Lepidoptera: Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths

by Dr. Robert Baldridge

Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth

Butterflies and moths (Order Lepidoptera) are among the most colorful and active insects in the wetland community and make spring through fall visits to the wetlands a visual pleasure. Although not all of the species seen are using wetland plants as feeding hosts for caterpillars and adults, they do provide evidence of healthy diversity within the wetlands.


The usually brightly-colored butterflies will be most evident during daytime hours. The more cryptically-colored moths are usually nocturnal; but the careful observer may see them resting on vegetation and other cover during the daytime hours. Both the caterpillars and adults are important in providing energy and nutrients to birds, snakes, lizards, mammals and other arthropods and probably assist in pollination of some of the plant species.

Viceroy Butterfly


Without the specimen 'in hand' specific identification may be difficult and confusing due to the similarities between many of the species that are found in the area. A butterfly and moth book, with good pictures and descriptions, will enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of these insects during your visit to the wetlands.