Summer = Butterflies

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (papilio glaucus) is in abundance this year. If you’ve visited Oregon Ridge during the past few weeks, you likely have noticed these large orange, black-striped insects. Here, several swallowtails are seen on this sweet spire bush at the ORNC parking lot.:

tiger swallowtail_ORNC

Tiger swallowtails are one of the most common and easily recognizable butterflies in our area. Likely each of us notice and remember a few certain butterflies time and again. But Maryland is home to over 150 different species. Many of those, about 100 species, choose the Piedmont as their habitat. The Piedmont is the physiographic region where Oregon Ridge is located.

The range of different species of butterflies varies depending on the type and abundance of flowers they prefer for nectar; the plants they choose for their nests to lay eggs, as well as temperature and elevation, among other factors.  Butterflies become adults at different times of the summer. As an example, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is at its peak and their population will begin declining the rest of the summer. But monarchs are just starting to show up in this area.

Below are pictures of other common butterflies. How many of these have you seen? Also, have you seen a monarch butterfly yet this year?

Photos courtesy of North American Butterfly Association, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and wikipedia. Species checklist reference: Maryland Department of Natural Resources.


Baltimore checkerspot – the “Maryland State Insect” (euphydryas phaeton):

baltimore checkerspot

mourning cloak (nymphalis antiopa):

mourning cloak

buckeye (junonia coenia):


spring azure (celastrina ladon):

spring azure

spicebush swallowtail (papilio troilus):

Swallowtail, Spicebush

clouded sulphur (colias philodice):

clouded sulphur

monarch (danaus plexippus):


cabbage white (pieris marginalis):

cabbage white

american painted lady (vanessag virginiensis):

american painted lady

viceroy (euphydryas phaeton)



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