Butterflies of China

The butterflies on this list were for the most part, photographed in Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.

Papilioninae – Swallowtails, Birdwings, Dragontails
Common Mormon Papilio polytes romulus
Asian Swallowtail or Chinese Yellow Swallotail Papilio xuthus
Old World Swallowtail Papilio machaon montanus
Great Mormon Papilio memnon heronus
Common Bluebottle Grapium sarpedon semifasciatus
Common Bluebottle Graphium sarpedon connectens
Common Bluebottle Graphium sarpedon luctatius
Glassy Bluebottle Graphium cloanthus
Pierinae – Whites, Orange-tips, Jezebels, Pereutes
Small Cabbage White Pieris rapae
Indian Cabbage White Pieris canidia
Large Cabbage White Pieris brassicae nepalensis
Kashmir White Pieris deota
Tibetan White or Himalayan Green-veined White Pieris melete ajaka
Pieris erutae
Great Orange Tip Hebomoia glaucippe glaucippe
Bath White Pontia daplidice moorei
Eastern Bath White Pontia edusa
Yellow Orange Tip Ixias pyrene yunnanensis
Oberthür’s Black-veined White Aporia bieti
Aporia delavayi
Coliadinae – Sulphurs, Yellows, Brimstones
Dark Clouded Yellow Colias chinesis fieldii
Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow Colias erate
Colias poliographus
Lemon Emigrant Catopsilia pomona
Lesser Brimstone Gonepteryx mahaguru
Lesser Brimstone Gonepteryx aspasia
Limenitidinae – Gliders, Sailors, Sisters, Foresters
Lance Sergeant Athyma pravara helma
Sullied Sailor Neptis soma
Heliconiinae – Longwings and Fritillaries
Pallas Fritillary Argyronome laodice
Indian Fritillary Argynnis hyperbius
Himalayan Queen Fritillary Issoria issaea
Satyrinae – Satyrs, Numphs, Browns, Phantoms, Palmflies
Grassland Butterfly Loxerebia pratorum
Loxerebia ypthimoides
Paroeneis palaearcticus
Staudinger’s Marbled White Melanargia epimede
Marbled White Melanargia montana
Melanargia leda
Melargia asiatica
Tibet Marbled Satyr Tatinga thibetanus
Aulocera merlina
Chonala praeusta
Ypthima melli
Ypthima zodia
Ypthima medusa
Ypthima ciris
Large Three-Ring Ypthima nareda
Ypthima motschulsky
Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus
Callerebia polyphemus
Danainae – Monarchs, Tigers, Crows, Glasswings, etc.
Dark Blue Tiger Tirumala septentrionis septentrionis
Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus chrysippus
Swinhoe’s Chocolate Tiger Parantica swenhoei
Chestnut Tiger Parantica sita niphonica
Nymphalinae – True Brushfoots
Blue Admiral Kaniska canace
Blue Pansy Junonia orithya wallacei
Peacock Pansy Junonia almana almana
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Indian Red Admiral Vanessa indica
Asian Comma Polygonia c-aureum
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae chinensis
Melitaea jezabel
Melitaea yuenty
Apaturinae – Emperors, Princes, Doxocopas
Purple Emporer Apatura iris bieti
Lesser Purple Emperor Apatura ilia yunnana
Cyrestinae – Daggerwings, Mapwings, Maplets
Tabby Pseudergolis wedah wedah
Theclinae – Hairstreaks, Sunstreaks, Oakblues etc.
Seraphim Gonerilia seraphim
Favonius cognatus
Indian Purple Hairstreak sakiozephyrus bieti
Slate Royal Maneca bhotea
Black-spotted Hairstreak Satyrium oenone
Lycaeninae – Coppers, Sapphires, Silverlines
Oberthür’s Copper Lycaena li
Polyommatinae – Blues, Arguses, Caeruleans
Tongeia filicaudis mushanus
Tongeia filicaudis fischeri
Alpine Blue Agriades orbitulus
Agriades lamasem
Black Spotted Cupid Tongeia ion
Dark Grass Blue Zizeeria karsandra
Pale Grass Blue Zizeeria maha
Himalayan Pale Grass Blue Pseudozizeeria maha maha
Short Tailed Blue Cupido argiades
Pea Blue or Long Tailed Blue Lampides boeticus
Plain Cupid Chilades pandava
Pale Hedge Blue Udara dilecta
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus
Plain Hedge Blue Calestrina lavendularis
Emelina Grass Blue Zizina emelina emelina
Polycaena chauchowensis
Hesperiinae – Grass Skippers
Common Straight Swift Parnara guttata
Aeromachus propinquus
Ochlodes thibetana
Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus alcinoides
West Himalayan Marbled Flat Lobocla liliana ignatius
Pyrginae – Spread-wing Skippers
Pyrgus maculatus
Marbled White Moth Nyctemera adversata


  1. Cody Segraves

    This was so immensely helpful! I studied abroad in Beijing in the Fall of 2012 and made a trip down to Hangzhou, where I saw a ton of butterflies that I wasn’t able to identify beyond family because of my inability to find a reliable field guide. By comparing your pictures to the ones I took of the butterflies, I was able to finally identify every single one of them today. Thank you so much! Do you happen to have a field guide you would recommend for Chinese butterflies? I’m returning to China to teach English in Ningbo, and I’d love to be able to identify butterflies in the field.

    1. Sylvia

      Thanks Cody! I’m so glad you found my site helpful. Sadly, I can not really recommend one Field Guide for China. If it exists, I’ve been unable to find it. I do have three books on Chinese butterflies, all quite limited, and all in Chinese. Do you read characters? If not, I’m not sure how helpful you’d find them. But none of them are great anyway. I use those along with two from Taiwan, and my Thailand book, which is ginormous. And still, sometimes I just can’t ID. I probably have at least 150-200 species still in the pipeline. I plan to work on making a list for Chinese butterflies this summer, so check back in September, and you might find that helpful. But at the bottom of this site, there is a link to my Resources Page, and I have information about the books that I use. LIke I said, they will not be as helpful as you would wish, and only one is what I would call a Field Guide, that you could take with you into the field. Unfortunately, it is packed at the moment, as we are moving to Yunnan next week, and so I can’t look and tell you how many species it has, but it’s pretty small. When I unpack it, I can update this comment thread and give you more of an idea. I gave a link to the place I bought it. But warning: I don’t know how reliable the place is. I placed my order, and then had to write dozens of emails following up, and tried calling the phone number, which was disconnected. I did finally get all my books almost 3 months after placing the order, but my Chinese friends were convinced it was a scam and I would never see them. So order at your own risk :-).

  2. Don Davis

    OMG Thank you for posting this website..my brother lives in S China and has collected and Mounted over 100 butterflies, but is unable to find any type of field guide. Your site will help immensely. I have entered his email address below. I am not sure he will be able to connect to this site. It will be slow but I would like to send him a copy of one of your photos along with the name of the butterfly using email if it is ok with you. Or maybe he will lucky and be able to connect.
    But, thank you so much for displaying this information. If you have published a book, we definitely want it. judith glover for my brother Don

    1. Sylvia

      Judith, so sorry I’ve been so slow to respond…we’ve had horrible internet for quite some time, and I just haven’t been able to comment or post!

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I’ll try to find some time this week to answer more in depth and write to the email address you left.

    1. Sylvia

      Judith, I don’t mind you copying and just sending it or linking to it for ID purposes, I just don’t want people publshing on other websites, etc. I have my butterfly photos lifted for things in the past, even used in a state park exhibit, without my permission :). I’ll try to follow up more with your brother this weekend, when I’m out of class, if our internet is working.

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