Back in the middle of the 19th century states such as California began to adopt their own official state symbols. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, fruits, vegetables, insects, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.

State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, and past and present successes. Like all other states, there are many California state symbols.

What is the State Insect of California?

The state insect of California is the California dogface butterfly (Zerene eurydice). The beautiful dogface butterfly has been the California state insect since its adoption in 1972.

These butterflies are totally exclusive to California, meaning you will not find them in any other state or country for that matter. The male California dogface usually displays larger markings on their wings which resemble that of a dog’s head, hence the name adoption. Whereas, the females showcase a more plain yellow body and wings, with a black spot appearing on each.

California state insect

The differences between the males and females do not end there, however. The males are typically much brighter and possess more color than the females. For the males, when their wings are fully spread their dorsal side showcases a blue/black color with pink markings, displaying the shape of a dog’s face.

After 43 years of rallying, it eventually took the help of a 4th grade class in California and Fresno Assemblyman Kenneth Maddy to finally get the California Dogface butterfly adopted as the state insect. Today, it is unconfirmed how many of these butterflies are residing in the wild, but unfortunately, they are considered to be a “nearly threatened species”.

Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Golden State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the California state insect. This interesting fact about California and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.