Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Butterfly and Moth Taxonomy

The list below contains all of the North American families of butterflies and moths currently represented in the BAMONA database. To date, the list includes all butterfly families but not all moth families. Your submissions make this a more complete resource – the species, subfamily, and family lists are updated as occurrence data are verified. Learn how to share your sightings.

Browse the species lists, profiles, and images by clicking on a family name. Use the tabs to sort the list.

The Science of Taxonomy

Butterflies and moths are members of a taxonomic group of insects called Lepidoptera. Related species within the order Lepidoptera are grouped into families and subfamilies. Contrary to popular belief, these groupings (or Lepidopteran taxonomy) are not static. Taxonomy is a science of shifting names and much discussion. Within a field of study, not all scientists agree on a particular taxonomic arrangement of species.

The Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) project tries to represent the most recent and most widely accepted taxonomy among lepidopterists. For those who are interested: sources of the BAMONA taxonomy include Opler & Warren, Pelham, Lafontaine, and others. Please note, however, that in this ever-changing realm of taxonomy, we are not always up to date, and some names are always in dispute. The most recent changes to moth taxonomy have yet to be reflected on this site.