New Hope Creek Corridor Advisory Committee

Want to know more about butterflies in the New Hope Creek basin? We'll be posting that information here. Below is a comprehensive list and discussion that Jeffrey Pippen prepared specifically for Sandy Creek Park. It should be useful for exploring butterfly life anywhere in the area.

If you have information or images to share relating to butterflies in the area of New Hope Creek, please email us. And please report Sandy Creek Park butterfly sightings to Jeffrey Pippen at

Saturday, March 19—Bird and Butterfly Festival and Sandy Creek cleanup as part of Durham Creek Week. Click here for details.


Sandy Creek Park Butterflies
Jeffrey S. Pippen; 28 November 2010

While very few butterfly surveys have yet been undertaken at Sandy Creek Park, below is a list of species that should be present, given the correct season and weather conditions.  Butterflies are most commonly seen on warm, sunny days taking nectar from flowers or fluids and salts from moist soil.  On sunny mornings, they are often seen basking with wings open for thermoregulation.  Look for them in any open, sunny areas, especially on flowers, or along the trails and creek on moist, open ground and around the edges of puddles.

Following each species name is an abundance category (common, uncommon, rare) followed by the best season(s) to search for the species (Sp=Spring, Su=Summer, Fa=Fall).  For example, some species fly as adults only in the Spring, while others are most commonly found in the Fall.

Photographs and information about these and other North American species can be found here (to narrow things down, you may want to click on the North Carolina sublist.)


Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), uncommon, Sp, Su, Fa
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus), uncommon, Sp, Su, Fa
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus), common, Sp, Su, Fa

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea), common, Sp
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae), common, Su, Fa
Little Yellow (Pyrisitialisa), uncommon, Fa
Sleepy Orange (Eurema niccipe), common, Sp, Su, Fa

Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus), uncommon, Sp, Su
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), common, Sp
Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta), common, Su

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta), uncommon, Sp, Su, Fa
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma), common, Sp, Su
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), common, Sp, Su
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis), uncommon, Su, Fa
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton), uncommon, Su, Fa
Gemmed Satyr (Cyllopsis gemma), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Little Wood-Satyr (Megisto cymela), common, Su
Common Wood-Nymph (Megisto cymela), common, Su, Fa
Monarch (Danaus plexippus), common, Sp, Su, Fa

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades), uncommon, Sp, Su, Fa
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis), common, Sp
Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius), common, Su, Fa
Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Swarthy Skipper (Nastra lherminier), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius), common, Su, Fa
Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus), common, Su, Fa
Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes), common, Su, Fa
Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna), common, Su, Fa
Sachem (Atalopedes campestris), common, Su, Fa
Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan), uncommon, Su, Fa
Zabulon Skipper (Poanes Zabulon), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestries), common, Sp, Su, Fa
Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola), common, Fa


(These species are known from Durham County but are uncommon, habitat specific, or rare enough that positive sightings should preclude inclusion on the list above.)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)
Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)
Oak Hairstreak (Satyrium favonius)
Henry’s Elfin (Callophrys henrici)
Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)
White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon)
Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes Appalachia)
Sleepy Duskwying (Erynnis brizo)
Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco)
Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet)
Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion)
Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna)
Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon)
Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)

Please report Sandy Creek Park butterfly sightings to Jeffrey Pippen at

A note on seasons: Since biological organisms don't necessarily follow human constructs,  use of the terms "spring, summer, and fall" is loose. There are four local species that overwinter as adults and could be seen on warm winter days (American Snout, Mourning Cloak, Eastern Comma, and Question Mark), but since that's not a common occurrence, they are not listed for a winter season.  Additionally, there are a few handfuls of other taxa that could have a "freak" individual that pupates early, late, etc.  Orange Sulphurs may be seen here in January and Variegated Fritillaries in early February, for example, but these wouldn't be expected then. And when spring butterflies start flying depends upon the weather each year.  Some spring species start in Feb, some in Mar, some in April. Generally if the taxon doesn't really start flying until May, it was called  a Summer flier, but again, weather can dictate an early May v. a late May start, for example.  And how late into the fall butterflies can be found depends in part upon the number of hard freezes.