The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is black with blue or blue-screen scaling. It has blue iridescent wings with vibrant orange spots on the underside of the wings. At first glance, the Red-Spotted Purple mimics the Pipevine Swallowtail. But it has no tails!


Red-Spotted Purple” by Tommy P World, licensed under (CC BY-NC 2.0)


Red-Spotted Purple Facts

Butterfly Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Butterfly Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Butterfly Wingspan: 2 1/4 – 4 inches

Butterfly Habitat: Deciduous or mixed forests, moist uplands, valley bottoms, and coastal plains


Red-Spotted Purple Host and Nectar Plants

Host Plants:

  • Wild Cherry
  • Aspen
  • Poplar
  • Cottonwood
  • Oaks
  • Hawthorn
  • Deerberry
  • Birch
  • Willows
  • Basswood
  • Shadbush

Nectar Plants:

  • Tree Sap
  • Fermented Fruit
  • Nectar from flowers (when tree sap and fermenting fruit are not available)
    • Spiraea
    • Privet
    • Viburnum