Unless otherwise noted, information contained in each edition of the Kansas School Naturalist reflects the knowledge of the subject as of the original date of publication.

KSN - Vol 37, No 4 - April 1991: Checklist of Kansas ButterfliesVolume 37, Number 4 - April 1991

Checklist of Kansas Butterflies

by Marvin Schwilling and Charles A. Ely


ISSN: 0022-877X





Editors Emeritus:


Circulation and Mailing: ROGER FERGUSON

Circulation (this issue): 3100

Printed by: ESU Press

Online edition by: TERRI WEAST

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The Kansas School Naturalist is published four times during each year. Editorial Office and Publication Office is at 1200 Commercial Street, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS 66801-5087. The Kansas School Naturalist is edited and published by Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Editor: John Richard Schrock, Division of Biological Sciences. Third class postage paid at Emporia, Kansas.

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This special color issue was made possible through contributions to the Kansas School Naturalist Endowment Account. The editorial committee wishes to thank the many readers who have contributed to the KSN fund over the years. While we will continue to provide a valuable "no-frills" publication to teachers, librarians and others free upon request, contributions to the KSN Endowment Account will allow us to cover the additional cost of color printing for issues such as this. If you wish to support the Kansas School Naturalist, please address your contribution to: Kansas School Naturalist Endowment Fund, ESU Endowment Association, ESU Box 2, Emporia, KS 66801.


Marvin Schwilling is a native of Chase County Kansas and graduated from Colorado State University. He retired from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in 1989, where he had worked 37 years. He managed the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Management Area for 14 years and was most recently assigned to the nongame, threatened and endangered species program. Mr. Schwilling has authored two other issues of the Kansas School Naturalist, including "Kansas Nongame and Endangered Wildlife" in 1981 and "Cheyenne Bottoms" in 1985; both are now out-of-print.

Charles A. Ely was reared in Pennsylvania and began work in Kansas in 1960 after completing his doctoral work at the University of Oklahoma. He is presently Interim Chair, Department of Biological Sciences and Allied Health at Fort Hays State University and Curator of Birds and Insects in the Museum of the High Plains. In 1979 he organized an extensive survey of the butterflies of Kansas with Marvin Schwilling and Marvin Rolfs (a retired Math professor at FHSU). His most extensive research is with birds of Kansas and Mexico.



by Marvin Schwilling and Charles A. Ely

I. Introduction

Butterflies can justly be referred to as jewels of our natural world. No segment of wildlife in the natural world can surpass them in sparkling color and diversity. Beautiful in form, coloration and pattern, their paintings and photographs have adorned our jewelry, magazines, clothing, wallpaper, coffee mugs, and much more.
However, the average person has little knowledge, other than a general awareness of their existence, about butterflies.

Most butterflies live through the winter in larval or egg stages. The larval form of the viceroy butterfly rolls up in a leaf and hibernates. Others, such as the mourning cloak and red admiral, hibernate during the winter as adults under loose bark or in tree cavities.

Butterflies are acutely sensitive to toxins and pesticides. Their diversity and relative abundance is an excellent indicator of the health of our ecosystem. A healthy environment has a large number and wide array of butterfly species.

This checklist of Kansas butterflies serves several functions. The numbered colored illustrations will help elementary students and teachers identify the more common butterflies of Kansas. And the full-citation checklist provides an updated accurate listing for research entomologists. This checklist is based on An Annotated List ofthe Butterflies of Kansas by Charles A. Ely, Marvin D. Schwilling and Marvin E. Rolfs available for $8.00 from the Museum of the High Plains, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601. The numbers here correspond to that publication which includes range maps for butterflies in the state. The order of names within each family reflects our understanding of the relatedness of the species. An additional seven species of butterflies have been added since the annotated list and are inserted here. The color illustrations were photographed primarily from the collections of Marvin Schwilling and Fort Hays State University.

Butterflies are divided into two superfamilies--the skippers and the true butterflies. These superfamilies are further broken down into families, genera and species.

Skippers are small butterflies. Most are tawny orange, brown, black or gray. They are heavy bodied, big-headed, compact and hairy with short triangular wings. The club of the antenna has a slender recurved tip. The name skipper is derived from their rapid skipping flight. Of the 182 species of butterflies recorded in Kansas, 61 are skippers.


1. Epargyreus clarus (Cramer) 1775. Silver-spotted Skipper

2. Urbanus proteus (Linnaeus) 1758. Long-tailed Skipper

3. Achalarns lyciades (Geyer) 1832. Hoary-edged Skipper

4. Thorybes bathyllus (J.E. Smith) 1797. Southern Cloudywing

5. Thorybes pylades (Scudder) 1870. Northern Cloudywing

6. Thorybes confusis Bell 1922. Confused Cloudywing

7. Staphylus hayhurstii (W.H. Edwards) 1870. Scalloped Sootywing

8. Achlyodes thraso (Hubner) 1807. Sickle-winged Skipper

9. Grais stigmaticus (Mabille) 1883. Stigmatic Duskywing

10. Chiomara asychis (Stoll) 1780. Asych's Skipper

11. Erynnis brizo (Boisduval & LeConte) 1834. Sleepy Duskywing

12. Erynnis juvenalis (Fabricius) 1793. Juvenal Duskywing

13. Erynnis horatius (Scudder & Burgess) 1870. Horace's Duskywing

14. Erynnis martialis (Scudder) 1869. Mottled Duskywing

15. Erynnis funeralis (Scudder & Burgess) 1870. Funeral Duskywing 

16. Erynnis lucilius (Scudder & Burgess) 1870. Columbine Duskywing

17. Erynnis baptisiae (Forbes) 1936. Baptisia Duskywing

18. Erynnis afranius (Lintner) 1876. Afranius Duskywing

19. Erynnis persius (Scudder) 1863. Persius Duskywing

20. Pyrgus communis (Grote) 1872. Checkered Skipper

21. Pholisora catullus (Fabricius) 1793. Common Sootywing 

22. Piruna pirus (W.H. Edwards) 1878. Pirus Skipperling 

23. Nastra lherminier (Latreille) 1824. Swarthy Skipper 

23a. Lerema accius (J.E. Smith) 1797. Clouded Skipper 

24. Ancyloxypha numitor (Fabricius) 1793. Eastern Least Skipper

25. Copaeodes aurantiaca (Hewitson) 1868. Orange Skipperling

26. Hylephila phyleus (Drury) 1773. Fiery Skipper 

27. Yvretta rhesus (W.H. Edwards) 1878. Rhesus Skipper 

28. Hesperia uncas W.H. Edwards 1863. Uncas Skipper

29. Hesperia ottoe W.H. Edwards 1866. OUoe Skipper

30. Hesperia leonardus Harris 1862. Leonard's Skipper 

31. Hesperia pahaska (Leussler) 1938. Pahaska Skipper 

32. Hesperia metea Scudder 1864. Cobweb Skipper 

33. Hesperia viridis (W.H. Edwards) 1883. Green Skipper 

34. Hesperia attalus (W.H. Edwards) 1871. Dotted Skipper 

35. Polites coras (Cramer) 1775. Yellow-patch Skipper 

36. Polites themistocles (Latreille) 1824. Tawny-edged Skipper 

37. Polites origenes (Fabricius) 1793. Crossline Skipper 

38. Wallengrenia otho (J.E. Smith) 1797. Broken-dash Skipper 

39. Wallengrenia egeremet (Scudder) 1864. Northern Broken-dash 

40. Pompeius verna (W.H. Edwards) 1862. Little Glassywing 

41. Atalopedes campestris (Boisduval) 1852. Sachem Skipper 

42. Atrytone arogos (Boisduval & LeConte) 1834. Arogos Skipper 

43. Atrytone logan (W.H. Edwards) 1863. Delaware Skipper 

44. Problema byssus (W.H. Edwards) 1880. Byssus Skipper 

45. Poanes hobomok (Harris) 1862. Hobomok Skipper 

46. Poanes zabulon (Boisduval & LeConte) 1834. Zabulon Skipper 

47. Euphyes dion (W.H. Edwards) 1879. Sedge Skipper 

48. Euphyes ruricola (Boisduval) 1852. Dun Skipper 

49. Atrytonopsis hianna (Scudder) 1868. Dusted Skipper 

50. Amblyscirtes aenus W.H. Edwards 1868. Aenus Skipper 

51. Amblyscirtes oslari (Skinner) 1899. Oslar's Skipper

52. Amblyscirtes erna HA. Freeman 1943. Ema Skipper 

53. Amblyscirtes nysa (W.H. Edwards) 1877. Mottled Skipper

54. Amblyscirtes eos (W.H. Edwards) 1871. Eos Skipper

55. Amblyscirtes vialis (W.H. Edwards) 1862. Roadside Skipper

56. Amblyscirtes belli HA. Freeman 1941. Bell's Skipper

57. Lerodea eufala (W.H. Edwards) 1869. Eufala Skipper 

58. Calpodes ethlius (Stoll) 1782. Brazilian Skipper 

59. Megathymus colorademsis C.V. Riley 1877. Colorado Yucca Skipper 

60. Megathymus texanus Barnes & McDunnough 1912. Giant Skipper

Henry SKINNER (1861-1926) was trained as a gynecologist but abandoned medicine to study butterflies in 1900. Curating insect collections at the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Skinner traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada to collect specimens. He specialized in skipper butterflies where his name appears as author of many species.

William Henry EDWARDS (1822-1909) grew up on a 1200-acre farm in the Catskills. Butterflies were a serious hobby to the successful landowner, railroadbuilder and coal-mine operator. He published the classic "The Butterflies of North America" in three volumes (1872, 1884 and 1897). Edwards could not afford to publish the last volume and Dr. W. J. Holland paid for its publication in return for Edwards' collection. This insured that .the type specimens of the new species described by Edwards would remain in America. W. J. Holland was Director of the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. While Edwards' 3-volume work cost a prohibitive $150, Holland soon published the less technical The Butterfly Book in 1898 with 48 color plates for just $5.00.

FAMILY PAPILIONIDAE Swallowtail Butterflies

Swallowtails are true butterflies and include the largest of our Kansas butterflies. These butterflies tend to have narrow bodies, long antennae, and brightly colored fuil wings with tailed hind wings. The giant swallowtail and zebra swallowtail are in this small group and are favored by collectors.

61. Battus philenor (Linnaeus) 1771. Pipevine Swallowtail

62. Eurytides marcellus (Cramer) 1777. Zebra Swallowtail

63. Papilio polyxenes Fabricius 1775. Black Swallowtail

64. Papilio bairdii W.H. Edwards 1869. Baird's Swallowtail

65. Heraclides thoas (Linnaeus) 1771. Thoas Swallowtail

66. Heraclides cresphontes (Cramer) 1777. Giant Swallowtail

66a. Heraclides ornythion (Boisduval) 1836. Ornithion Swallowtail

67. Pterourus glaucus (Linnaeus) 1758. Tiger Swallowtail

68. Pterourus multicaudata (W.F. Kirby) 1884. Two-tailed Swallowtail

69. Pterourus troilus (Linnaeus) 1758. Spicebush Swallowtail

70. Priamides anchisiades (Esper) 1788. Anchisiades Swallowtail

image - close up photo of wing scales

Lepidoptera, the order name for butterflies and moths is composed of the words "lepido" (scale) and "ptera" (wing). The color of butterfly and moth wings comes from the layers of overlapping wing scales that somewhat resemble shingles on a roof. The scales are easily rubbed off when the wings are directly handled.

William H. Howe of Ottawa, Kansas is illustrator and coordinating editor of "The Butterflies of North America," Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York. 1975. This 633 page book was conceived as a successor to W. J. Holland's classic work, The Butterfly Book, published in 1898 and revised in 1931. This book contains 97 full page plates that show 2,093 butterflies in full color. This book is of immense practical use to the professional lepidopterist but of limited use by amateurs since most are identified only by their latinized name.

FAMILY PIERIDAE Whites, Sulphurs and Orange-tips

Sulphurs and Whites are known by collectors as pierids. Most are medium sized and some shade of white, yellow, or yellowish green. A few have orange wing tips and others have greenish-yellow markings. Some members of this group, such as the yellow alfalfa butterfly, are our most common and abundant butterflies.

71. Appias drusilla (Cramer) 1777. Florida White

72. Pontia protodice (Boisduval & LeConte) 1829. Checkered White

73. Pontia occidentalis (Reakirt) 1866. Western White

74. Artogeia rapae (Linnaeus) 1758. Imported Cabbage White

75. Ascia monuste (Linnaeus) 1764. Great Southern White

76. Ganyra josephina (Godart) 1819. Amaryllis White

77. Euchloe olympia (W.H. Edwards) 1871. Olympia Marble

78. Falcapica midea (Hubner) 1809. Falcate Orangetip

79. Colias philodice Godart 1819. Clouded Sulphur

80. Colias eurytheme Boisduval 1852. Alfalfa Butterfly

81. Zerene cesonia (Stoll) 1790. Dogface Butterfly

82. Anteos clorinde (Godart) 1824. White Angled Sulphur

83. Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus) 1758. Cloudless Giant Sulphur

84. Phoebis philea (Johansson) 1763. Orange-barred Giant Sulphur

85. Phoebis agarithe (Boisduval) 1836. Orange Giant Sulphur

86. Aphrissa statira (Cramer) 1777. Statira

87. Kricogonia lyside (Godart) 1819. Lyside Butterfly

88. Eurema mexicana (Boisduval) 1836. Mexican Yellow

89. Pyrisitia proterpia (Fabricius) 1775. Tailed Orange

90. Pyrisitia lisa (Boisduval & LeConte) 1829. Lisa Yellow

90a. Pyrisitia nise (Cramer) 1775. Mimosa Yellow

91. Abaeis nicippe (Cramer) 1779. Sleepy Orange

92. Nathalis iole Boisduval 1836. Dainty Sulphur

The earliest butterfly specialists were foreign. Carolus LINNAEUS (1707-1778) is the author of many buttefly names, and some names date back to 1758, the publication of the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae and the starting point for zoological nomenclature. Linnaeus was a pioneering biologist who never left Europe. He described over 2000 insects including U.S. specimens collected and sent to him in Sweden. He placed all insects in just seven orders. Today, entomologists recognize over 25 orders and spread his butterflies across more families and genera. Wherever his species have been moved to a new genus, his name appears in parentheses. (For further information see "Scientific Names, Common Names", KSN Vol. 37, No.1, Oct. 1990.)

J. Christian FABRICIUS (1745-1808) was a Danish pupil of Linnaeus. Traveling across Europe, Fabricius examined collections and described over 10,000 species of insects including butterflies sent from the Americas. Fabricius was the leading entomologist of the 1700s.

The French medical doctor, J.BA.D. deBoisduval (1799-1879), was attracted to insect collecting in his youth when he assisted a great beetle-collector P.F.M. Dejean. Underestimating the potential number of species, Boisduval set out to catalog all the Lepidoptera of the world. (Today we recognize 760 species of butterflies from North America alone, and an extimated 14,000 species of moths.)

FAMILY LYCAENIDAE Coppers, Blues, Hairstreaks, and Harvesters

The Gossamer wings or lycanid group of butterflies are rather small but some have a wingspread of near 2". Included are the blues, copers, hairstreaks and the Harvester.

93. Feniseca tarquinius (Fabricius) 1793. Harvester

94. Lycaena phlaeas (Linnaeus) 1761. Small Copper

95. Gaeides xanthoides (Boisduval) 1852. Great Copper

96. Hyllolycaena hyllus (Cramer) 1775. Bronze Copper

97. Epidemia helloides (Boisduval) 1852. Purplish Copper

98. Atlides halesus (Cramer) 1777. Great Blue Hairstreak

99. Phaeostrymon alcestis (W.H. Edwards) 1871. Alcestis Hairstreak

100. Harkenclenus titus (Fabricius) 1793. Coral Hairstreak

101. Satyrium acadica (W.H. Edwards) 1862. Acadian Hairstreak

102. Satyrium edwardsii (Grote & Robinson) 1867. Edward's Hairstreak

103. Satyrium calanus (Hubner) 1809. Falacer Hairstreak

104. Satyrium caryaevorum (McDunnough) 1942. Hickory Hairstreak

105. Satyrium liparops (LeConte) 1833. Striped Hairstreak

106. Tmolus azia (Hewitson) 1873. Azia Hairstreak

107. Calycopis cecrops (Fabricius) 1793. Cecrops Hairstreak

108. Calycopis isobeon (Butler & H. Druce) 1872. Beon Hairstreak

109. Mitoura gryneus (Hubner) 1819. Olive Hairstreak

110. Incisalia henrici (Grote & Robinson) 1867, Henry's Elfin

111. Euristrymon ontario (W.H. Edwards) 1868. Ontario Hairstreak

112. Parrhasius m-album (Boisduval & LeConte) 1833. White-m Hairstreak

113. Strymon melinus Hubner 1818. Gray Hairstreak

114. Brephidium exilis (Boisduval) 1852. Western Pygmy Blue

115. Leptotes cassius (Cramer) 1775. Cassius Blue

116. Leptotes marina (Reakirt) 1868. Marine Blue

117. Zizula cyna (W.H. Edwards) 1881. Cyna Blue

118. Hemiargus ceraunus (Fabricius) 1793. Antillean Blue

119. Hemiargus isola (Reakirt) 1866. Isola Blue

120. Everes comyntas (Godart) 1824. Eastern Tailed Blue

121. Celastrina ladon (Cramer) 1780. Spring Azure

122. Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Doubleday) 1841. Silvery Blue

123. Lycaeides melissa (W.H. Edwards) 1873. Melissa Blue

124. Icaricia acmon (Westwood & Hewitson) 1852. Acmon Blue



125. Libytheana backmanii (Kirtland) 1852. Snout Butterfly



126. Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus) 1758. Gulf Fritillary

126a. Dryadula phaetusa (Linnaeus) 1758. Banded Orange

126b. Dryas iulia (Fabricius) 1775. Julia

126c. Eueides isabella (Stoll) 1781. Isabella Tiger

127. Heliconius charitonius (Linnaeus) 1767. Zebra Butterfly



Insect collecting has long provided popular projects for young naturalists in school biology courses from elementary grades through college. It is a popular 4-H project as well as an activity for boy and girl scouts. Teachers and leaders frnd that assembling an insect collection is an excellent way to introduce students to the many aspects of animal diversity and interdependent relationships--the building blocks toward an understanding of ecology.

Beginning an insect collection requires a minimum of equipment, although specialized collecting equipment and storage cases may be added as a student's techniques and interest increase. Essentials are a butterfly net, a killing jar, insect pins, spreading board, labels and storage boxes. Your teacher or someone with past experience in collecting should be consulted for beginning assistance.

FAMILY NYMPHALIDAE Brush-footed Butterflies

Brush-footed butterflies belong to the family Nymphalidae. This is a large diverse family and most species are some shade of brown or orange with a wingspread up to 3". This group includes the regal fritillary, the only butterfly to be listed as threatened in Kansas.

128. Euptoieta claudia (Cramer) 1775. Variegated Fritillary

129. Speyeria cybele (Fabricius) 1775. Great Spangled Fritillary

130. Speyeria aphrodite (Fabricius) 1787. Aphrodite Fritillary

131. Speyeria idalia (Drury) 1773. Regal Fritillary

132. Speyeria edwardsii (Reakirt) 1866. Edward's Fritillary

133. Thessalia fulvia (W.H. Edwards) 1879. Fulvia Crescent

134. Chlosyne lacinia (Geyer) 1837. Geyer's Patched Butterfly

135. Charidryas gorgone (Hubner) 1810. Gorgone Crescent

136. Charidryas nycteis (Doubleday & Hewitson) 1847. Silvery Crescent

137. Anthanassa texana (W.H. Edwards) 1863. Texas Crescent

138. Phyciodes vesta (W.H. Edwards) 1869. Vesta Crescent

139. Phyciodes phaon (W.H. Edwards) 1864. Phaon Crescent

140. Phyciodes tharos (Drury) 1773. Pearl Crescent

141. Phyciodes pratensis (Behr) 1863. Field Crescent

142. Phyciodes picta (W.H. Edwards) 1865. Painted Crescent

143. Ephydryas phaeton (Drury) 1773. Baltimore

144. Polygonia interrogationis (Fabricius) 1798. Question-mark

145. Polygonia comma (Harris) 1842. Comma

146. Polygonia progne (Cramer) 1776. Gray Comma

147. Nymphalis antiopa (Linnaeus) 1758. Mourning Cloak

147a. Aglais milberti (Godart) 1819. Milbert's Tortoise Shell

148. Vanessa virginiensis (Drury) 1773. Virginia Lady

149. Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus) 1758. Painted Lady

150. Vanessa annabella (Field) 1971. West Coast Lady

151. Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus) 1758. Red Admiral

152. Junonia coenia Hubner 1822. Buckeye

153. Anartia jatrophae (Johansson) 1763. White Peacock

154. Siproeta stelenes (Linnaeus) 1758. Pearly Malachite

155. Basilarchia arthemis (Drury) 1773. Red-spotted Purple

156. Basilarchia archippus (Cramer) 1776. Eastern Viceroy

157. Basilarchia weidemeyerii (W.H. Edwards) 1861. Weidemeyer's Admiral

158. Adelpha bredowii Geyer 1837. Mexican Sister

159. Eunica monima (Stoll) 1782. Dingy Purplewing

160. Eunica tatila (Herrich-Schaffer) 1853. Mexican Purplewing

161. Mestra amymone (Menetries) 1857. Amymone Butterfly

162. Marpesia petreus (Cramer) 1776. Ruddy Daggerwing



163. Anaea aidea (Guerin-Meneville) 1844. Eyed Goatweed

164. Anaea andria Scudder 1875. Goatweed Butterfly

165. Asterocampa celtis (Boisduval & LeConte) 1834. Hackberry Butterfly

166. Asterocampa clyton (Boisduval & LeConte) 1833. Tawny Emperor


FAMILY SATYRIDAE Satyrs and Wood Nymphs

Satyrs or Browns, of the family Satyridae, are a group of dingy, dull brown or gray with a soft velvet like texture. Most are medium sized and range up to about a 2 1/2" wingspread.

167. Enodia anthedon A.H. Clark 1936. Northern Pearly Eye

168. Enodia creola (Skinner) 1897. Creole Pearly Eye

169. Cyllopsis gemma (Hubner) 1808. Gemmed Satyr

170. Hermeuptychia sosybius (Fabricius) 1793. Carolina Satyr

171. Megisto cymela (Cramer) 1777. Little Wood Satyr

172. Megisto rubricata (W.H. Edwards) 1871. Red Satyr

173. Cercyonis pegala (Fabricius) 1775. Large Wood Nymph


FAMILY DANAIDAE Milkweed Butterflies

Milkweed Butterflies, or Danaids, are a small group that includes only two species in Kansas - the queen and the monarch. The monarch is probably best known of all our butterflies due to its abundance, large size (up to 4" wingspread) and almost unbelievable migratory pattern.

174. Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus) 1758. Monarch

175. Danaus gilippus (Cramer) 1775. Queen


Ely, Charles A., Marvin D. Schwilling and Marvin E. Rolfs. 1986. An Annotated List of the Butterflies of Kansas. Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS. 224 pp. including 175 maps.

Heitzman, J. Richard and Joan E. Heitzman. 1987. Butterflies and Moths of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO. 385pp. + color photos.

Howe, William H. 1975. The Butterflies of North America. Doubleday and Co., Garden City, NY. 633 pp. + 97 color photos.

Klots, Alexander B. 1951. A Field Guide to the Butterflies (Peterson Series). Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 328 pp. + 36 color plates.

Opler, Paul A. and George O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies East of the Great Plains. John Hopkins Univ. Press. 294 pp. + 54 color plates.

Pyle, Robert M. 1981. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Knopf Inc., NY. 916 pp. + many color photographs.

_____. 1984. The Audubon Society Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. Charles Scribner's Sons, NY. 274 pp.

Scott, James A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. 674 pp.

Tylka, Dave. 1987. Butterfly Gardening and Conservation. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO. 16 pp.

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