MA Butterflies

In the Spring, Summer and Fall I spend a lot of my time outside with a camera. I will photograph anything that holds still long enough to be photographed. But flowers and butterflies are a staple. Over the years I have photographed quite a few of the Butterflies that can be found in Eastern MA. I thought I would set up a page for the best of those images. In no particular order here are some of those photos. As a piece of trivia Butterflies are actually moths, and arose during the Eocene Epoch 40 to 50 million years ago in association with blooming plants.

American Copper 

American Lady

American Lady Open Wings

Painted Lady

Painted Lady - open wings

Painted Ladies are not normally MA butterflies, but some years they extend their range and we have them for visitors, these photos were made in 2012 when a lot of them came visiting. Note: 2017 has also proven to be a banner year for visiting butterflies including Painted Ladies.

Baltimore Checkerspot

Red Admiral

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary Side View

Common Buckeye

Eastern Comma

Appalachian Brown

Little Wood Satyr

Little Wood Satyr Side View

Common Ringlet

Mating Common Wood Nymphs


Not the best photo of a Viceroy, but I have only seen the one, and it didn't let me get very close.

Red Spotted Admiral

Side View Red Spotted Admiral

Pearl Crescent

Side View Pearl Crescent
Pearl Crescents are highly variable, some lighter, some darker, along with size. But it is the only Crescent we have in MA. 

Cabbage White

Clouded Sulphur


According to a book on Butterflies I recently read swallowtails are the oldest group of butterflies, the rest descended from them. They also tend to be larger butterflies, and some will hover while feeding from flowers so that they don't weigh them down. 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
Note: The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is a slightly smaller version of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail above. 

Black Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail



Spring Azure

Spring Azure on Birdfoot Violet
Spring Azures have a wide variety of outer wing markings, which is why I added the 2nd photo.

Summer Azure

Summer Azure view of inner wing surface

The main difference between Spring and Summer Azures are the flight times, Spring are April to early/mid June, and Summer from late June/July to October. Summer's also often have lighter markings, as the example in the above photo.

Eastern Tailed Blue on Birdfoot Trefoil




Edwards Hairstreak

Banded Hairstreak

Striped Hairstreak

Grey Hairstreak

Red Banded Hairstreak

Juniper Hairstreak

As you can see there are several Hairstreak varieties, and I don't have all of them, yet.


Skippers are another large family of butterflies, they are mostly small around 1 inch, though the Silver Spotted is larger, many are very hard to tell apart and I am indebted to my fellow members of the Facebook Massachusetts Butterfly Group for identifications.

Little Glassywing

Least Skipper
This is a very small butterfly, it is feeding from a forget-me-not flower which is about 0.25 inches across. I don't think I have ever seen or photographed a smaller butterfly.

Long Dash

Mulberry Wing




Northern Broken Dash

Tawny Edged


Silver Spotted




Brown Elfin

Eastern Pine Elfin

Henery's Elfin

Hoary Elfin




Wild Indigo


Southern Duskywing

Hope you enjoy these butterfly photographs, but please don't use any of these images without asking permission. If you would like to see more comparison photos of MA Butterflies visit NABA