10 Types Of Butterflies In Hawaii

Welcome to Hawaii, where the warm tropical climate and lush vegetation create the perfect habitat for an array of butterfly species. With over 20 species of butterflies found on the islands, you are sure to spot a few during your stay.

In this article, we will explore 10 of the most common and beautiful species of butterflies found in Hawaii.

From the vibrant Kamehameha Butterfly to the majestic Queen Butterfly, each species has its own unique characteristics and beauty.

You will learn about their physical features, habitats, and behaviors, as well as interesting facts about their life cycles and cultural significance.

Key Takeaways

  • Hawaii is home to over 20 species of butterflies, with 10 common and beautiful species explored.
  • The Kamehameha Butterfly is native to Hawaii and plays an important role as a pollinator, while the Blue Moon Butterfly is the rarest species and is threatened by habitat loss and climate change.
  • Monarch Butterflies are year-round residents in Hawaii and have a fascinating life cycle, but their decline could negatively affect the environment. The Gulf Fritillary Butterfly is also a stunning species that lays eggs on host plants.
  • Habitat loss and climate change pose significant threats to butterfly populations, but conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore their habitats in Hawaii. Preserving butterfly species also honors Hawaiian culture and traditions.

1. Kamehameha Butterfly: A Vibrant Beauty

You’re going to love the Kamehameha Butterfly – it’s a stunning sight with its vibrant colors and graceful flight. This butterfly is native to Hawaii and can be found on the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii.

Its scientific name is Vanessa terpsichore and it belongs to the Nymphalidae family.

The Kamehameha Butterfly has a fascinating life cycle. The female lays her eggs on the undersides of leaves, which hatch into caterpillars after a few days.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves and grow to a length of about 2 inches before they form a chrysalis. After about 10 days, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.

The Kamehameha Butterfly’s habitat includes wet and mesic forests, grasslands, and shrublands. It is an important pollinator for many native plants in Hawaii and plays a vital role in the ecosystem.

2. Blue Moon Butterfly: A Rare Find

It’s truly a rare sight to catch a glimpse of the Blue Moon Butterfly fluttering by. This stunning butterfly is one of the rarest butterfly species in Hawaii, with very few sightings reported over the years.

The Blue Moon Butterfly, or Glaucopsyche lygdamus, is a small butterfly with a wingspan of only about an inch. It has a unique appearance, with bright blue wings and an orange spot near the base of each hindwing.

Due to the rarity of sightings, conservation efforts for the Blue Moon Butterfly have been put in place. These efforts include preserving and restoring butterfly habitats in Hawaii, as well as monitoring populations to ensure their survival.

The Blue Moon Butterfly is particularly sensitive to changes in its environment and is threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and the introduction of non-native species.

Despite its rarity, the Blue Moon Butterfly remains an important and beautiful member of Hawaii’s butterfly community, and efforts are being made to protect it for future generations to enjoy.

3. Monarch Butterfly: A Familiar Sight

The Monarch Butterfly is a frequent visitor to gardens and parks, easily recognizable with its vibrant orange and black wings. But did you know that these butterflies have a fascinating life cycle and habitat preferences that are worth exploring?

Here are some interesting facts about Monarch Butterflies in Hawaii:

  • Life Cycle: Monarchs undergo a complete metamorphosis, starting as an egg, then a caterpillar, a chrysalis, and finally, an adult butterfly. The entire process takes about a month to complete.
  • Habitat Preferences: Monarchs are commonly found in open fields, meadows, and gardens. They prefer to lay their eggs on milkweed plants, which serve as the main food source for their caterpillars.
  • Migration: Monarchs are known for their incredible migration, traveling thousands of miles from Canada to Mexico. In Hawaii, however, they do not migrate, and can be found year-round.
  • Conservation Efforts: Monarch Butterflies are currently facing threats to their population due to habitat loss and climate change. In Hawaii, conservation efforts are underway to protect their habitat and promote the planting of milkweed plants.
  • Importance to Ecosystem: Monarch Butterflies serve as important pollinators and are a vital part of the ecosystem. Their decline could have negative effects on the environment, making their conservation efforts crucial.

Exploring the world of Monarch Butterflies in Hawaii can be a fascinating and rewarding experience. By learning more about their life cycle and habitat preferences, we can better understand and appreciate these beautiful creatures and work towards preserving their population for future generations.

4. Orange-patch Butterfly: A Standout Species

Don’t miss out on the vibrant beauty of the Orange-patch Butterfly, a standout species that will take your breath away.

The life cycle of the orange patch butterfly is fascinating and starts with the female laying her eggs on the underside of a leaf. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which feed on the leaves and grow rapidly.

As they mature, the caterpillars form a chrysalis and undergo metamorphosis. Finally, the adult butterfly emerges and takes flight.

The Orange-patch Butterfly is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and parks throughout Hawaii. However, like many other species, it is threatened by habitat loss and climate change.

To ensure the survival of this beautiful species, conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore its natural habitat.

Additionally, the role of butterflies in Hawaiian culture and traditions is significant. They’re seen as symbols of transformation, renewal, and the connection between the natural world and humans.

By preserving the Orange-patch Butterfly and other butterfly species, we’re not only protecting the environment but also honoring Hawaiian culture and traditions.

5. Common Eggfly Butterfly: A Tropical Delight

With its striking black and white markings and vibrant orange spots, the Common Eggfly Butterfly is a true tropical delight. This species is commonly found in Hawaii’s warm and humid climate, thriving in its tropical habitat.

The female Common Eggfly Butterfly lays her eggs on the leaves of its host plant, which could be anything from a citrus tree to a passionflower vine. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which then feed on the leaves of the host plant until they are ready to pupate.

During the pupal stage, the caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis, where it undergoes metamorphosis. After about two weeks, the chrysalis splits open, and the adult butterfly emerges.

The Common Eggfly Butterfly has a wingspan of about 7-9 cm, and its wings are black with white spots and vibrant orange patches.

The male and female of this species have different wing patterns, with the male’s wings having more white spots and less orange patches than the female’s.

Overall, the Common Eggfly Butterfly is a beautiful and intriguing species that adds to the diverse ecosystem of Hawaii.

6. Cabbage White Butterfly: A White-winged Wonder

Get ready to be mesmerized by the graceful flight of the Cabbage White Butterfly, a delicate wonder with white wings.

This species is commonly found in Hawaii, as well as in other parts of the world.

The Cabbage White Butterfly has a relatively short life cycle, which starts as an egg laid on the underside of a leaf. Once hatched, the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of its host plant, which can be various species of mustard or cabbage.

As an adult, the Cabbage White Butterfly feeds on the nectar of flowers and can be seen fluttering around gardens, parks, and open fields.

Its natural habitat includes open spaces with plenty of sunlight and vegetation.

The Cabbage White Butterfly is an important pollinator and plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems.

Overall, this white-winged wonder is a fascinating species to observe and learn about, especially for those with an interest in the natural world.

7. Gulf Fritillary Butterfly: A Colorful Flutterer

You’ll be amazed by the vibrant orange color and delicate flutter of the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, a stunning species commonly found in sunny regions with plenty of flowers and foliage.

This butterfly has a wingspan of 2.5-3 inches and is easily recognized by its striking coloration.

The male Gulf Fritillary is slightly smaller than the female and has more elongated wings with a black spot in the center of each forewing. The female, on the other hand, has rounder wings with more markings.

The Gulf Fritillary Butterfly has a fascinating life cycle. The female lays her eggs on the leaves of host plants, which include passionflowers, maypops, and other members of the Passiflora genus.

The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which feed on the leaves of their host plants before pupating. The pupae resemble dried leaves and are often mistaken for dead foliage.

After two weeks, the adult butterfly emerges from the pupa, ready to mate and begin the cycle anew. With its preference for sunny habitats and a diet of nectar from various flowers, the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly is an important pollinator in many ecosystems.

8. Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly: A Quick and Agile Flier

The Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly, known for its quick and agile flight, can be found in many warm and sunny regions across the Americas.

This butterfly species is known for its long tails, which can be almost as long as its body. The Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly has a distinctive brown and orange coloration, with white spots on its wings.

When it comes to the behavioral habits of the Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly, they’re known for their quick and erratic flight patterns, often making it challenging to observe them.

These butterflies prefer open areas with plenty of sunlight, such as fields, meadows, and gardens. They also have a preference for nectar-rich flowers, which they feed on using their long proboscis.

Overall, the Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly is a fascinating species, with its swift flight and unique appearance making it a delight to observe in its natural habitat.

9. Painted Lady Butterfly: A Migratory Marvel

With its impressive migratory abilities, the Painted Lady butterfly is a marvel of the natural world, traversing great distances to complete its journey.

This species is known for its long-distance migration patterns, which can span thousands of miles across continents and even oceans.

Painted Lady butterflies are found all over the world, with populations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, they’re most commonly found in warm, arid habitats such as deserts and grasslands.

During their migration, they follow specific routes and rely on favorable winds to carry them across vast distances.

They’re able to navigate using a combination of visual cues and the Earth’s magnetic field. Along their journey, they stop to feed on nectar from a variety of flowers and plants.

Despite their incredible abilities, Painted Lady butterflies face several threats, including habitat loss and pesticide use.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect these magnificent creatures and their habitats, so that future generations can continue to marvel at their migratory feats.

10. Queen Butterfly: A Majestic Monarch of the Skies

Get ready to be amazed by the majestic migratory abilities of the Queen butterfly, a true monarch of the skies. This beautiful butterfly, also known as the Danaus gilippus, can be found in Hawaii and throughout the southern United States.

The Queen butterfly is known for its striking orange and black wings, which are adorned with white spots and veins. If you’re lucky enough to spot a Queen butterfly in Hawaii, you may be witnessing one of the many stages of its life cycle.

These butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of milkweed plants, which are vital to their survival. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed on the milkweed leaves, growing larger and larger until they are ready to form a chrysalis.

After a few weeks, the adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and begins the next stage of its life.

The Queen butterfly has specific habitat requirements and can be found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, fields, and gardens.

They prefer areas where milkweed plants are abundant, as this is where they lay their eggs and feed their caterpillars.

If you’re interested in attracting these majestic butterflies to your garden, consider planting milkweed and other native plants that provide food and shelter for these beautiful creatures.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

Other Articles