Illustrated List of Butterflies

If you would like to begin to recognize some of the butterfly species of Middlesex County, but are not ready to purchase a field guide or submit photos to iNaturalist, start here.

BEWARE: butterflies can be very distracting on nature walks.


Large – May to October


Medium – June to September

Black Swallowtail

Large – May to September

Cabbage White

Small – April to October

Clouded Sulphur

Small – May to October

Mourning Cloak

Medium – April to October

Red Admiral

Small – April to October – underside is very different

Eastern Comma

Small – April to October – white comma on dark underside

Red-spotted Purple

Small – June to August – less vibrant underside

Northern Crescent

Small – May to September

European Skipper (Essex Skipper)

Small – June to July

Silver-spotted Skipper

Small – silver on underside only – June to August

Want More?

When you see a butterfly unlike any of the photos, congratulations! You are certainly going to see some of them on an organized butterfly count. It may be one of the following:

  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • White Admiral
  • Pearl Crescent
  • Orange Sulphur
  • American Copper
  • Harvester
  • A type of azure
  • Eastern Tailed Blue
  • A type of hairstreak
  • American Snout
  • Tawny Emperor or Hackberry Emperor
  • Great Spangled Fritillary or other type of fritillary
  • A type of checkerspot
  • Common Buckeye
  • Question Mark
  • An American Lady or Painted Lady
  • Common Wood Nymph
  • Little Wood-Satyr
  • A type of skipper

To be more confident of your observations, a field guide helps with additional and similar species.

“A Pocket Guide to Butterflies of Southern & Eastern Ontario” by Rick Cavasin

“Photo Field Guide to the Butterflies of Southern Ontario” by Ian Carmichael and Ann Vance

“Southern Ontario Butterflies and their Natural History” by Jay Cossey.

For a deeper dive, consider:

“The ROM Field Guide To Butterflies of Ontario” by Peter W. Hall and others, available from The Royal Ontario Museum and Amazon.

Online resources can be found at: