What is your State Butterfly

A number of the states here in the U.S. designate state birds, state flowers, and even state soil types.  Some have either state butterflies or state insects (or both).  Iowa does not currently have a state butterfly, but some folks from Reiman Gardens have proposed to the state legislature that we designate the regal fritillary as ours.  And it is a great choice.  It is a large colorful butterfly.  It is generally considered a prairie obligate butterfly.  It was once widespread across the United States, but now is only found in a few places with good prairie vegetation.


I looked at a list of state butterflies.  Slightly more than half of the states have a state butterfly or designate a butterfly as the state insect.  Six states have monarch as their state butterfly.  Five have the eastern tiger swallowtail.  Arizona designates the two-tailed swallowtail, and Oregon designates the Oregon (old world) swallowtail as their butterflies.  Both of those bear striking resemblances to the eastern tiger swallowtail.

Fourteen states have butterflies that are not monarchs or resemble the eastern tiger swallowtail.  All of those are unique butterflies.   Kentucky has the viceroy (possibly to make fun of all the states with monarchs as the state butterfly).  Maryland has the Baltimore checkerspot, Florida has the zebra longwing.  No other state has the regal fritillary.

I think all butterflies are beautiful.  Each has its own degree of charm.  But the regal fritillary has a razzmatazz that most other butterflies can only dream of.


If caterpillars wish they were butterflies, most ordinary butterflies wish they were regal fritillaries.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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