Butterfly Identification

Butterfly watchers typically refer the term “butterflies” to the true butterflies (Papilionoidea), the skippers (Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (Hedyloidea). While almost every identification guide tells people how to differentiate butterflies and moths, I am not going to repeat here. Instead, I would like to share with you how to find the right resources to identify butterflies.

There are about 15000 to 20000 species of butterflies all over the world. Many species can only be found in certain part of the world or even endemic to small area within certain country, you may need to refer to some localized resources in order to identify them.

Typically speaking, we identify the butterflies through the features on the wings, on the body, on the eyes, and on the antenna.  The following photos have shown two species that look similar.  Still, we can spot some features that differentiate the two species.

Lamproptera meges 綠帶燕鳳蝶
Lamproptera meges 綠帶燕鳳蝶
Lamproptera curius 燕鳳蝶
Lamproptera curius 燕鳳蝶

In some cases, dissection of specimen may be required for accurate identification.

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