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Illinois Butterflys & Moths
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ISM System :Butterfly Poster Lesson

County Butterfly/Moth Poster

Objective: students will learn how to identify the butterflies or moths found in their Illinois County by using the Lepidoptera database list to find the scientific names, searching field guides and the Internet for (1) the common name (2) description (3) life habits and (4) a photograph. The findings can be published as a poster or bulletin board display.

photo of Regal Fritillary butterflyGrade Level: 4-7
Time Required: It varies by county, but one class period for research (each student or pair assigned one or more), and one class period to assemble display.

ISM Online Butterfly and Moth Resources:
Illinois County checklist:
Photo Gallery:

Regal Fritillary
Photo by Dr. E.D. Cashatt

computer with internet connection; browser such as to search for images to download to disk
Butterfly field guides
poster board (or half-sheets of construction paper if making a bulletin board)
glue stick


  • Find the listing for your county in the Lepidoptera database; print it out or cut and paste it to notepad and print it.

  • Assign students a species or variety to research on the Web and in field guides. Students will bookmark their find (searched by scientific name); they can print out the page. WARNING: Photographs are copyrighted. Include the name of the photographer in the display or image. Usually these digital and print images may be copied for educational use only.

  • Using the information in their source, students will write an informative label.

      Scientific name
      Common name(s)
      Description (size, color, markings, shape)
      Status (common, rare, threatened, endangered)

  • Students will compose a digital 'poster' in Photoshop and print it out, or copy or print information out and cut and paste it on a posterboard or sheet as part of a bulletin board display.

  • Students will present the information verbally to the others in class, so that everyone learns about all the butterflies and moths.

References for Midwest states:

Bouseman, John K. and Sternburg, James G. Field Guide to Butterflies of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, IL 61820. Order online at
l or email order at

US Geological Survey site on butterflies of Illinois
(and other states)


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