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15 Beautiful Butterflies

peacock butterfly

This article contains 15 beautiful butterflies from around the world.

Ulysses Butterfly

ulysses butterfly
CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This stunning butterfly is named after the Greek hero from the epic Odyssey, and it’s easy to see why. With a wingspan of up to 14 cm (5.5 in), the Ulysses butterfly is one of the world’s largest and most striking butterflies.

The upper side of their wings is a vibrant blue colour with a black border. The underside of their wings is black and brown, which helps them blend in with their surroundings when resting. These beautiful butterflies are found in tropical rainforests in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

Glasswinged Butterfly

glasswing butterfly

The glasswinged butterfly, is native to Central and South America. What sets it apart from other butterflies is its transparent wings, which lack the coloured scales found in other butterfly wings. The tissue between their veins looks like glass, giving them their name.

The glasswinged butterfly has a wingspan of 6 – 7 cm (2.4 – 2.7 in). They are difficult to spot in the wild because of their transparent wings, which make it difficult for predators to track them.

Old World Swallowtail

old world swallowtail butterfly

The wings of the old world swallowtail are black with bright yellow markings. The hindwings of the butterfly have blue and red spots, which are visible when the wings are open. The butterfly has a wingspan of 6.5 – 8.6 cm (2.5 – 3.4 in). They are found in the entire Palearctic region.

Emerald Swallowtail

emerald swallowtail butterfly

Emerald swallowtails have a wingspan of up to 10 cm (4 in). A powder of green scales covers the dorsal sides of the wings, and the background varies from dark greenish to black, with broad bright emerald-green metallic bands.

The Emerald Swallowtail butterfly is native to Southeast Asia. They prefer to live in lush, tropical forests and can be found in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.


peacock butterfly

The peacock butterfly is named after its spectacular eyespot pattern, designed to startle or confuse predators. The peacock’s wings are vibrant orange and black, with each wing featuring four large eyespots. The undersides of the wings are very dark and look like dead leaves, providing excellent camouflage when the butterfly is at rest. Males have a wingspan of 6.5 cm (2.5 in), while females have a wingspan of 7 cm (2.8 in).

The peacock butterfly is prevalent across Europe and Asia, where it prefers temperate habitats like woods and open fields. There are two subspecies, one in Europe and another in Japan, Russia, and the Far East.

Giant Swallowtail

giant swallowtail butterfly

The giant swallowtail is easily recognizable by its yellow and black wings, with a distinctive “tail” on each hindwing. The giant swallowtail is the largest butterfly in North America, with males having an average wingspan of 14 cm (5.5 in) and females measuring 14.7 cm (5.8 in).

Marsh Fritillary

marsh fritillary butterfly
Anne Sorbes, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The marsh fritillary is a beautiful butterfly threatened across Europe, including the UK. Its wings are more brightly patterned than those of other fritillaries, with more heavily marked races being found in Scotland and Ireland. They have a wingspan of 3 – 5 cm (1.2 – 2 in). Marsh fritillaries live in damp meadows, fens, and moorland habitats.

Blue Morpho

blue morpho butterfly

The blue morpho butterfly is a stunning creature instantly recognizable by its bright blue wings. The wings are not actually blue but rather appear that way due to the reflection and refraction of light. When the butterfly is at rest, its wings are folded up, revealing a dull brown underside that helps it blend in with its surroundings.

Blue Morphos are found in the rainforests of South and Central America and parts of North America. They prefer to live in the forest’s understory, where they can find plenty of vegetation to feed on. The butterflies are most active during the early morning and late afternoon when the temperature is cooler, and the humidity is higher.

Zebra Longwing

zebra longwing butterfly

The zebra longwing butterfly, also known as the Zebra Heliconian or Heliconius Charithonia, is a beautiful butterfly with elongated, striped black and pale yellow wings.

Zebra longwings are found in most of Florida and some areas of Texas. They are also common in Mexico and Central America. They can be seen year-round in these areas. Zebra longwings prefer to live in open, sunny areas such as fields, meadows, and gardens.

Clouded Yellow

clouded yellow butterfly

The clouded yellow butterfly is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 4.6 – 5.4 cm. The upper side of its wings is bright yellow, while the underside is pale yellow with tiny black dots. The males have more intense yellow wings than the females.

The butterfly has black tips on the forewings and a thin black border on the hindwings. The clouded yellow butterfly is a migratory species that fly to the UK from North Africa and southern Europe.

Orange Oakleaf

orange oak leaf butterfly
Peellden, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The orange oakleaf has a wingspan ranging from 8 – 11 centimetres, and its wings are shaped like dead leaves to help it blend into its surroundings. The upper side of its wings is orange with black spots, while the underside is brown with white spots, mimicking the appearance of a dried-up leaf.

Orange oakleaf butterflies are indigenous to various parts of tropical Asia, stretching from India to Japan. They are also found in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. They are typically found in forests, where they can camouflage themselves among the dead leaves on the forest floor.

Blue Clipper

blue clipper butterfly

With a wingspan of 4.8 – 7.5 cm, the blue clipper butterfly is a large butterfly with stunning blue-coloured wings. Its wings feature a black border, and the female blue clipper butterfly has a white patch on the forewing tip.

This butterfly is mostly found in forested South and Southeast Asia areas, including Bangladesh, Western Ghats, Assam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The Blue Clipper butterfly is a powerful and fast flyer that feeds on the nectar of tropical plants such as Lantana.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

small pearl bordered fritillary butterfly
Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The small pearl-bordered fritillary is an orange and brown butterfly with a row of ‘pearls’ on the underside of its hindwings. It is similar in size to the pearl-bordered fritillary, but it is more widespread and occurs in damper, grassy habitats, woodland clearings, and moorland.

Cramer’s Eighty-eight

cramer's eighty-eight butterfly
Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This butterfly is a species of the Nymphalidae family, and it is known for its striking appearance and fascinating patterns. The wingspan of the Cramer’s eighty-eight is 3 – 4 cm, and the adults are black with a blue band on each wing. The underside of the hindwings is white, with lines that resemble a black-outlined “88”, giving the species its common name.

Southern Birdwing

southern birdwing butterfly
Vengolis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The southern birdwing butterfly is a large and striking butterfly native to South India. With a wingspan of up to 14 – 19 cm (5.5 – 7.5 in), it is the second-largest butterfly in India. The butterfly has black, white, and yellow colours that create a beautiful combination. The wings are angular and bird-like, which is where the butterfly gets its name.

The southern birdwing butterfly is found in the Western Ghats of India, a mountain range that runs along the country’s western coast. The butterfly prefers to live in the forested areas of the mountains, but it can also be found in the surrounding areas. The butterfly is also known as the Sahyadri birdwing because it is found in the Sahyadri mountain range.

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