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USDA Information About Releasing Butterflies in the U.S.
Page last updated June 2008
Information from the Internatiuonal Butterfly Breeders Association

Interstate Transport of Butterflies for Release to the Environment

Interstate transport of butterflies is governed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA has ruled that only nine butterfly species may be moved across state lines for release, and then only to certain states. In addition, for some species USDA have further divided release permissions by sub-species; for example, Western Monarchs may not be released east of the Continental Divide(1). In all allowed cases a USDA release permit is required. See the chart below to see which butterflies can be shipped in from out of state and released where you live.


Butterfly Release Chart for Flutterby Gardens

The table below shows the six species raised by Flutterby Gardens and the states in which they may be released. In the table a 'Y' indicates that this species / sub-species may be transported into this state for release, assuming that the shipper has the necessary USDA permits

STATE
Gulf Fritillary
Monarch(1)
Zebra Longwing(3)
Giant Swallowtail
Eastern Black Swallowtail
Painted Lady
Latin Name:
Agraulis vanillae
Danaus plexippus
Heliconius charitonius
Papilio cresphontes
Papilio polyxenes
Cynthia cardui
Sub-species:
 
West
East
Tuckeri(3)
Vazquezae(3)
 
 
 
Alabama
Y
 
Y
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
Alaska
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Y
Arizona
Y
 
 
 
 
Y
 
Y
Arkansas
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
 
Y
California
Y
Y
 
 
 
 
Y
Colorado
 
 
 
 
Y
Y
Conneticut
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
DC
Y
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Delaware
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Florida(2)
Y
 
Y
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Georgia
Y
 
Y
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
Hawaii
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Idaho
 
Y
 
 
 
 
 
Y
Illinois
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Indiana
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Iowa
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Kansas
Y
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Kentucky
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Louisana
Y
 
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
Y
Maine
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Maryland
Y
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Massachusetts
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Michigan
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Minnesota
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Mississippi
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Missouri
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
 
Y
Montana
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Y
Nebraska
Y
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Nevada
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Y
New Hampshire
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
New Jersey
 
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
New Mexico
Y
 
 
Y
Y
New York(2)
 
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
North Carolina
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
North Dakota
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Ohio
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Oklahoma
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Oregon
Y
 
 
 
Y
Pennsylvania
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Rhode Island
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
South Carolina
Y
 
Y
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
South Dakota
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Tennessee
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Texas
Y
 
Y
 
Y
Y
Y
Y
Utah
 
Y
 
 
 
 
 
Y
Vermont
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Virginia
Y
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
(Virgin Islands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Washington(2)
 
Y
 
 
 
 
Y
West Virginia
 
 
Y
 
 
Y
Y
Y
Wisconsin
 
 
Y
 
 
 
Y
Y
Wyoming
 
Y(1)
Y(1)
 
 
 
 
Y
Note 1. Monarchs may not be transported across the Continental Divide. The Divide passes through four states: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Note 2. State has additional requirements. Make sure all documentation is complete. For New York release policy, refer to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

Note 3. The two subspecies of the Zebra Longwing are very similar in appearance. Contact us for clarification.

Note 4. USDA does not permit continental U.S. farmers to send butterflies to Puerto Rico. However, a Puerto Rican butterfly farmer may raise and release native species within Puerto Rico.

The USDA-approved Butterfly Species
Offered by Flutterby Gardens
Gulf Fritillary (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Gulf Fritillary
Monarch (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Monarch
Zebra Longwing (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Zebra Longwing
Giant Swallowtail (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Giant Swallowtail
Eastern Black Swallowtail (photo © Edith Smith)
Eastern Black Swallowtail (male)
Eastern Black Swallowtail (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Eastern Black Swallowtail (female)
Painted Lady (photo © Oscar Gutierrez)
Painted Lady

Source Use as Member of IBBA

[Photographs © Oscar Gutierrez, David Liebman, Edith Smith, Paul Chesterfield]


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