A Monarch By Any Other Name is Still a Monarch

Before proceeding through the rest of this section on the butteflies of Idaho, a few things remain which need to be clarified.  This section is best reviewed in the following order: Introduction (you're almost done with this part!), then on to the Family Tree, and from there to each Family Page and its individual Family Members (species).

John Dean ButterfliesEach species is presented with its scientific name, comprised of the genus name and the "species epithet."  These are written in Latin, and are recognized by scientists of all nationalities who study butterflies throughout the world.  An example is Danaus plexippus, the scientific name for the Monarch.  Note that the scientific name is always italicized (or underlined).  The scientific name allows for everyone to be clear about which butterfly is being referred to; common names, such as "Monarch", are often variable and ambiguous.  Many of the species included here have multiple common names.  In these cases, we have included as many of the common names as possible, and have chosen to highlight the common name recognized by the National American Butterfly Association.

Several of the scientific names presented in this section include a third name, given in brackets: for example, "Callophrys [Incisalia] augustinus."   The name in brackets is the genus name previously used to describe the given species.  Not surprisingly, as scientists learn more about specific groups of butterflies, the groups are often divided up or regrouped, and the genus names describing the groups changed.  When looking up a particular butterfly in another source, either (or both!) genus names may be used.

Finally, as if all of this was not confusing enough, some species occur as a "COMPLEX."  This refers to a whole group of very closely related species or subspecies.  The lines dividing one species from another within a complex are often debated by scientists and can change as more facts are gathered about the species in question.

Now you are ready to begin!