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Checklist of the Butterflies (Papilionoidea) of Vermont, USA

Latest version published by Vermont Center for Ecostudies on Feb 19, 2021 Vermont Center for Ecostudies

The 1995 checklist of Vermont Lepidoptera listed 89 butterfly species in 48 genera (Grehan et al. 1995), with two new butterfly species recorded for Vermont. The report documented identifications primarily from specimens held at the University of Vermont Entomology Research Laboratory, the Carl T. Parsons Collection, state agencies, and private collections held by the authors. Most of the records were from collections made in northwestern Vermont. Of the 22 collecting localities, only three sites were located in the Northeastern Highlands, one in the southern third of the state, with the remainder in northwestern Vermont. The authors noted that their work should be augmented by searching for Vermont records in regional collections, as well as developing a database to document distribution, seasonality, habitat and food plants in Vermont. This spawned the Vermont Butterfly Survey which was completed from 2002 - 2007 across the entire state (McFarland and Zahendra 2010). As part of this effort, private and institutional collections, as well as published and unpublished literature and field notebooks, were searched for Vermont butterfly records. Label data from 2,377 specimens, 161 literature records and 208 visual sightings from field notebooks representing 94 species of butterflies and five giant silkmoths were found in 16 private and institutional collections, as well as in published literature, unpublished reports and field notebooks. Most records came from the UVM Zadock Thompson Natural History Collection (727), the UVM Entomological Research Laboratory (531) Scott Griggs’ personal collection (398), James Hedbor’s personal collection (263), Peabody Museum of Natural History (149; partially completed) and unpublished reports by Donald Miller (106). Hartland Nature Club, the oldest such club in Vermont, had the oldest specimens, dating back to 1892, which probably survived because of sealed Ricker mounts. After six years of surveys the VBS database contained 36,121 records representing 103 species of butterflies.

Five species with known historic occurrences were not documented by VBS. Three of these were of unknown origin or vagrants and were not expected to be recorded. These included (1) a Gulf Fritillary specimen in a collection at St. Michael’s College found road killed in Burlington on 5 May 1995 by J. Leonard; (2) a Long-tailed Skipper found nectaring on scarlet runner bean in a garden in South Hero on 6 September 1994 by James Hedbor (personal collection); and (3) a California Tortoiseshell found in southern Vermont (date unknown) by P. Opler (Scott 1986). Two formerly extant species, Regal Fritillary and Persius Duskywing, are apparently now extirpated in Vermont. The last known Regal Fritillary was a female collected on 17 July 1941 by O.M. Calloway in Pomfret, Vermont (Grehan 1995). We found the specimen in the Peabody Museum of Natural History collection. It was originally housed in the Dartmouth College collections. We also uncovered two males and a female of this species collected on 14 July 1939 in Dorset in the Peabody collection and three specimens from North Hartland (1894 and 1899, exact dates unknown) in the Hartland Nature Club collection. There is only one known Vermont record for Persius Duskywing, from an unknown location in 1983 by P.A. Opler (Grehan et al. 1995). There are no other details available.

VBS added 11 butterfly species to the Vermont checklist. Most of the new records were obtained from the southernmost region of Vermont where little collecting had been done historically. However, both the Hackberry and Tawny emperors were found in the northwestern region of Vermont where most historic collecting occurred. Because they were found only in a few floodplain forests within the Vermont range of Hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis), the two species may have simply been previously missed rather than recently immigrated into Vermont. Either way, Vermont is on the northern edge of the range of both emperors and their host plant. Six of the new species are now included as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Vermont, 7 have been assigned a conservation rank of S1 (most imperiled), and 2 are designated conservation status unknown (SU) until further targeted surveys are complete.

Since the VBS, observers have annually provided many butterfly records to our project in iNaturalist ( and eButterfly ( Two additional species were added to the checklist since VBS. An Eastern Giant Swallowtail was first photographed in a garden in Addison on 30 July 2010 by A. Fisher. Several days later a sighting was reported from a garden just 10 miles north in Charlotte by H. Kaestner. This species is now well established in portions of Vermont. The first US record of Common Blue was reported by David Barrington on 5 Sept 2020 in Alburg, VT with additional records later in the month in nearby Saint Albans, VT. This species presumably arrived here from the well established population in nearby Quebec, Canada.

The Vermont Butterfly Checklist is now comprised of 111 species in 5 families (Family:no. species= Hesperiidae 37, Lycaenidae 23, Nymphalidae 38, Papilionidae 6, Pieridae 7).

Data Records

The data in this checklist resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 115 records. 1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

  • Taxon (core)
  • Distribution 

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 115 records in English (10 KB) - Update frequency: as needed
Metadata as an EML file download in English (14 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (13 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

McFarland K, Pfeiffer B (2021): Checklist of the Butterflies (Papilionoidea) of Vermont, USA. v1.4. Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Dataset/Checklist.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Vermont Center for Ecostudies. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 73eb16f0-4b06-4347-8069-459bc2d96ddb.  Vermont Center for Ecostudies publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Checklist; Derivedfromoccurrence


Who created the resource:

Kent McFarland
Conservation Biologist
Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 05055 Norwich VT US
Bryan Pfeiffer
Field Biologist
Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Kent McFarland
Conservation Biologist
Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 05055 Norwich VT US

Who filled in the metadata:

Kent McFarland
Conservation Biologist
Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 05055 Norwich VT US

Who else was associated with the resource:

Kent McFarland
Conservation Biologist
Vermont Center for Ecostudies PO Box 420 05055 Norwich VT US

Geographic Coverage

Vermont, USA

Bounding Coordinates South West [42.634, -73.63], North East [45.105, -71.345]

Taxonomic Coverage


Superfamily  Papilionoidea (butterflies)

Project Data

Title Vermont Atlas of Life
Identifier VAL
Study Area Description State of Vermont, USA

The personnel involved in the project:

Sampling Methods

see intro

Study Extent State of Vermont, USA

Method step description:

  1. see intro

Bibliographic Citations

  1. McFarland, K.P. and S. Zahendra. 2010. The Vermont Butterfly Survey, 2002 – 2007: A Final Report to the Natural Heritage Information Project of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. 298 pp.
  2. Grehan, J. R., B. L. Parker, G. R. Nielsen, D. H. Miller, J. D. Hedbor, M. S. Sabourin, and M. S. Griggs. 1995. Moths and Butterflies of Vermont (Lepidoptera): A Faunal Checklist. Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Vermont and Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, State of Vermont. University of Vermont Misc. Pub. 116, Vermont Monitoring Cooperative Bulletin No. 1.
  3. Larrivée M, McFarland K, Zhang X, Prudic K, Kerr J (2020). eButterfly. Metadata and dataset.
  4. Ueda K (2021). iNaturalist Research-grade Observations. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2021-02-16. accessed via on 2021-02-16

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 73eb16f0-4b06-4347-8069-459bc2d96ddb