Basics for Beginners 

Butterfly eggs hatch into young caterpillars.   They feed on specifc plants and go through the a series of molts called instars as they develop.  More. 

For many reasons, some butterfly species are generally easier to raise than other species of butterflies.  Click above on any of the five regions within the U.S. to identify which butterfly rearing projects are good options for your area (or click on any listed below.)  These pages will provide slide shows that demonstrate what caterpillars look like, how to find eggs and caterpillars in the field, how to collect live females for eggs, what host plants are needed to raise these species of butterflies, and what containers and cages you'll need to raise these caterpillars to adult butterflies.

For more complete information on the strategies of obtaining and rearing butterflies, please visit our Techniques and Setups section.  For experienced lepidopterists seeking more complete taxa-specific rearing strategies, click here.


Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)    (Western U.S)

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) (U.S.)

Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius)  (Eastern U.S.; Arizona)

Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe) (Southern U.S.)

Checkered White (Pontia protodice)  (North America)

Becker's White (Pontia beckeri) (Western U.S.)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)  (North America)

The Monarch (Danaus plexippus)  (North America)

The Queen (Danaus gilippus thersippus) (Western U.S.)

Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis astyanax astyanax) (Midwest and Eastern U.S.)

Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini burrisoni) (Western U.S.)

California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)  (Western North America)

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti furcillata) (Western and NE U.S.)

Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus satyrus) (Western United States)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria) (North America)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)  (North America)

The Buckeye (Junonia coenia grisea) (Southern U.S.)

Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia crocale) (Southwestern U.S.)

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) (North America)