Home » 12 Real Yellow Butterfly Species (With Pictures)

12 Real Yellow Butterfly Species (With Pictures)

Butterflies, with their delicate beauty and diverse patterns, have always captivated the human imagination. Among them, yellow butterflies hold a special place due to their vibrant color that symbolizes happiness, warmth, and energy.

In this article, we will explore 12 different species of yellow butterflies, delving into details about their size, color variations, and habitats.

1. Clouded Yellow

Yellow butterfly Colias sucks nectar
Yellow butterfly Colias sucks nectar © Davide Bonora/istockphoto

The Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) is a medium-sized butterfly that’s often found in Europe and Asia. It has a wingspan of 57-62 mm, making it a noticeable presence in any garden.

Its wings are a bright, sunny yellow with black borders, a color scheme that stands out beautifully against green foliage.

Although it’s native to Europe and Asia, the Clouded Yellow isn’t averse to a bit of travel and has been spotted in North America as well. It’s a frequent visitor to flower gardens and meadows, adding a splash of color wherever it goes.

2. Brimstone

A common brimstone on a flower
A common brimstone on a flower © Rosemarie_Kappler/istockphoto

The Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) is a large butterfly species with a wingspan of up to 70 mm. It is known for its leaf-shaped wings that blend perfectly with foliage, providing it with excellent camouflage. Its pale yellow color, more pronounced in males, is widespread across Eurasia.

The Brimstone’s unique shape and color make it a fascinating species to observe. It’s often found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, scrubland, and hedgerows.

3. Little Yellow

Little Yellow
Little Yellow © alabama.butterflyatlas.usf.edu

The Little Yellow (Eurema lisa), as its name suggests, is a small butterfly species with a wingspan of 32-48 mm. Despite its size, it’s a vibrant presence in any habitat it’s found in. Its wings are a bright, cheerful yellow that can bring a dash of color to any landscape.

The Little Yellow is a joy to observe, whether it’s fluttering about in a garden or resting on a flower. It’s commonly found in open areas like fields and meadows, particularly in the southern United States.

4. Sleepy Orange

Sleepy Orange Butterfly
Sleepy Orange Butterfly © alabama.butterflyatlas.usf.edu

The Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe) is a small to medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan ranging from 38 to 64 mm. Its wings are a vibrant orange-yellow, which is where it gets its name.

This butterfly is a common sight in open, sunny habitats, particularly fields and roadsides in the southern United States. Despite its name, the Sleepy Orange is quite active, especially on sunny days when it can be seen fluttering about in search of nectar.

5. Southern Dogface

Southern Dogface butterfly
Southern Dogface butterfly © Jim and Lynne Weber/shutterstock

The Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia) is a medium to large butterfly with a wingspan of 50 to 76 mm. It has bright yellow wings with black and light brown patterns that resemble the face of a dog, hence its name.

This butterfly is commonly found in open, sunny areas in the southern United States and Mexico. The Southern Dogface is particularly attracted to purple and pink flowers, making it a frequent visitor to gardens.

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6. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on sunflower
Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on sunflower © William Krumpelman/istockphoto

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is a large butterfly with a wingspan that can reach up to 140 mm. It has yellow wings with black tiger-like stripes, giving it a striking appearance.

This species is commonly found in woodlands and along rivers, streams, and other bodies of water in the eastern United States. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is known for its graceful flight, often soaring high above the ground.

7. Orange-barred Sulphur

Orange-barred Sulphur on green grass
Orange-barred Sulphur on green grass © mbolina/istockphoto

The Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea) is a large butterfly that can be identified by its bright yellow wings with a distinctive orange bar in the middle, hence its name. With a wingspan that can reach up to 95 mm, it’s a noticeable presence in any environment.

This butterfly is commonly found in open, sunny areas in the southern United States, Central America, and South America. Known for its fast and erratic flight, the Orange-barred Sulphur is a joy to watch as it flutters around in search of nectar.

8. African Migrant

The African migrant Butterfly
The African migrant Butterfly © sarath_oman/shutterstock

The African Migrant (Catopsilia florella) is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 50-60 mm. Its pale yellow wings can sometimes appear almost white in certain light, giving it a unique appearance.

Although this butterfly is native to Africa, it has migrated to other parts of the world, earning it its name. The African Migrant is often found in gardens and other open habitats, where it adds a touch of beauty with its delicate flight.

9. Common Grass Yellow

Common Grass Yellow Butterfly
Common Grass Yellow Butterfly © EarnestTse/shutterstock

The Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe) is a small to medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 40-50 mm. Its bright yellow wings are adorned with a few tiny brown spots, adding to its charm.

This butterfly is widespread in Asia and Australia, where it’s usually found in open grasslands and meadows. Despite its small size, the Common Grass Yellow is a vibrant presence in any habitat it’s found in, bringing a dash of color to the landscape with its bright wings.

10. Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless sulphur butterfly in Florida
Cloudless sulphur butterfly in Florida © williamhc/shutterstock

The Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a large butterfly that can have a wingspan of up to 80 mm. Its wings are a solid, bright yellow, which can appear nearly fluorescent in the sunlight.

This butterfly is commonly found in the Americas, particularly in open spaces like meadows, gardens, and road edges. It’s known for its fast and straight flight pattern. The Cloudless Sulphur is particularly attracted to red and pink flowers, making it a frequent visitor to gardens with these types of plants.

Learn More:
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11. Alfalfa Butterfly

A Large Orange Sulphur feeding from a wildflower
A Large Orange Sulphur feeding from a wildflower © Paul Sparks/shutterstock

Also known as the Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme), the Alfalfa Butterfly is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 32-57 mm. It has yellow wings with an orange overlay, giving it a unique appearance.

This butterfly is widespread in North America and is often found in open habitats like fields, meadows, and gardens. The Alfalfa Butterfly is named after the alfalfa plant, which is one of its preferred sources of nectar.

12. Lemon Emigrant

Lemon Emigrant Butterfly
Lemon Emigrant Butterfly © OhmAl2T/shutterstock

The Lemon Emigrant (Catopsilia pomona) is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 60-80 mm. It has pale yellow wings that can sometimes appear white in certain light. This butterfly is native to Asia and Australia but has migrated to other parts of the world.

The Lemon Emigrant is often found in open habitats like fields, gardens, and forests. It’s known for its slow and graceful flight, making it a joy to watch.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many species of yellow butterflies that you might encounter. Each one is unique and contributes to the biodiversity of our planet. Whether you’re a butterfly enthusiast or just someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, learning about these yellow butterflies can be a fascinating experience.

Their vibrant colors and diverse habitats remind us of the incredible variety and beauty of life on Earth. So, the next time you see a yellow butterfly fluttering by, take a moment to appreciate its unique beauty and consider the role it plays in our ecosystem. 

FAQs

Why are some butterflies yellow?

The color of a butterfly’s wings is determined by tiny scales that reflect light in different ways. Yellow butterflies have scales that reflect light in a way that we perceive as yellow. The vibrant color can serve various purposes, such as attracting mates or warning predators.

What do yellow butterflies eat?

Like most butterflies, yellow butterflies feed on the nectar from flowers. Some species are particularly attracted to certain types of flowers, such as the Southern Dogface, which prefers purple and pink flowers.

Where can I find yellow butterflies?

Yellow butterflies can be found in various habitats around the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. They are often found in open, sunny areas such as fields, meadows, and gardens.

What does a yellow butterfly mean?

In many cultures, a yellow butterfly symbolizes hope, guidance, and transformation. However, interpretations can vary widely depending on the specific culture and context. It’s always fascinating to see how different cultures attach their own meanings to the same symbol.

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