Butterflies belong to the Kingdom Animalia, the Phylum Arthropoda, the Class Insecta, the Order Lepidoptera and the Sub-order Rhopalocera. The Sub-order Rhopalocera contains three superfamilies, which include skipper butterflies and moths, with the true butterflies belonging to the Papilionoidea superfamily. Beneath this classification are five families of butterflies. Within the families, butterflies are categorized into subfamilies, with each butterfly then falling into a unique genus and species.
The five families of butterflies are the Papilionidae, or swallowtail butterflies; the Pieridae, or white and sulfur butterflies; the Nymphalidae, or brush-footed butterflies; the Lyeacnidae, or little butterflies and the Libytheidae, or snout butterflies. The first four families of butterflies each contain subfamilies into which their butterflies are categorized. The Papilionidae family includes the Parnassian, Swallowtail and Baroniinae subfamilies, which include large and colorful butterflies such as the Swallowtail and Birdwing. The Pieridae family consists of the Sulfurs, Whites, Mimic Sulfurs and Pseudopontiinae subfamilies of butterflies, most of which live in Africa and Asia. The Nymphalidae family of butterflies includes many well-known species such as the Monarch, Emperor, Admiral and Tortoiseshell butterflies. This family is subdivided into nine separate subfamilies. The Lyeacnidae family contains over 6,000 species of butterflies and is divided into the Metalmark, Hairstreak, Copper, Blue, Styginae and Curetinae subfamilies.