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Butterfly Resources

Variegated Fritillary by Jim Thayer

Studying and enjoying butterflies has become a very popular pastime. Here are some resources to learn more about the butterflies of we have in northeast Oklahoma.

Note that links to external sites open in a new browser window



Local Butterfly Information


Here is a compilation of Oklahoma Butterfly Watching Locations


Here is a checklist of Butterflies of Mohawk Park compiled by Jim Thayer


John Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Biology at ORU, has graciously allowed us to post these lists of the documented butterfly & moth species records by county for Oklahoma

Butterfly & moth species records by county for Oklahoma.


Butterfly Links of Local Interest

The Tulsa Master Gardeners web site has a section of information about the butterflies of Tulsa County, featuring photos by TAS member Jim Thayer. (Click on lawn & garden help. Click on Butterflies. There are pictures of the butterflies of the 5 families that are listed on the handout "Butterflies you are most likely to see in your backyard".

TAS member John Fisher has created the OKLeps Yahoo Discussion Group for sharing information about the butterflies of Oklahoma.

Hershel Raney's Random Natural Acts web site has lots of good photographs of Arkansas butterflies (many of which also occur in Oklahoma) along with a few other critters and some wonderful essays on being out in the woods.

Butterflies and Moths of North America is an outstanding resource site now hosted by Montana State University's Big Sky Institute. Formerly hosted by the USGS's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, the contents include photos, species descriptions, habitat, larval food plants, range maps, and conservation status.

Butterflies of America
a comprehensive online resource that will include information on taxonomy and identification, distribution and habitat, life history and bibliography for all butterfly taxa in America, including species, subspecies and undescribed geographic variants.

Butterflies and Moths of North America
Butterflies and Moths of North America is an ambitious effort to collect, store, and share species information and occurrence data.

North American Butterfly Association (NABA)
The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) formed in 1992 is, by far, the largest group of people in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico) interested in butterflies. We are a membership-based not-for-profit organization working to increase public enjoyment and conservation of butterflies.


Tulsa's Wild Bird Unlimited
Located at 61st & Yale, they offer a nice selection of binoculars and other optics

Eagle Optics
An excellent online source for binoculars and optical equipment


Butterfly Books of Local Interest

Here are some books suggested by Jim Thayer on getting started in studying butterflies. Many of these books are available for purchase at Oxley Nature Center, or through the By using the Amazon links provided here Oxley Nature Center will receive a percentage of the sale.

How To Spot Butterflies
by Pat and Clay Sutton
ISBN 0-395-89275-9

The Butterflies of Oklahoma, Kansas, & North Texas
by John Dole, Walter Gerard, & John Nelson
ISBN: 0806135549
This book was just published in April 2004 and covers 100 of our most common species with photographs, description, similar species, habitat, food plants, & range maps by county. The second part of the book contains sections on life stages and raising butterflies, butterfly gardening, hotspots with species lists, identification tips, and butterfly photography. Highly recommended.

Butterflies of North America
By Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman
ISBN 0-618-25400-5

Butterflies Through Binoculars, The East
By Jeffrey Glassberg
ISBN 0-19-510668-7

A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America
By Jeffrey Glassberg

A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies of the Kansas City Region
By Betsy Betros

Caterpillars In The Field And Garden: A Field Guide To The Butterfly Caterpillars of North America
by Thomas Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg

Butterflies and Moths of Missouri
By J. Richard and Joan E. Heitzman

Butterfly Gardening For The South
By Geyata Ajilvsgi

 Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens
By Douglas W.Tallamy



When you create a garden, you usually grow plants

When you create a butterfly garden, you strive to grow butterflies


  • Plant your garden in sun as butterflies need sun (they are solar powered) and plants produce more nectar in the sun.

  • In the hot Oklahoma days of July and August it helps to have some of your garden in partial shade during the afternoon as it can get too hot for butterflies in full sun.

  • Shelter from the wind in all or part of the garden is beneficial.

Plants: Types and Distribution

  • There are two categories of plants for butterflies. Nectar plants for adults and food plants for the caterpillars.

  • Choose mainly nectar plants to get started. A variety of butterflies will come to the same nectar plant, but food plants for caterpillars usually are specific for only one or a very small range of butterfly species. Native plants are best as they provide for both.

Nectar Plants

  1. Choose plants that will do well in the local environment. Not all flowering plants are a nectar source for butterflies. Find out which ones work from local resources.

  2. Plant your nectar plants in masses. It is better to have a large number of a few varieties rather than a few plants of a number of varieties.

  3. Choose plants so that your garden will give continuous bloom once the butterflies find your space. Each variety does not need to be always blooming, but part of your garden needs to be blooming all the time.

Food Plants

  1. To select the proper food plants you need to know what butterflies are present in your local area. Butterflies are selective on which plants they lay their eggs. So you need to know the butterfly species to know which plant to use.

  2. An easy group to start with is providing parsley or bronze fennel for the Black Swallowtail. Then you can learn about the specific needs of other butterflies.

  3. Except for rare instances, caterpillars use only native plants for food plants.

Miscellaneous Butterfly Attractors

  1. Damp area in soil, rocks or mulch

  2. Areas for basking in early morning sun.

  3. Over ripe fruit or tree sap.

Donít Use Chemical Pesticides

  1. Pesticides kill insects and butterflies are insects.

  2. Donít worry about destructive bugs and in time the beneficial ones will establish a healthy balance in your yard.


Enjoy the show that results from the stage you have set.



Pipevine Swallowtails Battus philenor
Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxencs
Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus
Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus
Checkered White Pontia protodice
Cabbage White Pieris rapae
Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice
Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme
Southern Dogface Colias cesonia
Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis sennae
Little Yellow Eurema lisa
Sleepy Orange Eurema nicipp
Dainty Sulphur Nathalis iole
Great Purple Hairstreak Atlides halesus
Juniper Hairstreak Callophxys gryneus
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus
Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops
Reakirtís Blue Hemiargus isola
Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas
Spring/Summer Azure Celastrina ladon/neglecta
American Snout Libytheana carinenta
Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta Claudia
Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis
Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos
Question Mark Polygonia interrogatiuonis
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis
Viceroy Limenitis archippus
Hackberry Emperor Asterocampa celtis
Monarch Danaus plexippus
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus
Southern Cloudywing Thorybes bathyllus
Horaceís Duskywing Erymns horatius
Funereal Duskywing Erynnis funerali
Common Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus communis
Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus
Sachem Atalopedes campestris






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Copyright © 2013 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: January 28, 2014




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