–2.75")
Common: L-May thru E-Oct
Dry weedy fields
Lance-leaved goldenrod
Plantain, foxglove
COBU

August 23, 2006
Centennial Park
June Tveekrem

Red-spotted Purple
(2.25–4")
Common: L-May to M-Sep
Wet woods roads
Wet spots, rotting fruit
Wild cherry, poplar, aspen
RSPU

July 20, 2011
Daniels Road (PVSP)
Richard Orr

Viceroy
(2.5–3.4")
Uncommon: L-May to M-Sep
Pond & stream edges
Willow leaves
Willows & poplars
VICE

August 26, 2011
Pigtail (Triadelphia Reservoir)
Richard Orr

Hackberry Emperor
(1.3–2.5")
Rare: M-Jun & M-Aug
Woods trails & edges
Wet spots
Hackberry
HAEM

July 15, 2008
Centennial Park
Sue Muller

Satyrs

Click on the photo to go to another page with more photos of the species.
Northern Pearly-eye
(1.75–2.7")
Uncommon: E-Jun & M-Aug
Damp, grassy woods trails
Mud puddles
Bottlebrush & plume grass
NOPE

September 3, 2009
Houchen's, Patapsco River
Bonnie Ott

Appalachian Brown
(1.8–2.25")
Common: Jun & Aug
Interiors of bushy marshes
Alder leaves
Sedges
APBR

July 5, 2009
Columbia
June Tveekrem

Little Wood-Satyr
(1.5–1.9")
Common: L-May thru Jun
Brushy woods edges
Low shiny leaves
Orchard grass
LIWS

June 1, 2007
High Ridge Park
Susan Earp

Common Wood-Nymph
(1.75–3")
Uncommon: Jul & Aug
Dry grassy fields near woods
Tree trunks
Grasses, including purpletop
COWN

September 8, 2012
Gateway Industrial Park
Jim Wilkinson

Milkweed Butterflies

Click on the photo to go to another page with more photos of the species.
Monarch
(3.3–4.9")
Common: May to M-Oct
Open meadows
Milkweed & goldenrods
Milkweed
MONO

Male
September 12, 2008
Columbia
Cheryl Farfaras

Photos Still Needed

To download a PDF copy of this list of photos needed, click HERE.

We welcome submissions of butterfly photos taken in Howard County.

Email submissions (originals, unmodified except possible cropping) as attachment to email to Howard County Bird Club. Please include your name, date of photo, and location.
(More information and views of these species are available by clicking on the species name.)

Hoary Edge (1.75–1.9") Rare: M-Jun to E-Jul Fields & forest edges Red clover, milkweed Tick trefoils
Hayhurst's Scallopwing (1–1.25") Rare: L-Jul to M-Aug Woods edges along streams Burdock Lamb's quarters
Dreamy Duskywing (1.1–1.5") Uncommon: E-May to E-Jun Dry fields & woods trails Mud puddles Willows, poplars, aspens
Sleepy Duskywing (1.25–1.75") Uncommon: M-Apr to E-May Woods trails & edges Mud puddles Scrub oak
European Skipper (1–1.2") Uncommon: M to L-Jun Fields with tall grass Purple vetch Timothy grass
Tawny Emperor (1.6–2.75") Rare/Extirpated:
M-Jun to M-Aug
Wood trails & edges Wet spots Hackberry

Need current photos of Bronze Copper.


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