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If you know your butterfly classifications and want to look one up, go to the Butterfly Index.
To see the most common 35 species of butterflies in North Carolina, see Common Butterflies.
Butterflies (superfamilies Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea, order Lepidoptera, infraclass Neoptera, subclass Pterygota, class Insecta, subphylum Hexapoda, phylum Arthropoda, kingdom Animalia)
There are 35 superfamilies in the Lepidoptera order, and butterflies are members of only two, 1) the "true" butterflies (Papilionoidea) and 2) the skippers (Hesperoidea). Members of the other superfamilies are considered to be moths.
The five families of "true" butterflies are 1) Brushfoots (Nymphalidae), 2) Swallowtails (Papilionidae), 3) Blues and Hairstreaks (Lycaenidae), 4) Whites and Yellows (Pieridae), and 5) the Metalmarks (Riodinidae). The other butterfly superfamily, the Skippers, is comprised of one family, the Hesperiidae, which in turn is divided into five subfamilies: 1) Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae), 2) Spreadwing Skippers (Pyrginae), 3) Heteropterinae (Arctic Skippers), 4) Megathyminae, and 5) Pyrrhopyrginae.
These classifications constitute valid taxa according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
"True" Butterflies (Papilionoidea superfamily)
Skippers (Hesperiidae family, Hesperioidea superfamily)
© Copyright 2005-2008 Dorothy E. Pugh
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