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23 Rare and Stunning Butterfly Species

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful creatures to look at in all of nature. They bring a certain sense of peace and harmony to any given surroundings. The butterflies seen here are extremely rare and placed high atop the endangered species list. It would be a real shame to lose them, especially after you see just how beautiful they are. Here are 23 gorgeous and exotic butterflies that might someday become extinct.
Click on images to enlarge

1. The Monarch

Butterflies: The monarch
The orange and black Monarch is a North American native that migrates to Mexico for the winter. The Monarch has quite a journey too, spanning between 1,200 to 2,800 miles (1,931 km to 4,506 km). There are about 33 million Monarchs remaining in existence today. 
2. Sapho Longwing
Butterflies: Sapho Longwing
This gorgeous light blue and white butterfly is a native of Costa Rica and certain rainforests in Belize. Sapho Longwings differ from other butterfly species in that they only breed on one specific plant. 


3. Blue Morpho
Butterflies: Blue Morpho
Blue Morphos are very easy to spot since their enormous bright blue wings stretch nearly 8 inches across (20 cm). They appear almost invisible when they take off, due to their dark brown and bright blue colors intertwining together.
4. Question Mark Butterfly
Butterflies: Question mark butterfly
This beautiful butterfly can be found in North America. They mainly reside in wooded areas and city parks, or generally in areas that have trees and free spaces. The adult butterfly has a wingspan of 1.7 to 2.9 inches (4.5–7.6 cm). 
5. Mitchell's Satyr
Butterflies: Mitchell's Satyr
Neonympha Mitchell is an endangered species of nymphalid butterfly from eastern America. 
6. Purple Emperor
Butterflies: Purple Emperor
The Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) butterfly is Eurasian. Adults can be identified by their dark brown wings with white bands and spots and an orange ring on each of the hind wings. Males usually have a wingspan of about 2.8–3.1 inches (70–80 mm) and have a purple-blue sheen that the slightly larger females do not have. 
7. Banded Peacock
Butterflies: Banded Peacock
The Banded Peacock is a South Asian native, seen mostly throughout parts of India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. The lime green and dark black colors easily distinguish them from other species. 
8. Ceylon Rose
Butterflies: Ceylon Rose


The Ceylon Rose, sometimes Sri Lankan Rose (Pachliopta jophon) is a butterfly found in Sri Lanka that belongs to the Swallowtail family. It was earlier classified as a subspecies of Crimson Rose. It is critically endangered, declining due to loss of habitat. 

9. Chimaera Birdwing
Butterflies: Chimaera Birdwing


The Chimaera Birdwing (Ornithoptera chimaera) is a birdwing butterfly of the Papilionoideae family. It is found in mountain areas of New Guinea, at altitudes of over half a mile (1,000 meters) above sea level.

10. Bhutan Glory
Butterflies: Bhutan Glory
The Bhutan Glory is a species of swallowtail butterfly that is found in Bhutan, parts of northeastern India and of Southeast Asia. A spectacular insect much sought after by collectors, which has contributed to its rarity...
11. Schaus Swallowtail
Butterflies: Schaus Swallowtail
Schaus' Swallowtail, or Island Swallowtail, is a species of American butterfly. It can be found in southern Florida, while subspecies have been seen in the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and Cuba.  This butterfly is an extremely endangered species, with only a few hundred individuals left. In fact, it was one of the first insects to gain federal protection in 1978.
12. Saturn Butterfly
Butterflies: Saturn butterfly


This butterfly has a wingspan of about 3.9-4.3 inches (10-11 cm). It can be found in shady forest areas. The male (shown above) is darker than the female. It is mostly found in Malaysia, Borneo, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Sumatra.

13. Jamaican Giant Swallowtail
Butterflies: Jamaican Giant Swallowtail
The Swallowtail is one of the largest butterfly species to be found in the Americas. They can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) across with yellow and dark blue bands. They live in remote habitats throughout the island of Jamaica.
14. Luzon Peacock Swallowtail
Butterflies: Luzon peacock Swallowtail
Luzon Peacock Swallowtails were originally discovered in the Philippines around 1965. They have a wingspan of over 4 inches (10 cm) and have been listed as an endangered species since 1996.
15. Richmond Birdwing
Butterflies: Richmond Birdwing
The beautifully colored Richmond Birdwing makes its home in the land down under. The native Australian species was plagued by habitat destruction and drought over the years. 
16. Wallace's Golden Birdwing
Butterflies: Wallace's Golden Birdwig
The Wallace's Golden Birdwing can only be seen in northern Maluku, Indonesia. The male has black wings with a yellow coastal band. The females are larger than the males, with brown wings marked with yellow lines.
17. Island Marble
Butterflies: Island Marble
This butterfly reappeared after 100 years, with everyone believing that it was extinct. It turned up on San Juan island in 1998. Efforts are ongoing to protect this rare butterfly.
18. Golden Kaiser-i-Hind
Butterflies: Golden Kaiser-i-hind
The lime green and gold colors give the Golden Kaiser-i-Hind its name. They are native to the Papilionidae family and can be found in certain Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam.
19. Spicebush Swallowtail
Butterflies: Spicebush Swallowtail
The spicebush swallowtail gets its name from the plant it frequents the most - the spicebush. The spicebush swallowtails belong to a family of the largest butterflies in the world. They are unique in that even while feeding, they continue to flutter their wings. Unlike many other butterflies of their family, Spicebush butterflies fly low to the ground instead of at great heights. 
20. Glasswinged Butterfly 
Butterflies: Glasswinged Butterfly
This beautiful butterfly, named 'Greta oto', but nicknamed the 'glass butterfly', has 2.3 inches (6 cm) of incredibly beautiful, and completely transparent, wings. Adult glass butterflies also exhibit a number of interesting behaviors, such as long migrations. 
21. Banded Orange Tiger
Butterflies: Banded Orange Tiger
The Banded Orange Heliconian is native to South and Central America, ranging from Brazil to central Mexico. However, in the summer, it has been seen as far north as Kansas in the United States. Its wingspan ranges from 86 to 89 mm (0.3 inches), and it is colored a bright orange with thick black stripes in males, and a duller orange with fuzzier black stripes in females.
22. Palos Verdes Blue
Butterflies: Palos Verdes Blue
The chances of spotting the Palos Verdes Blue are quite slim since they are considered to be the rarest species of butterfly in existence. There are less than several hundred of them in the world.
23. Common Buckeye
Butterflies: Common Buckeye
The Common Buckeye makes its home throughout the Canadian regions of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and certain parts of Central America. They were even featured on a 2006 U.S. Postal Service stamp. 
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