State Insect

California Dogface Butterfly

Zerene eurydice

California’s state insect, the dogface butterfly, or doghead, has graced the California state driver’s license and a U.S. stamp. This bright yellow, orange and black butterfly can be found only in California. Its speed makes it difficult to see. They feed on a limited number of plants, live only one season, and lay about 100 eggs in that season.

When the male’s colorful wings are open it appears to have a silhouette of a dog’s head on its wings. Females are all yellow with a black spot on their front under wings, have a wing length of about 1 ¼ inches, and are larger than males of their species. As caterpillars, they are green with small back dots underlined with a white stripe down their sides.

(Assembly Bill 1834, Chapter 521, 1972)

Explore our State Symbols