Black and Yellow Butterfly Sightings: Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism

Eastern black swallowtail butterfly, Papilio polyxenes asterius
© Sari ONeal/

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: June 13, 2023

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Black and Yellow Butterfly Sightings infographic
Black and Yellow Butterfly Sightings infographic

Experts believe butterflies evolved from a mothlike insect millions of years ago. When you spot a butterfly, you likely marvel at it, maybe wondering if it has arrived specifically to deliver a message. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise when you see a black and yellow butterfly. It may just be delivering a message for your journey on this plane. Find out the spiritual meaning and symbolism of black and yellow butterfly sightings!

Types of Black and Yellow Butterflies

Most butterflies are simply gorgeous. They brighten up gardens and have a soothing effect on anyone who encounters them. Spotting one, especially a black and yellow butterfly, may have a spiritual meaning. Their beautiful colors and patterns determine what the message is for you.

Giant Swallowtail

Although it’s generally easy to appreciate butterflies, there are some that are not so welcome. Especially in citrus farmland. The giant swallowtail (scientific name: Papilio cresphontes) is one such unwelcome guest. These have black wings and horizontal yellow lines and can cause a lot of damage to young plants when they are in larva form.          

giant swallowtail butterfly

Giant swallowtails are gorgeous but they aren’t always well-received.

©Kevin Collison/

Yucca Giant Skipper                                

The yucca giant skipper (scientific name: Megathymus yuccae) is attracted to (you guessed it) yucca plants! It’s not often that you will see these species — they are uncommon. However, they are native to the south of the United States and the northern part of Mexico.

yucca giant skipper

Yucca giant skippers are rarely spotted.

© CC BY 3.0 US – Original / License

Southern Festoon

Southern festoons (scientific name: Zerynthia polixena) are native to central and southern Europe. Their size ranges from two to 2.8 inches and the upper side of their wings are black and white. Their wings are bordered by reddish and orange bands. When they are young as caterpillars, they have an intriguing appearance (black with spiky protrusions and orange spots along the body!). 

southern festoon

Southern festoons are native to central and southern Europe.


Northern Checkered Skipper

The northern checkered skipper (scientific name: Carterocephalus silvicola) is mostly yellow with black borders and spots throughout its wings. The main body is grayish. The species consists of about 4,000 different kinds but only about 40 are native to Europe. You can find them mostly in Northern Europe and Northeastern Asia.

Northern checkered skipper, dining on wood granesbill.

Only 40 of 4,000 skippers are native to Europe.

©Jarmo Saarinen/

Yellow Pansy

These have quite the name! Yellow pansies are a family of about 6,000 different species. Their color is black on the borders with a beautiful soft yellow on the lower wings and upper wings. In the middle of their wings, there is a small streak of indigo right in the center on either side. They’re awe-inspiring.

yellow pansy butterfly

Yellow pansies sport a small streak of indigo on either side of their wings.


Meaning of the Color Yellow

The color yellow is often associated with positive emotions such as happiness and joy. It is believed to have mental properties of enhancing focus and may be inspirational. It is associated with the sun, and its resemblance to the sun brings warmth and life-giving properties. Sometimes it offers a soothing effect. It can impart optimism as well.

On the other hand, it is often associated with a not-so-great, uncomfortable-stomach feeling like anxiety. It may be a warning sign telling of risky business, or even potentially dangerous animals. Nevertheless, yellow is associated with intellect, mental agility, curiosity, and a thirst for knowledge. Even if the meaning is a warning, your curiosity and intellect work to see you through.

Meaning of the Color Black

Black is a good old classic! It never goes out of fashion and has always been a go-to for special occasions (little black dress, anyone?). Black is believed to be intimidating. It projects authority and can make you feel elegant. As with everything, there are two sides to the coin. Black also has associated meanings that aren’t so great. Depending on the culture or set of beliefs, the color black evokes death, distress, and misfortune, and some even believe that it robs people’s energy while wearing it.

Spiritual Meaning of Black and Yellow Butterflies

The spiritual meaning of black and yellow butterflies is transformation and change. Change isn’t the most comfortable experience and could rouse feelings of uncertainty and doubt. That’s okay because yellow is symbolic of the sun’s power and no matter how dark it gets; dawn promises a new day.

Black and yellow butterflies point toward personal growth and shedding old patterns and beliefs. You may be undergoing a major life transition, which comes with uncertainty. Black points to the excitement of mystery. It is time for you to fully trust your instincts and inner wisdom. There’s always a gentle guide (sometimes in the form of a butterfly) offering symbols along your path.  

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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