How to Identify a Tropical Butterfly

Updated February 21, 2017

Butterflies are a common insect in many parts of the world, and they draw a lot of attention from humans due to their colourful wings and interesting markings. If you have seen interesting tropical butterflies, you may wish to identify their species. With so many different species of butterflies, it helps to look for specific details when identifying the exact type of butterfly.

Take photographs of the butterfly while it is stationary. Get as close as possible and take photos from multiple angles if possible. The inside and outside of the butterfly's wing markings can be useful for identification, so try to take a photo of both.

Upload the photos to your computer for better viewing.

Observe the main colour of the butterfly. Most butterfly wings contain a majority of a single colour with smaller patterns of secondary colours. This is helpful in identifying the species.

Observe the markings on the inside and outside of the butterfly's wings. Some markings are uniform, such as stripes that cover the entire wing, while others cover only a portion of the wing.

Print the photo once you've identified the butterfly and write the species on the photo for future reference if you desire.


If you are new to identifying tropical butterflies, purchase a book or visit an online resource to compare your photo to the identification guides.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Butterfly book (optional)
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