Arboretum Butterflies

swallowtail on flower

April to September you can see a myriad of buttefly species here on a bright sunny day. The diversity of plants in The Arboretum not only provides nectar for these butterflies, but also food for their caterpillars. One of the best places to look for butterflies is our Gosling Wildlife Gardens.

Northern Pearly-Eye
It's not all about nectar for some butterfly species. This Northern Pearly-Eye is getting nutrients from dog poo.

Giant Swallowtail caterpillar
Giant Swallowtail caterpillars protect themselves by looking like a bird dropping on a leaf. This species has become quite common in The Arboretum in the last decade.

Red Admiral
This Red Admiral is enjoying some lilac nectar.

American Snout
A recent addition to our butterfly list, this American Snout was found by a local photographer. This species is usually found farther south than our area. Photo by James McGarry.

Butterflies of The University of Guelph Arboretum


  • Silver-spotted Skipper
  • Juvenal's Duskywing
  • Wild Indigo Duskywing
  • Arctic Skipper
  • European Skipper
  • Indian Skipper
  • Tawny-edged Skipper
  • Long Dash Skipper
  • Delaware Skipper
  • Hobomok Skipper
  • Dun Skipper


  • Black Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • Giant Swallowtail
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Sulphurs and Whites

  • Checkered White
  • Cabbage White
  • Clouded Sulphur
  • Orange Sulphur

Harvesters, Coppers, Hairstreaks and Blues

  • Harvester
  • Coral Hairstreak
  • Edward's Hairstreak
  • Banded Hairstreak
  • Striped Hairstreak
  • Eastern Pine Elfin
  • Eastern Tailed Blue
  • Silvery Blue 
  • Spring Azure
  • Summer Azure

Brush-footed Butterflies

  • American Snout
  • Great Spangled Fritillary
  • Silver-bordered Fritillary
  • Meadow Fritillary
  • Northern Crescent
  • Question Mark
  • Eastern Comma
  • Mourning Cloak
  • Milbert's Tortoiseshell
  • American Lady
  • Painted Lady
  • Red Admiral
  • Common Buckeye
  • White Admiral
  • Red-spotted Purple
  • Viceroy
  • Tawny Emperor
  • Hackberry Emperor
  • Northern Pearly-Eye
  • Eyed Brown
  • Little Wood-Satyr
  • Common Ringlet
  • Common Wood-Nymph
  • Monarch

Total: 53 species