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Butterfly Identification Guide

Our concepts of relationships between and within these families, although based upon phylogenetic* knowledge, continue to evolve rapidly especially influenced by molecular evidence.


*Phylogenetics - How recently did two species share a common ancestor using observable traits and molecular science genetics.


Over 60 species of butterflies are known to live on Mount Diablo, which is almost 50 percent of all known species in the San Francisco Bay Area. When looking for butterflies, choose a sunny day with a temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, generally between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Very few butterflies fly when it is cool, foggy, or rainy. Binoculars that can focus 10 feet or closer are very useful.

In keeping with the California State Parks mission statement, butterflies and their habitat are protected, and collecting of butterflies is strictly prohibited in Mount Diablo State Park.

MDIA welcomes input on sightings or other information that you may wish to contribute. Please contact MDIA at

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