Butterflies and their Caterpillars of Columbia County, Oregon

Butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea) and moths form the order Lepidoptera. Butterflies differ from moths in nearly always being active during the day, often folding their wings vertically rather than horizontally, and having slender club-like antennae without feathering.

Swallowtails and Parnassians (Papilionidae)

Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus columbia county northwest oregon
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) – 2.7″-3.8″. Huge yellow wings with black stripes on forewing and black border on rear wings. Final crescent on tail is yellow. Found in open areas. (photo © bhallberg)
Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus larva caterpillar maple willow cottonwood birch columbia county northwest oregon
Western Tiger Swallowtail larva – Large green body, sometimes blue spotting. Eyespots are yellow with hollow black “pupil”. Feeds on willow, aspen, cottonwood, maple, and wild cherry. (photo © Marie Heuberger)
Pale Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon columbia county northwest oregon
Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon) – 2.5-3.3″. Like Western Tiger except paler yellow or creamy white. Final crescent on tail is orange. Found in forest openings, often near water. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Pale Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon larva caterpillar alder ironwood coffeeberry columbia county northwest oregon
Pale Swallowtail larva – Similar to Western Tiger Swallowtail, use food plant to identify. Feeds on California lilac, also coffeeberry, alder, ironwood, and others. (photo © Marlin Harms)
Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon columbia county northwest oregon
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon zelicaon) – 2.7″-3.5″. Large black “shoulders” at front of forewing distinguish from other local swallowtails. Found in any open habitat. (photo © Nature Ali)
Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon larva caterpillar parsley parsnip carrot hemlock columbia county northwest oregon
Anise Swallowtail larva – Large green caterpillar with black, orange-yellow, and blue markings. Feeds on hemlock, fennel, parsnip, parsley, wild celery, carrot, and similar plants. (photo © astonishingnature)
Clodius Parnassian Parnassius clodius columbia county northwest oregon
Clodius Parnassian (Parnassius clodius claudianus) Subspecies “Claudianus Parnassian”. – 2.3-3″. White with translucent-gray sections. Pair of black-bordered red spots on rear wing. Found in openings in wet forest. (photo © Delda Findeisen)
Cloudius Parmessian Parnassius clodius larva pacific bleeding heart columbia county northwest oregon
Clodius Parnassian larva – Deep black with single row of yellow spots. Feeds on Pacific Bleeding Heart. (photo © C.H.)

Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Monarchs (Danainae) and Fritillaries (Heliconiinae)

Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus columbia county northwest oregon
Monarch (Danaus plexippus plexippus) – 3.4″-4.5″. Orange wings with black veins and white dots on borders. Engages in large migrations up and down the coast in spring and fall. (photo © Nicholas Sly)
Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus columbia county northwest oregon
Monarch larva – Distinct white, black, and yellow bands with pair of long black filaments on each end. Feeds on milkweed, thus habitat is limited where meadows are destroyed. (photo © stormcatcher)
Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele pugetensis Puget Sound fritillary columbia county northwest oregon
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele pugetensis) Subspecies “Puget Sound Fritillary”. – 2.5″-4″. Largest fritillary. Small silver spots. Males orange-brown, females black inner wings and yellowish outer. Found in forests near boggy areas. (photo © Mike Hansen)
Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele pugetensis larva caterpillar Puget Sound fritillary columbia county northwest oregon
Great Spangled Fritillary larva – Black body, bristled orange-and-black spines. Head black, orange, or both. Feeds on violets including Stream Violet and Dog Violet. (photo © Todd Stout)
Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe rhodope columbia county northwest oregon
Hydaspe Fritillary (Speyeria hydaspe rhodope) Subspecies “Rhodope Fritillary”. – 2″-2.5″. More reddish above and rusty hind wing below. Spots cream not silver. Found in forest. (photo © Ken Chamberlain)
Hydaspe Fritillary Speyeria hydaspe larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Hydaspe Fritillary larva – Black body without light striping. Head black with some orange marking. Spines yellow-orange and black and heavily branched. Feeds on violets. (photo © Jim Brock)
Pacific Fritillary Boloria epithore chermocki Western Meadow Fritillary columbia county northwest oregon
Pacific Fritillary (Boloria epithore chermocki) Subspecies “Western Meadow Fritillary”. – 1.3″-1.7″. Small, lacks the silver spots of larger fritillaries. Found in forest openings and meadows, especially on hills. (photo © cschelz7)
Pacific Fritillary larva – Grey with dark dorsal line and lower lateral lines. Spines are russet or black. Feeds on various violets. (photo is of the related “Silver-bordered Fritillary” © Todd Stout)

Ladies, Crescents, and Checkerspots (Nymphalinae)
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta columbia county northwest oregon
American Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria) – 1.8″-2.5″. Dark above with red-orange bands, white spotting at end of forewing. Bottom is marbled brown with light band in middle of forewing. (photo © jbarlett79)
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
American Red Admiral larva – Brown to black, speckled in white, with white or yellowish broken stripe on side. Many branching spines. Feeds on nettle and several similar plants. (photo © Eddie Dunbar)
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui columbia county northwest oregon
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) – 2″-2.9″. Above orange with brown markings and eyespots. Bottom of wings marbled in many colors, with 4-5 eyespots on back of rearwing. The most widely distributed butterfly on Earth. (photo © David Cappaert)
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Painted Lady larva – Dark with yellow/cream stripes. Branching spines often alternate between dark and light. Feeds on thistles, lupine, burdock, and many other plants. (photo © Rich Hoyer)
West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella columbia county northwest oregon
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella) – 1.5″-2.3″. Similar to Painted Lady but eyespots below are darker and less conspicuous. Above has small orange bar at edge of forewing. (photo © David B. Richman)
West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
West Coast Lady larva – Dark brown to black with or without yellow or orangish stripes. Has branching black spines. Feeds on nettle, hollyhock, and mallows. (photo © Nancy Betty)
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis columbia county northwest oregon
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) – 1.8″-2.4″. Has just two large eyespots on bottom of rearwing. Forewing edge is more abruptly concave than in other “Ladies”. (photo © John Koenig)
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
American Lady larva – Black with yellow stripe and pale bands. Branching spines are black with red base. Feeds on cudweeds, pussytoes, and pearly everlasting. (photo © salamanderdance)
Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta columbia county northwest oregon
Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta mylitta) – 1.1″-1.5″. Reddish-orange above with narrow black markings. Heavily patterned underwing has light band in middle. (photo © Patricia)
Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Mylitta Crescent larva – Black with yellow lines on side. Black branching spines have white spot on the base. Feeds on thistles. (photo © Todd Stout)

Snowberry Checkerspot Euphydryas colon columbia county northwest oregon
Snowberry Checkerspot (Euphydryas colon) – to 2.3″. Black above with alternating cream and red dots. Below hindwing has red-white-red-white pattern. Lives in mountain forest openings, rare in our area. (photo © Jim Johnson)
Snowberry Checkerspot Euphydryas colon larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Snowberry Checkerspot larva – Black with white dots. Bristly spines on top are orangish, spines on the sides are black. Feeds on snowberry and figworts. (photo © grinnin)
Commas, Tortoiseshells, and Mourning Cloak (Nymphalinae)
Rustic Green Comma Polygonia faunus rusticus columbia county northwest oregon
Rustic Green Comma (Polygonia faunus rusticus) – 1.8″-2.5″. Reddish-brown to orange above with broad brown borders. Brown below with light bands. Wings ragged at edge. Found in riparian woodland. (photo © manzanita-pct)
Green Comma Polygonia faunus larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Green Comma larva – Black with numerous orange and yellow stripes and white dots. Spines yellow-orange in front and white in back. Feeds on willows, birch, and rhododendron. (photo © Jason Dombroskie)
Western Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus neomarsyas Satyr Anglewing columbia county northwest oregon
Western Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus neomarsyas) – 1.8″-2.5″. Also called “Satyr Anglewing”. Wings above have narrower brown margin. Below bands relatively uniform in color. Found in riparian woodland. (photo © lohump)
Western Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus neomarsyas Satyr Anglewing larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Satyr Comma larva – Black with greenish-white or yellowish bands. Spines are yellowish, sometimes more white or orange. Feeds on nettles. (photo © Donna Pomeroy)
Oreas Comma Silenus Anglewing Polygonia oreas columbia county northwest oregon
Oreas Comma (Polygonia oreas silenus) – Subspecies “Silenus Anglewing”. – 1.6″-1.9″. Upper surface has more distinct yellow chevrons along dark border. Below dark grayish-brown. Found in forests. (photo © Mike Patterson)
Oreas Comma Polygonia oreas larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Oreas Comma larva – Black with white, yellow, or orange lines. Spines yellow or orange. Feeds on gooseberry and possibly other related berry bushes. (photo © Bryan Kelly-McArthur)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti subpallida columbia county northwest oregon
Western Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti subpallida) – 1.3″-2.5″. Dark above with wide yellow/orange band. Dark brown below with lighter band near margin. Found in wet areas near forest. (photo © blcomegys)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti subpallida larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell larva – Black with broken yellow line on sides and many white flecks. Dark dorsal stripe. Black branching spines. Feeds on nettles. (photo © crgillette)
California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica herri columbia county northwest oregon
California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica herri) – Subspecies “Herr’s Tortoiseshell”. – 1.3″-2.8″. Orangish above with black spots and borders. Dark mottled brown below. Occasionally has huge population explosions. (photo © rachholzman)
California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
California Tortoiseshell larva – Black with pale yellow lines. Spines yellow-orange in middle and black at ends. Feeds on California lilacs. (photo © Ken-ichi Ueda)

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa columbia county northwest oregon
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) – 2.3″-4″. Dark brown above, light border rimmed with blue spots. Dark below with light border. Found in forest openings and riparian areas. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Mourning Cloak larva – Black with white flecking and 8 distinct reddish dots. Spines black and only lightly branched. Feeds on willows, cottonwood, birch and elm. (photo © Rick Nirschl)
Admirals and Sisters (Limenitidinae)
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini columbia county northwest oregon
Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini ilgae) – 2″-2.6″. Above black with white median band and orange tip. Below reddish-brown with line of white marks. Found in forests and riparian areas. (photo © Patricia)
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Lorquin’s Admiral larva – Bulky yellow-brown body with pale saddle and two antennae-like tubercles. Feeds on willows, cottonwoods, birch, plums, and cherries. (photo © hufflite)

California Sister Adelpha californica columbia county northwest oregon
California Sister (Adelpha californica) – 2.5″-4″. Similar to Lorquin’s Admiral, orange patches differ in shape and placement. Blue bands on both sides of “shoulder”. Rare due to loss of oak woodlands. (photo © amandajb35)
California Sister Adelpha californica larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
California Sister larva – Bulky green body, often with brown markings. Branched yellow spines. Distasteful to predators. Feeds on oak. (photo © Ken-ichi Ueda)
Satyrs (Satyrinae)
Common Ringlet Coenonympha california columbia county northwest oregon
Common Ringlet (Coenonympha california) Also known as “California Ringlet”. – 1.3″-1.5″. Small, white to tan with indistinct markings. A poor flier. Found in grassy habitats. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Common Ringlet Coenonympha california larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Common Ringlet larva – Small green caterpillar with pale white-to-yellow stripe on side. Short projections on end of body. Feeds on grasses, fescues, and sedges. (photo © Alan Liang)
Common Wood-Nymph Ariane’s Satyr Cercyonis pegala ariane northwest oregon columbia county
Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala ariane) – 2″-3″. Subspecies “Ariane’s Satyr”. Brown with two eyespots on each side of forewing. Sometimes have small eyespots on hindwing. Found in open fields and roadsides. (photo © Jim Johnson)
Common Wood-Nymph Cercyonis pegala larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Common Wood-Nymph larva – Green with narrow dark stripes. Two short pinkish projections at end of abdomen. Feeds on grasses and fescues. (photo © Shelby Fulton)

White and Sulphers (Pieridae)

Pine White Neophasia menapia columbia county northwest oregon
Pine White (Neophasia menapia menapia) – 1.7″-2.2″. White with characteristic black marking on end of forewing. Black front border. Rear wing has black veins beneath. Found wherever pines and firs grow. (photo © Eli Loftis)
Pine White Neophasia menapia larva caterpillar douglas fir conifers columbia county northwest oregon
Pine White larva – Striking green and white stripes alternate. Feeds on Douglas fir, pines, and other conifers. (photo © judith holm)
western white Pontia occidentalis occidentalis columbia county northwest oregon
Western White (Pontia occidentalis occidentalis) – 1.5″-2.1″. White with grayish markings on end of forewing and darker markings inset. Grayish veins beneath. Found in most open habitats. (photo © Paul Prappas)
Western white Pontia occidentalis larva caterpillar mustard columbia county northwest oregon
Western White larva – Green or purple stripes alternate with yellow or orange. Has conspicuous black speckling. Feeds on various plants from the mustard family. (photo © Todd Stout)
Cabbage White Pieris rapae columbia county northwest oregon
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae rapae) – 1.2″-2″. White with 1-2 small black spots on forewing. No color on veins. Found in all habitats, especially disturbed spaces like crops and gardens. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Cabbage White Pieris rapae larva caterpillar lettuce broccoli cauliflower mustard columbia county northwest oregon
Cabbage White larva – Bright green with light dorsal stripe, sometimes yellow dots on side. Small hairs. Feeds on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, collards, and many garden flowers. (photo © Andrew Dilley)
Margined White Pieris marginalis marginalis columbia county northwest oregon
Margined White (Pieris marginalis marginalis) – 1.5″-2.2″. White with grayish veins below, no black markings. Found in wet forest, often in riparian zones or shaded areas. (photo © Mike)
Margined White Pieris marginalis larva caterpillar yellowcress toothwort pepperwort mustard family columbia county northwest oregon
Margined White larva – Green, sometimes with indistinct dark green lateral stripe. Small hairs. Feeds on yellowcress, toothwort, pepperwort, and other mustard relatives. (photo © Caitlin LaBar, used with permission)
Western Clouded Sulpher Colias philodice eriphyle columbia county northwest oregon
Western Clouded Sulpher (Colias philodice eriphyle) – 1.2″-2″. Yellow to white with no orange on forewing. Narrow dark border and dark spot on each wing. Found in disturbed habitats. (photo © RJ Baltiera)
Clouded Sulpher Colias philodice larva caterpillar alfalfa clover legumes vetches columbia county northwest oregon
Clouded Sulpher larva – Green with white lateral stripe (sometimes with red dashes within) and faint green dorsal stripe. Feeds on alfalfa, lupine, clover, vetches, and several legumes. (photo © Dave Wagner)
Orange Sulpher Alfalfa Sulpher Colias eurytheme columbia county northwest oregon
Orange Sulpher (Colias eurytheme) – 1.3″-2.8″. Males orange/yellow with dark border and spot on each wing. Females yellow to white with light spots in wider dark border. Sweeps in during boom years. (photo © Liz Osborn)
Orange Sulpher Colias eurytheme larva caterpillar alfalfa clover columbia county northwest oregon
Orange Sulpher larva – Green with white lateral stripe (sometimes red dashes within) and faint green dorsal stripe. Feeds on alfalfa but will also eat clover and related plants. (photo © Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org)
Julia Orangetip Anthocharis julia flora columbia county northwest oregon
Julia Orangetip (Anthocharis julia flora) – Subspecies “Flora Orangetip” – 1″-1.3″. White, characteristic orange marking on end of forewing has black borders. Found in roadsides and meadows. (photo © spinyurchin)
Julia Orangetip Anthocharis julia larva rockcresses bittercresses toothworts columbia county northwest oregon
Julia Orangetip larva – Somewhat flattened body with tiny hairs, often with a white lateral line at lower margin. Feeds on rockcresses, bittercresses and toothworts. (photo © Todd Stout)

Hairstreaks, Coppers and Blues (Lycaenidae)

Coppers (Lycaeninae)
Purplish Copper Tharsalea Lycaena helloides columbia county northwest oregon
Purplish Copper (Tharsalea helloides) – 1.1″-1.5″. No tail. Males brown with purple sheen, females orange and brown. Gray/brown below with black dots. Found in damp ditches and stream margins. (photo © Mike Patterson)
Purplish Copper Tharsalea helloides docks sorrels knotweed columbia county northwest oregon
Purplish Copper larva – Bright green body is thick with small hairs. Feeds on docks and sorrels as well as knotweed. (No Photo Available)
Hairstreaks (Theclinae)
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus atrofasciata columbia county northwest oregon
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus atrofasciata) – 1.1″-1.4″. Dark gray above, not brown. Below black marks bordered in white; two orange dots are prominent. Found on hilltops, yards, and gardens. (photo © Jeff Ward)
Gray Hairstreak Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus atrofasciata larva buckwheat lupine mallow strawberries blackberries columbia county northwest oregon
Gray Hairstreak larva – Green to brown to pink, often with row of white diagonal dashes on each side. Feeds on wild buckwheat, lupine, mallow, strawberries, blackberries, and many other plants. (photo © Chhaya Werner)
Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinus nootka northwestern willow columbia county northwest oregon
Sylvan Hairstreak (Satyrium sylvinus nootka) – 1″-1.4″. Brown above. Gray below with 1-2 rows of black dots, not obviously bordered in white. Orange dot in front of wispy tail. Found in riparian forests. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Sylvan Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinus columbia county northwest oregon
Sylvan Hairstreak larva – Yellowish-green to green with two pale lines along the back and a row of lighter diagonal dashes on each side. Feeds on willow. (photo © Todd Stout)
Western Brown Elfin Callophrys augustinus iroides columbia county northwest oregon
Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus iroides) – Subspecies “Western Elfin”. – 0.9″-1.1″. Gray-brown to red-brown with indistinct black patches/dots below on rear wing. Found in mixed forest. (photo © Don Henise)
Western Brown Elfin Callophrys augustinus larva salal bearberry mahonia columbia county northwest oregon
Brown Elfin larva – Green with two rows of pale triangular patches shaded in red. Feeds on salal, bearberry, snowbrush, and mahonia. (photo @ Todd Stout)
Moss's Elfin Callophrys mossii  columbia county northwest oregon
Moss’s Elfin (Callophrys mossii mossii) – 1.1″-1.4″. Brown above. Below dark brown interior separated from lighter exterior by wandering squiggle. Found on rocky cliffs. (photo © Brandon Hawn)
Moss's Elfin Callophrys mossii  larva stonecrop columbia county northwest oregon
Moss’s Elfin larva – Red (sometimes lighter) with light/dark diagonal marks in a line. Feeds on stonecrop on south-facing rocky outcrops. (photo © hormshaw)
Juniper Hairstreak Callophrys gryneus Callophrys nelsoni western red cedar insense columbia county northwest oregon
Nelson’s Hairstreak (Callophrys nelsoni) – 0.9″-1.`1″. Underside chestnut-brown with white wavy arcs. Smaller than Johnson’s Hairstreak, with a lilac tint and less complete white line. Found in wet forests. (photo © Joe Engler)
Juniper Hairstreak Callophrys gryneus Callophrys nelsoni larva caterpillar western red cedar insense columbia county northwest oregon
Nelson’s Hairstreak larva – Green, marked in yellow or white with raised squarish pattern above and dashes below. Feeds on cedar. (photo © Jeffrey Miller)
Coastal Green Hairstreak Callophrys dumetorum columbia county northwest oregon
Coastal Green Hairstreak (Callophrys dumetorum) Also known as “Lotus Hairstreak”. – 1″-1.3″. No tail. Brownish above, gray and greenish below. Found in meadows and openings on coastal hills. (photo © Stefan)
Coastal Green Hairstreak Callophrys dumetorum columbia county northwest oregon
Coastal Green Hairstreak larva – Green body is thick with small hairs. Paired light dorsal lines and lateral lines. Feeds on wild buckwheat and various Lotus sp. (photo © Kojiro Shiraiwa)
Blues (Polyommatinae)

The dorsal photos below are all males. Female “blues” can vary from brown to partly blue to mostly blue, depending on the season.

Western Tailed-Blue Cupido amyntula amyntula columbia county northwest oregon
Western Tailed-Blue (Cupido amyntula amyntula) – 0.9″-1.3″. Bluish above, chalky-white below with scattered black dots. Found in damp ditches and stream margins. (photo © Bruce Newhouse)
Western Tailed Blue Western Tailed-Blue Cupido amyntula amyntula larva caterpillar deervetches vetchlings columbia county northwest oregon
Western Tailed-Blue larva – Brownish-yellow to green with fine white hairs. Red to dark green stripe on back. Feeds on wild legumes including deervetches. (photo © Todd Stout)
Eastern Tailed-Blue Cupido comyntas sissona columbia county northwest oregon
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas sissona) – 1″-1.2″. Darker with more distinct markings than Western Tailed. Found in roadsides and fields. Introduced from east coast. (photo © Patricia)
Eastern Tailed Blue Eastern Tailed-Blue Cupido comyntas sissona larva caterpillar deervetches clover columbia county northwest oregon
Eastern Tailed-Blue larva – Dark green to reddish with dark dorsal line and light lateral lines. Body is thick with small hairs. Feeds on clovers. (photo © Tom Murray)
Echo Azure Pacific Celastrina echo Papilio argiolus columbia county northwest oregon
Echo Azure (Celastrina echo echo) Subspecies “Pacific Azure”. – to 1.2″. Sky blue above, frosty gray below with a row of black dashes backed by fainter chevrons. Found near host plants. (photo © Jim Johnson)
Echo Azure Pacific Celastrina echo larva caterpillar lilac buckeye blackberry columbia county northwest oregon
Echo Azure larva – Green or red, sometimes both, with prominent white on the top and sides. Feeds on snowbrush ceanothus, willow, dogwood, and other woody plants. (photo © Todd Stout)
Behr's Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus columbia county northwest oregon
Behr’s Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus incognitus) – 0.9″-1.2″. Silvery blue or darker above. Grayish under with row of white-fringed round black spots. (photo © blcomegys)
Behr's Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Silvery Blue larva – Mottled tan to brown with light-bordered dark dorsal line. Some have light lateral line. Feeds on lotus, lupine, clover, and other legumes. (photo © Karl Krocker)
Acmon Blue Plebejus Icaricia acmon columbia county northwest oregon
Acmon Blue (Icaricia acmon) – 0.7″-1.1″. Males light blue above, females dark brown with blue base. Gray below with white-bordered black spots. Red-orange band, above often black-bordered in front. Found in fields. (photo © Koji Shiraiwa)
Acmon Blue Icaricia acmon larva caterpillar Plebejus columbia county northwest oregon
Acmon Blue larva – Green, pale, or pinkish, with dark green or red dorsal line and diagonal lateral marks. Feeds on wild buckwheats, lupine, and milkvetches. (photo © Dennis Walker)

Skippers (Hesperiidae)

Spread-winged Skippers (Pyrginae)
Common Checkered-Skipper Burnsius communis columbia county northwest oregon
Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis) – 1″-1.5″. Brown wings with broken rows of squarish white blotches. Found in open fields and disturbed roadside. (photo © Mike Hansen)
Common Checkered-Skipper Burnsius Pyrgus communis mallows checkerspot hollyhock columbia county northwest oregon
Common Checkered-Skipper larva – Green to tan with light lines and dark green medial line. Covered in fine white hairs. Head brown with small white dots. Feeds on mallows and hollyhock. (photo © Sandy Schwinn)
Two-banded Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus ruralis columbia county northwest oregon
Two-banded Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus ruralis ruralis) – 1″-1.2″. Darker brown with uneven rows of shorter white spots. Found in meadows and forest clearings. (photo © Leslie Flint)
Two-banded Checkered-Skipper Pyrgus ruralis strawberry large-leaved avens silversweeds columbia county northwest oregon
Two-banded Checkered-Skipper larva – Greenish-tan with dark green line, small white hairs. Dark head. Feeds on strawberries, possibly also large-leaved avens and silverweeds. (photo © Todd Stout)
Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius columbia county northwest oregon
Propertius Duskywing (Erynnis propertius) – to 1.7″. Forewings dark brown, more brightly marked than persius. Line of glassy dots near end. Hind wings brown. Found in oak woodlands. (photo © Rich Hoyer)
Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius oak woodlands Quercus garryana columbia county northwest oregon
Propertius Duskywing larva – Pale green with white speckles. Head light brown with lighter patches. Feeds on oaks especially Oregon White Oak. (photo © Stephanie A. Rivest)
Dreamy Duskywing Erynnis icelus columbia county northwest oregon
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus) – 1.1″-1.5″. Dark forewings dusted in gray with a line of dark spots. No light dots on top of forewing. Hindwings lighter with a light fringe. Found in moist forest openings. (photo © Robin Gwen Agarwal)
Dreamy Duskywing Erynnis icelus caterpillar larva willow cottonwood beech columbia county northwest oregon
Dreamy Duskywing larva – Pale green with yellow lines and a dark green heart line. Feeds on willow, cottonwood, aspen, and beech. (photo © christine123)
Persius Duskywing Erynnis persius columbia county northwest oregon
Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius) – 1.1″-1.6″. Dark brown-black forewing goes to gray at end, with indistinct markings and a few clear dots. Dark fringe on the brown hindwing. Found in forest clearings. (photo © Robb Hannawacker)
Persius Duskywing Erynnis persius lupinus thermopsis lotus nevadensis columbia county northwest oregon
Persius Duskywing larva – Pale green with light lines on sides and dark heart line above. Head yellow to reddish-brown. Feeds on lupines, false lupines, and Nevada Deervetch. (photo © Todd Stout)
Dicot Skippers (Eudaminae) and Skipperlings (Heteropterinae)
Pacific Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus californicus
Pacific Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus californicus) – to 1.8″. Brown wings with blocky yellow-orange patch, lighter dots. White patch below. Found in open wet forest and riparian areas. (photo © Paul Prappas)
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus big deervetch buck big-leafed lotus columbia county northwest oregon
Silver-spotted Skipper larva – Yellow-green body with black dots or lines. Legs and pseudolegs orange, head maroon to black, often orange “eyes”. Feeds on lotus including Big Deervetch. (photo © David Cappaert, Bugwood.org)
Western Arctic Skipper Carterocephalus skada columbia county northwest oregon
Western Arctic Skipper (Carterocephalus skada) – 0.8″-1.3″. Above dark brown with orange squares, below orange with outlined light squares. Found in wet meadows and along stream margins. (photo © guylmonty)
Arctic Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon (similar species) larva grasses purple reedgrass columbia county northwest oregon
Western Arctic Skipper larva – Pale green with light lateral stripes. Feeds on grasses including purple reedgrass, which it pulls together with silk to make nest. (photo is of related “Arctic Skipper” © Tom Murray)
Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae)
Juba Skipper Hesperia juba columbia county northwest oregon
Juba Skipper (Hesperia juba) – 1.2″-1.6″. Orange inner with distinct brown toothed border. Males have black line on forewing. Jagged white blocks on gray-brown underwing. Body reflects blue. Found in open areas. (photo © Michael Woodruff)
Juba Skipper Hesperia juba larvae caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Juba Skipper larva – Brown body, head black with pair of vertical tan lines. Makes nests of leaves held together by silk. Feeds on numerous grasses. (photo © Dennis Walker)
Field Sachem Atalopedes campestris campestris columbia county northwest oregon
Field Sachem (Atalopedes campestris campestris) – 1.4″-1.6″. Yellow-orange with indistinct brown border, black block in center. Underwing patches dull yellow. Found in yards, meadows, and open woods. (photo © Rich Hoyer)
Sachem Atalopedes campestris larva caterpillar grasses columbia county northwest oregon
Field Sachem larva – Olive green to brown with dark brown dorsal line. Head black. Feeds on various grasses including lawn grass. (photo © Dale Clark)
Sonoran Skipper Dog Star Polites sonora siris columbia county northwest oregon
Sonoran Skipper (Polites sonora siris) Subspecies “Dog Star Skipper”. – 1″-1.2″. Wings orangish-brown with brown border. Black mark in center. Arc of small light spots above and below. Found in prairies and old fields. (photo © Tom Benson)
Sonora Skipper Polites sonora larva caterpillar grasses lawn grass
Sonoran Skipper larva – Translucent olive-brown or grayish-green body. Head black. Makes nests of leaves held together by silk. Feeds on grasses, fescue and sedges. (photo © Todd Stout)
Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides sylvanoides columbia county northwest oregon
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides sylvanoides) – 1″-1.3″. Orange wings with brown border and dark diagonal marking. Tan indistinctly marked underwing. Found in almost any habitat. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Woodland Skipper Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides larva caterpillar grasses columbia county northwest oregon
Woodland Skipper larva – Pale green with yellow line on side and dark green line above. Head cream, dark on the side and dark line in front. Larva feed on grasses, which they fold to hide within. (photo © Todd Stout)
Western Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris vestris columbia county northwest oregon
Western Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris vestris) – 1.2″-1.4″. Chocolate-brown wings. Males have small black mark, females a few light dots. Found in open fields, riparian corridors, and wet meadows. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Dun Skipper Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris larva caterpillar sedges columbia county northwest oregon
Dun Skipper larva – Green body, sometimes with light line on side. Head alternates cream/dark lines. Feeds on sedges, folding a leaf over and connecting it with silk to hide inside. (photo © Todd Stout)
Common Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes vialis columbia county northwest oregon
Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis) – 0.9″-1.2″. Dark brown with a checkered fringe. Indistinct white notch on both sides of forewing. Found in roadside gullies and small meadows. (photo © Paul Prappas)
Common Roadside-Skipper Common Roadside-Skipper Amblyscirtes vialis larva caterpillar grasses columbia county northwest oregon
Common Roadside-Skipper larva – Pale green with a dark green dorsal heart line. Black head whitens with age until only black midstripe is left. Feeds on various grasses. (photo © Todd Stout)

Butterflies no longer present in Columbia County

All of the following species were once found in northwestern Oregon, but appear to now be extirpated due to habitat loss from the reduction in native meadows and intact forest.

Zerene Fritillary Valley Silverspot Speyeria zerene bremnerii columbia county northwest oregon
Valley Silverspot (Speyeria zerene bremnerii) – 2.1″-2.7″. Tawny orange-brown. Willamette Valley native, now extinct in Oregon due to habitat loss. The Oregon Silverspot on the coast
(also a Zerene Fritillary subspecies) is critically endangered. (photo © Michael Ferguson)
Zerene's Fritillary Valley Silverspot Speyeria zerene bremnerii larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Valley Silverspot larva – Dark gray with pair of narrow light stripes on back. Spines are black and yellow. Feeds on Nuttall’s Violet. Found in moist meadows without invasive grasses or Scotch Broom. (photo © Jim Brock)
Callippe Fritillary Speyeria callippe columbia county northwest oregon
Callippe Fritillary (Speyeria callippe elaine) – 2″-2.5″. More buffy-tan than other fritillaries. Silver spots different from Valley Silverspot. Once in Coast Range but now extirpated west of Cascades. (photo © Ken Kertell)
Callippe Fritillary Speyeria callippe larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Callippe Fritillary larva – Gray with black markings, bristly spines orange or black. Head is black. Feeds on violets including Nuttal’s and Evergreen. (photo © Zaman et al.)
Field Crescent Phyciodes pulchella columbia county northwest oregon
Field Crescent (Phyciodes pulchella pulchella) – 1″-1.4″. Above darker than Mylitta Crescent, below sometimes less sharply patterned. Only found in native prairies, may no longer exist here. (photo © cschelz7)
Field Crescent Phyciodes pulchella pulchella columbia county northwest oregon
Field Crescent larva – Dark black body with grey-and-white dorsolateral band, sometimes dotted in red, and branching black spines. Feeds on various asters. (photo © Todd Stout)
Taylor's Checkerspot Euphydryas editha taylori columbia county northwest oregon
Taylor’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori) – to 2.3″. Below hindwing from edge has red-white-red-red-white pattern of lines. On the brink of extinction due to loss of native prairie habitat. Only two populations in Oregon. (photo © Steve Ansell)
Taylor's Checkerspot Euphydryas editha taylori larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Taylor’s Checkerspot larva – Black with white or orange spots and branched black spines. Feeds on various plants of the figwort family. (photo © Anne MS)
Tailed Copper Tharsalea arota Lycaena columbia county northwest oregon
Tailed Copper (Tharsalea arota) – 1.1″-1.4″. Has “tail”. Males brown with purple sheen, females orange and brown. Gray below, rows of black dots backed with white squiggle. Rediscovered in Polk County after 100 years of no Willamette Valley sightings. (photo © Noah Strycker)
Tailed Copper Tharsalea arota lyceana larva caterpillar columbia county northwest oregon
Tailed Copper larva – Bright green body is thick with small hairs. White dorsal dashes form a line on the back. Feeds on currants and gooseberry. (photo © Jeffrey Miller)
Johnson's Hairstreak Callophrys johnsoni columbia county northwest oregon
Johnson’s Hairstreak (Callophrys johnsoni) – 1.1″-1.4″. Chestnut-brown with white wavy arcs on the underside of each wing. Wispy tail. Found in old growth forest, so likely extinct in our county. (photo © Ken Kertell)
Johnson's Hairstreak Johnson's Hairstreak Callophrys johnsoni larva caterpillar dwarf mistletoe old growth forest columbia county northwest oregon
Johnson’s Hairstreak larva – Olive or lighter with red and yellow markings. Raised chevrons on the back give a sawtooth appearance. Feeds only on dwarf mistletoes in coniferous forest. (photo © David McCorkle)
Greenish Blue Icaricia saepiolus Plebejus columbia county northwest oregon
Greenish Blue (Icaricia saepiolus) – 1″-1.3″. Males blue or greenish-blue above, females brown with blue base. Pale gray below with rows of black spots. Extirpated or extremely rare west of the Cascades. (photo © Liam O’Brian)
Greenish Blue Icaricia saepiolus Plebejus larva caterpillar clover columbia county northwest oregon
Greenish Blue larva – Green, white-green, or reddish-brown, often with red dashes forming dorsal and lateral rows. Feeds on clovers. (photo © Nicky Davis)
Fender's Blue Plebejus Icaricia icarioides fenderi columbia county northwest oregon
Fender’s Blue (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) – 1.1″-1.4″. Males blue with black margin, females brownish. Tan below with white-bordered black spots. Found only in Willamette Valley prairie. Now an Endangered Species. (photo © Jeff Ward)
Fender's Blue Plebejus Icaricia icarioides fenderi larva caterpillar kincaid's lupine columbia county northwest oregon
Fender’s Blue larva – Bright green body is thick with small hairs. Some have light lateral line. Feeds only on native lupine, especially Kincaid’s Lupine. (photo © Jeffrey Miller)
Lupine Blue Icaricia lupini columbia county northwest oregon
Lupine Blue (Icaricia lupini) – 0.8″-1.2″. Similar to Acmon Blue, above males have broader dark borders on forewing and orangish band without black border in front. Found in meadows. Not recently seen in our area. (photo © Koji Shiraiwa)
Lupine Blue Icaricia lupini arrowleaf buckwheat sulpherflower larva columbia county northwest oregon
Lupine Blue larva – Pale green, yellow, or yellow-tan with darker dorsal line and numerous diagonal lateral marks, sometimes with lateral lines. Feeds on wild buckwheat. (photo © Todd Stout)
Mardon Skipper Polites mardon columbia county northwest oregon
Mardon Skipper (Polites mardon mardon) – 0.9″-1″. Wings brown and orange above. Unique arc of light rectangles below. Now missing from Willamette Valley due to loss of upland prairie habitat. (photo © Tom Kogut, USFWS)
Mardon Skipper Polites mardon fescue bunchgrass columbia county northwest oregon
Mardon Skipper larva – Translucent olive-tan body, head dark brown or black. Makes nests of leaves held together by silk. Feeds on fescue/bunchgrass. (photo © Loni Beyer)

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