By: 
Haley Johnson
 Updated: 
A shiny black butterfly with orange spots, hanging upside down on a tree branch with small, long leaves.
A shiny black butterfly with orange spots, hanging upside down on a tree branch with small, long leaves.

Logoly State Park in southwest Arkansas is the state’s first ecological state park dedicated to protecting the dynamically diverse ecosystem of the West Gulf Coastal Plain.  

The butterflies here are worthy of study and those with a keen eye can capture their beauty. Come mid-March and early April in Arkansas, butterflies begin emerging from their cocoon-like chrysalis incubators. They feed primarily on nectar and pollinate their areas with movement from flower to flower. Some are unassuming, blended in color with the grey-brown background of the forest environments in which they live. However, some shine with contrasting colors, blue iridescence, and striking eyespots. 

In this photo essay, enjoy a few glimpses of what you could perhaps see when you explore the forest of Logoly State Park: 

A photograph of a shiny black butterfly with orange spots, hanging upside down on a tree branch with small, long leaves.Red-spotted purple, Liminitis arthemis astyanax 

Walking along the edge of the forest, soaking up the sights of a simple, yet charming meadow, you catch the shine of blue and the contrast of red skittering through the air; it is the red-spotted purple butterfly. These are typically found in deciduous forests, coastal plains, and valleys. You could spot one lingering in a tree or fluttering about near the visitor center at Logoly State Park. Read more about the red-spotted purple.  

A photograph of a large, yellow butterfly with black stripes, landed on a mix of brown dirt and brown leaves. Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus 

When spring first settles on Arkansas, butterflies begin their emergence and grace the warming world with their flight. Swallowtails are named for the long extensions on their hindwings. The tiger swallowtail can be seen as a flash of yellow or white, with the sun glinting off their highlighted wings, sometimes landing to sup from fragrant flowers. This wonderful swallowtail enjoys feeding from the red buckeye flowers around the visitor center at Logoly State Park. They may fly a little higher than other butterflies, so keep your eyes up. Read more about the eastern tiger swallowtail.  

A top-down view photograph of a small orange and black-spotted butterfly with its wings flattened against a piece of bark on the ground. Pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos 

This energetic little butterfly makes a habit of flitting around pine woodlands as a seldom-landing, vivacious streak of orange. You may hardly be able to settle your eyes on it as it performs its quick dance of colorful flight. Watch for this little butterfly anywhere in the park, but your chances are best in somewhat sunny areas with flowers for it to drink from. Read more about the pearl crescent

A photograph of a small gray-brown butterfly with red spots sitting on a twig with tiny, white flowers, oval-shaped green leaves, and a black background. Red-banded hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops 

If you look closely, with trained and disciplined eye, you may light your gaze upon the quick little red-banded hairstreak.  Hairstreaks are a group of butterflies named for the marks on the outside of their wings. This tiny, evasive hairstreak butterfly eludes many a photographer with its camera-shy fluttering, darting up and down and side to side. It is best to stake out near smaller flowers at the visitor center to see this little darling. Read more about the red-banded hairstreak.  

A photograph of a small brown butterfly with black and yellow circular eye spots, turned in a side-view of its wings facing the viewer and a background of brown, dead leaves. Little wood satyr, Megisto cymela 

On a seemingly magical walk through the forest, with sunlight filtering through the trees, you pass areas where the sun beams lighted patches down upon the forest floor. If you pay attention, you may be graced with a visit from a little wood satyr, fluttering along and finally landing in one of these warm patches of leaves, turning its wings to soak up the sun’s rays. This little beauty can be found at Logoly State Park on any of the trails, particularly closer to the woods rather than fully open areas with lots of sun. Look close to the ground for quick fluttering and darting. Read more about the little wood satyr.   

Because diverse wildlife habitats are protected here, Logoly State Park hosts an interesting and colorful number of butterflies in its flowers and environments. You can set your eyes on any of these beauties with some careful searching in the right areas and with the right amount of patience. We at Logoly State Park invite you to visit the park and walk a trail. And, whether or not you’re able to visit, we challenge you to get outside and find some of these winged gems that may live in your community.  

 For further reading:  

  • Check out the links on each butterfly species above on ButterfliesAndMoths.org.  

  • Additional info for those interested in community science can be found at www.inaturalist.org

  • A recommended field guide book is the Swift Guide to Butterflies by Jeffrey Glassberg.