Insects of the USA

Insects of the US

In the United States, the number of described species is approximately 91,000. The undescribed species of insects in the United States, however, is estimated at some 73,000. The largest numbers of described species in the U.S. fall into four insect Orders: Coleoptera (beetles) at 23,700, Diptera (flies) at 19,600, Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) at 17,500, and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) at 11,500. In the United States, there are nearly 30,000 species of beetles.

Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of the United States Information on hundreds of species of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) occurring in the United States, including distribution maps

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Butterflies in the United States

There are approximately 750 species of butterflies in the United States. As a comparison, there are some 17,500 species known in the world. U. S. butterflies are placed in the following Families.

  • Hesperiidae (Skippers). More than 200 species of Skippers in the United States. The larvae of giant skippers are sold as food in Mexico, and sometimes appear as canned products in gourmet shops in the United States.
  • Lycaenidae (Blues and Hairstreaks).
  • Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies).
  • Papilionidae (Swallowtails). Less than 30 species in the United States, compared with some 600 species worldwide.
  • Pieridae (Whites and Sulphurs and Yellows). 60 species in the United States, compared to about 1,100 worldwide. The Cabbage White, perhaps the most common U.S. butterfly, is in this group.
  • Riodinidae (Metalmarks). about a dozen species in the United States

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Endangered Insects

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