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Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly

The large yellow butterfly has a wingspan of 2″ to 2-1/2″. It migrates through Florida annually and can be found in the state for most of the year. It shows a preference for red blossoms such as those of the shrimp plant, railroad vine, Turk’s cap and hibiscus.

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

The adult has a wingspan of 3-1/2″ to 5-1/2″. The upper surface of the wings is brown with a row of large yellow spots along the margins and a prominent diagonal yellow band. The undersurface of the wings appears bright yellow. It is often seen taking moisture at mud puddles and at damp sand.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

The adult butterfly is 2-1/2″ to 3″ long and has orange wings with black markings on the upper surface. The under-surface of the wings is brown with many large silvery-white spots. It overwinters in south Florida and migrates north in the spring.

Longtailed Skipper Butterfly

This butterfly is brown with several silvery spots on the front wings and a silvery white edge along the hind wings. The wingspan is 1″ to 1-1/4″, but the hind wings terminate in two narrow tails about 1/2″ long. The upper surface of the wings is a metallic blue-green. The long-tailed skipper is found throughout Florida.


The monarchs, Danaus plexippus Linnaeus, are among the best known of the world’s butterflies due to their remarkable ability to migrate, wide distribution, and charismatic appearance. The last Pleistocene glaciations in North America instigated migration to Mexico in the east and to the Californian coast and deserts in the west. In the western U.S., the overwintering colonies are smaller and more numerous, while in Mexico, they are few but more spectacular, with billions of butterflies concentrating in one spot.

Adults are strong fliers and can fly for 11 hours straight. In the fall, enough fat is stored in the adults to allow a continuous 1000 km flight without feeding. Some make a journey of a total of 4000 km to reach overwintering sites in the Sierra Madre de Oriente, where they settle inside the coniferous forest of the state of Michoacán. Monarchs also fly across the Gulf of Mexico with overwater flights of 600 km.

Monarchs are not endangered as a species due to many sedentary populations in the south of its range. However, the deforestation around their overwintering sites in Mexico puts the northeastern population of monarch and the remarkable phenomenon of migration in danger. Planting milkweed in your yard and garden helps support the monarch population. View the monarch caterpillar here!

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The adult butterfly is about 2-1/2″ to 3-1/2″ long. The wings are long and oval with prominent yellow bands and rows of yellow spots on the upper surface. The same markings occur on the undersurface of the wings, but are less vivid. The zebra longwing is the state butterfly for Florida, and is present throughout the state during most of the year.


Wakulla County Extension Address
84 Cedar Avenue
Crawfordville, FL 32327

Monday - Friday
8:00am – 5pm

Samantha Kennedy
UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director & FCS Agent
Phone (850) 926-3931

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