US State Butterflies and Insects

The European honeybee is an official state insect for seventeen states.
The European honeybee is an official state insect for seventeen states.

A national symbol is an item that represents or symbolizes a country. It can be the flag, the seal of the country, a specific animal, plant, color, artifact or the national anthem. The national symbols of the United States include the Seal of the United States, the flag, and the national anthem. Each of 50 states of America has its official state symbols that represent the natural treasure, cultural heritage, and the people of the state. The adoption of state symbols began in 1893 when a "National Garland of Flowers was created for the World's Fair in Chicago. The garland consisted of flowers collected from each state. State symbols are not unique, and a state can have more than one symbol. 48 US states have designated state insects or state butterflies, with many states sharing the same insect or butterfly.

The Most Common US State Butterflies and Insects

European Honey Bee

The European honeybee is an official state insect for seventeen states because the bee plays a crucial role in agriculture. Bee pollination is essential to the survival of the plants and consequently humans; they also produce honey and wax. In Utah for example, the bee was adopted after a 5th-grade class advocated for its adoption due to its small size but great importance in agriculture. The European honeybee live in colonies of 80,000 individuals led by a single queen. The colony also consist of a small number of males to fertilize the queen's eggs. A majority of the members are worker bees.

The 7-Spotted Ladybug

The 7-Spotted Ladybug is a state symbol for the states of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee. Students chose the ladybug in all the five states because it is calm and beautiful. The ladybug help farmers control crop damage by other insects because it feeds on tiny insects and larvae. The 7-Spotted Ladybug is widely distributed across the five states.

The Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly is an official state insect in the states of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia. Elementary school students in the seven states chose the butterfly because of its attractive appearance and gentleness. The butterfly symbolizes the friendliness of the states. They are found in shrubs and forest especially close to the milkweed plants which is their preferred source of food.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the official state insects for the states of Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia. This butterfly was designated in Alabama at the request of Selma City Council “The Butterfly Capital of Alabama." The other states considered the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail because it is found in abundance within the states.

​The Official State Insects of Tennessee

The state of Tennessee has a record four insects as official state insects. The common eastern firefly and the 7-spotted ladybug were designated in 1975, the European honeybee in 1990, and the Zebra swallowtail butterfly in 1995. The European honeybee is the official state agricultural insect while the Zebra swallowtail butterfly is the official state butterfly of Tennessee.

US State Butterflies and Insects

RankStateState insectScientific NameYear
1AlabamaMonarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1989
2AlaskaFour-spotted skimmer dragonflyLibellula quadrimaculata
3ArizonaTwo-tailed swallowtailPapilio multicaudata
4Arkansas (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1973
5Arkansas (state butterfly)Diana fritillary butterflySpeyeria diana2007
6CaliforniaCalifornia dogface butterflyZerene eurydice1972
7ColoradoColorado hairstreak butterflyHypaurotis crysalus1996
8ConnecticutEuropean mantisMantis religiosa
9Delaware (state insect)7-spotted ladybugCoccinella septempunctata1974
10Delaware (state butterfly)Eastern tiger swallowtailPapilio glaucus1999
11FloridaZebra longwingHeliconius charitonius1996
12Georgia (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1975
13Georgia (state butterfly)Eastern tiger swallowtailPapilio glaucus1988
14HawaiiKamehameha butterflyVanessa tameamea2009
15IdahoMonarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1992
16IllinoisMonarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1975
17IndianaSay's fireflyPyractomena angulata2018
18KansasEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
19KentuckyViceroy butterflyLimenitis archippus
20LouisianaEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
21MaineEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
22MarylandBaltimore checkerspot butterflyEuphydryas phaeton1973
23Massachusetts7-spotted ladybugCoccinella septempunctata
24MinnesotaMonarch butterflyDanaus plexippus2000
25Mississippi (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1980
26Mississippi (state butterfly)Spicebush swallowtailPapilio troilus1991
27MissouriEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
28MontanaMourning cloak butterflyNymphalis antiopa
29NebraskaEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
30NevadaVivid DancerArgia vivida2009
31New Hampshire (state insect)7-spotted ladybugCoccinella septempunctata1977
32New Hampshire (state butterfly)Karner blue butterflyLycaeides melissa samuelis1992
33New JerseyEuropean honey beeApis mellifera
34New Mexico (state insect)Tarantula hawk waspPepsis grossa1989
35New Mexico (state butterfly)Sandia hairstreak butterflyCallophrys mcfarlandi2003
36New York9-spotted ladybugCoccinella novemnotata1989
37North Carolina (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1973
38North Carolina (state butterfly)Eastern tiger swallowtailPapilio glaucus2012
39North DakotaConvergent lady beetleHippodamia convergens2011
40Ohio7-spotted ladybugCoccinella septempunctata1975
41Oklahoma (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1992
42Oklahoma (state butterfly)Black swallowtail butterflyPapilio polyxenes1996
43OregonOregon swallowtail butterflyPapilio oregonius
44PennsylvaniaPennsylvania fireflyPhoturis pennsylvanica1974
45Rhode IslandAmerican burying beetleNicrophorus americanus2015
46South Carolina (state insect)Carolina mantisStagmomantis carolina1988
47South Carolina (state butterfly)Eastern tiger swallowtailPapilio glaucus1994
48South DakotaEuropean honey beeApis mellifera1978
49Tennessee (state insect)Common eastern fireflyPhotinus pyralis1975
50Tennessee (state insect)7-spotted ladybugCoccinella septempunctata1975
51Tennessee (state agricultural insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1990
52Tennessee (state butterfly)Zebra swallowtail butterflyEurytides marcellus1995
53TexasMonarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1995
54UtahEuropean honey beeApis mellifera1983
55Vermont (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera1978
56Vermont (state butterfly)Monarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1987
57VirginiaEastern tiger swallowtailPapilio glaucus
58WashingtonGreen darner dragonflyAnax junius1997
59West Virginia (state insect)European honey beeApis mellifera2002
60West Virginia (state butterfly)Monarch butterflyDanaus plexippus1995
61WisconsinEuropean honey beeApis mellifera1977
62WyomingSheridan's green hairstreakCallophrys sheridanii2009

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