Some people view most insect types as BigCreepyCrawlies that are scary at best, or [[BugWar dangerous]] [[WormThatWalks and]] [[BeeAfraid scary]] at worst.

Butterflies, however, have always gained positive interest from humanity, given their beautiful colors, their graceful flying, and the fact they look like they would rather drink nectar from flowers than star in the next B horror film. They became symbols of [[BlowYouAway the wind]], [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth reincarnation]], [[ButterflyOfTransformation transformation]], the soul, and magic throughout the ages. As a result, butterflies have appeared numerous times in many media.

That said, don't let your guard down around their petite and attractive forms. Butterflies in fiction have an occasional history of being paired with some darker trait like poison; which has made them popular with various [[TheVamp Vamps]] and [[HoneyTrap Honey Traps]] as well as any villain that chooses the butterfly motif to represent subtle allure and deceptive deadliness.

Contrast MacabreMothMotif (although if someone is invoking this trope to hide how deadly the butterfly is, the difference between the two is only skin deep) and MothMenace, in which butterflies (as well as moths) act as active threats.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The first episode of ''Manga/KimbaTheWhiteLion'' has the titular character lost at sea, so he followed a swarm of migrating butterflies to get to land.
* [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth Golden Butterflies]] show up a lot in ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry''. Seeing them usually means you're very big trouble.
* Though they don't get a lot of screen time, one must not forget the black Hell Butterflies that escort the Soul Reapers in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** Averted with Szayel Aporro Granz though. His normal, human-like form is actually rather handsome but when he goes One Winged Angel butterflies will no longer be beautiful to you. They will be hideous, blood-like monstrosities with very pleasing voices and the ability to use you as their next cocoon.
* Mikage from ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' is a Shinto God that specializes in matchmaking and is heavily associated with butterflies. He even has a tendency to shapeshift into a butterfly.
* In the ''Manga/OniisamaE'' manga, the beautiful and moody Mariko is compared to a butterfly by Nanako at some point.
* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', Usagi as Super Sailor Moon has butterfly-related motifs.

* Creator/NeilGaiman's character [[Comicbook/TheSandman Delirium]] is fond of creating or turning herself into butterflies.
* ComicBook/{{Psylocke}}'s telepathic powers are often represented as butterfly motifs, and she's a LadyOfWar who fights with graceful movements. She was also delicate prior to switching bodies with Kwannon.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Taken advantage of in ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'' -- When Anya is on the ship to France, Rasputin's demonic minions masquerade as butterflies to draw her into a sleepwalking, TastesLikeDiabetes dream that will end when she leaps to her doom in the ocean.
* ''WesternAnimation/HortonHearsAWho'': "In my world, [[TastesLikeDiabetes Everyone's a pony]], and [[CloudCuckoolander they all eat]] [[EverythingsBetterWithRainbows rainbows]], [[MemeticMutation and poop butterflies]]".
* ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' featured Bread-and-butterflies. And later on, we see the Caterpillar turn into a um, guess. "THE MUSHROOM, OF COURSE!!!"
* Gypsy Moth from ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' is technically a moth, but she is colorful like a butterfly (although in real life there are indeed numerous colorful moth species). At the end of the film, Heimlich (an overweight caterpillar who speaks in a German accent) actually emerges out of his cocoon as an overweight butterfly with teeny-tiny wings. Because his wings are too small for him to get off the ground, Manny (Gypsy's husband, who is a praying mantis) and Francis (a disgruntled male ladybug who has being referred as a female) had to help him up as the circus bugs fly away.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* {{Film/Mothra}} is a giant moth goddess and is also [[GentleGiant one of the more peaceful (And one of the few purely good) Kaiju out there]].
** Then there's her [[EvilTwin more violent counterpart]] Battra from ''Film/GodzillaAndMothraTheBattleForEarth''. He's just trying to protect the environment, but [[WellIntentionedExtremist thinks destroying all of humanity is the best way of doing so.]]

* In ''[[Literature/LandOfOz The Patchwork Girl of Oz]]'', a boy named Ojo had to get the left wing of a butterfly for use in a potion, but the Tin Woodman wouldn't let him harm the butterfly.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' books have a room in the TARDIS that is simply filled with butterflies.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' has the Quantum Weather Butterfly which looks spectacular flying en masse, but the ensuing super-storm caused by the flapping of the wings less so.
** The novel ''Interesting Times'' also has a character named Pretty Butterfly; as per standard [[Creator/TerryPratchett Pratchett]] subversions she is downright manipulative and [[{{Tsundere}} violent]]. This may be the result of growing up with a name like 'Pretty Butterfly'.
** The Quantum Weather Butterfly is also extremely poisonous, as Vetinari (in a flashback to a lecture at the Assassins' Guild school) points out in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay''.
* Subverted in ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' by Creator/VernorVinge, where there is an alien race who resemble beautiful butterflies -- and they're a bunch of genocidal fascists.
* Not ''strictly'' butterflies, but Creator/ChinaMieville's ''Literature/PerdidoStreetStation'' has a race of giant mind-eating (psychophagic?) moths. They're [[NightmareFuel not strictly pretty]] either.
* The contagious serial-killer curse from ''[[Literature/GarrettPI Red Iron Nights]]'' causes its host to belch clouds of green carnivorous butterflies.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' had The Departure, where Cassie got a butterfly morph.
** One of the TV series eps used butterfly morphs as well.
* In NathanielHawthorne's short story ''Dr. Heidegger's Experiment'', four aged people are revitalized by water from the FountainOfYouth, as is a dying butterfly drenched in the liquid. The butterfly's sudden relapse signals that this happy reprieve - and, by implication, life itself- is only temporary. Butterfly = Brevity of Existence is the probable symbolism.
* Chester Anderson's [[UsefulNotes/HugoAward Hugo]]-nominated novel, ''Literature/TheButterflyKid'' opens with Chester meeting a stoned kid on the streets of New York's Greenwich Village, who is sitting there, making butterflies appear from his hand.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheHobbit'', when Bilbo climbs a tree in Mirkwood, the treetop has lovely butterflies.
* In Jennifer Crusie's ''Maybe This Time'', Alice's nightmares are all the more horrific because they include horrible butterflies -- which she loves, awake.
* In Creator/RuthFrancesLong's ''Literature/TheTreacheryOfBeautifulThings'', Jenny's first thought of the Foletti is that they are as beautiful as butterflies.
* In Creator/JulieKagawa's ''Literature/TheIronDaughter'', Puck tells Meghan that if necessary, she can have a dress of diamond and butterflies
* Subverted in ''Literature/TheHungerGames''. The mutts (genetically engineered animals used as weapons against the tributes) in the Fiftieth Games included swarms of golden butterflies whose stings resulted in "agony if not death".
* ''Literature/TheVeryQuietCricket'': The luna moth probably counts as this.
* The island of Naath, in George R.R. Martin's ''World of Ice and Fire'', is also called the Isle of Butterflies, and its inhabitants revere butterflies as messengers from their god, the Lord of Harmony. [[spoiler: The butterflies also spread a deadly disease that the inhabitants are immune to, helping keep foreign invaders at bay.]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* Averted on ''Series/ModernFamily'', as Manny is afraid of butterflies.
* On ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' Ari Haswari briefly mentions being afraid of them.
* The butterfly is the symbol of Gilboa in ''Series/{{Kings}}''. Monarch Butterflies also herald a new king.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''ComicStrip/PricklyCity'', Carmen and Winslow are admiring a pretty butterfly when Kevin interrupts to demand they stop lallygagging.
* In ''ComicStrip/RoseIsRose'', many times. Distracting Jimbo and Rose from a discussion of taxes, causing Pasquale to compare the pretty colors to his guardian angel's wings, driving Peekabo crazy trying to catch it. . . .
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Mutts}}'', Mooch follows one. Then he gets a close-up look at its face. . . .
* ComicStrip/{{Frazz}} features a viceroy. (Frazz gets to explain why it looks like a monarch.)

* Zaccaria's ''Pinball/{{Farfalla}}'' is all about a flower garden full of butterflies.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Princesa Sugehit has a butterfly motif and a cape which when spread out [[CapeWings looks like a pair of their wings]]. However, she's spent most of her career as a [[{{heel}} nasty ruda]] out to rid lucha libre of Canadians. One of her more famous [[{{face}} tecnica]] runs was, [[FlowerMotif appropriately]], against La Amapola.
* Ayako Hamada's most famous sets of ring gear have butterfly designs on her torso, [[CreepyCoolCrosses or a cross.]]
* Wrestling/{{AAA}} luchador Butterfly. He's a SpearCounterpart to Sugehit and an exotico, so "pretty" goes without saying.[[/folder]]

* The first act of ''The Insect Play'' by Josef and Karel Čapek is a satirical look at the love lives of vain butterflies.
* The ImpliedLoveInterest of ''Theatre/{{Luzia}}'' is called the Running Woman; [[AllThereInTheManual according to the website]], she represents "speed" and is part of the general nature metaphor of the show. She wears a dress that looks like a monarch butterfly, and the beginning briefly gives her matching wings.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series includes several butterfly-like {{Mons}}, including Butterfree, Venomoth, and Beautifly.
** Although subverted with Beautifly: it's an aggressive predator that feeds by ''[[NightmareFuel sucking out the prey's bodily fluids.]]''
** Which is TruthInTelevision, but mostly on the freshly dead.
** Most of them are {{Crutch Character}}s, but Gen V introduced Volcarona, an extremely powerful one that is based on Mothra.
** Gen VI introduced Vivillion, a butterfly whose gimmick is a different wing pattern for every climate zone- the pattern a player gets depends on what location their 3DS is set to. It is indeed quite pretty.
* The [[VideoGame/{{Persona}} first]] ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' game has [[FinalBoss Pandora]], whose final form is a giant, bipedal butterfly.
** The series as a whole loves its butterfly motif; Philemon, a major character in the first three games (counting both halves of [[VideoGame/{{Persona 2}} the second game]]), has ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth as his his major gimmick, and is never seen without a butterfly mask. The save points in [[VideoGame/{{Persona 4}} the fourth game]] even ''are'' butterflies (which according to WordOfGod are Philemon's current manifestation).
* ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'' has Phozon Butterflies which your character can absorb to power themselves up.
* Yuyuko of the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series employs butterfly {{danmaku}} in your final showdown with her in ''Perfect Cherry Blossom.''
* ''VideoGame/LetsGoJungle''. After fending off swarms of GiantSpiders (including a [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever gigantic one]]), as well as other carnivorous creepy crawlies, and a ManEatingPlant, your FinalBoss is a [[KillerRabbit giant butterfly]]. Who then proceeds to smack you around with swarms of butterflies, cut you with its wings and blow you off the helicopter you're on...
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' features magic butterflies that will restore your HP and PP along with some soothing music.
* [[http://blog.naver.com/creature11/70104046728 Bubbles,]] a butterfly-like air elemental Crew from the defunct Korean online game''T-Crew''.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' features a boss called Moonlight Butterfly. It is a nice departure from all the brutally dangerous looking bosses you have been fighting! During the fight, the typically epic music of the boss fights is replaced with calm, soothing music. It is a dangerous creature if one is careless, and doesn't carry a shield with good magic defense, as it uses magic attacks such as lasers, magical spears, Homing Soul Arrows, and explosive bursts.
* Dahlia Hawthorne in ''VisualNovel/{{Phoenix Wright|AceAttorney}} Trials and Tribulations'' is accompanied by butterflies to emphasize her sweet, delicate demeanor. They ''spontaneously combust'' the moment she reveals her [[BitchInSheepsClothing true colors]].
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** The mysterious swordsman "Marth" in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' wears a mask shaped like a butterfly. [[spoiler: In an allusion to the bit below about girls having dresses/decorations/jewelry/etc. with buttefly motifs... it turns out "Marth" is a gorgeous {{Bifauxnen}} under said mask: her name is Lucina, and there's [[http://fireemblem.wikia.com/wiki/File:LucinaArtMaskless.png at least one piece of official art]] that also gives her butterfly motifs.]]
** The Female Avatar from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' can be given HairDecorations when the player customizes her appearance, one of them being a huge butterfly-shaped pin.
* The titular protagonist of ''VideoGames/{{Bayonetta}}'' signed her pact with a demon known as Madama Butterfly; both the Madama and Bayonetta herself thus have a significant swallowtail butterfly motif. These include butterfly wings (constantly on Madam Butterfly and [[TheShadowKnows Bayonetta's shadow]], briefly for Bayonetta when she does a DoubleJump) and butterfly jewelery.
* There is a minigame in ''Videogame/{{Bejeweled}} 3'' called "Butterflies" where you have to match gems to liberate the butterflies and prevent the butterflies from getting to the top of the screen, where an evil spider awaits...
* Butterflies in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' appear in areas free of enemies and plesantly flutter about. Poking them with a Deku stick reveals them to be fairies in disguise.
* ''VideoGame/Bioshock2'': The Rapture Family's main symbol is the Blue Morpho Butterfly, which represent's the believer's rebirth into the group or "''Imago''" as they call it.
* A little known MatchThreeGame called ''[[http://old.absolutist.com/butterflight/ Butterflight]]'' allows you to collect butterflies while soothing ambient music plays in the background. Even though the premise is that the player is a Lord (regardless of gender) of the Butterflies who needs to regain their wings by collecting their winged friends, it's quite obvious through gameplay that ''Butterflight'' is a ploy to just stare at the butterflies and kill time.
* In ''VideoGame/StreetFighterV'', a certain female character's profile states that she loves butterflies. [[spoiler: The character is [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII Kolin]] aka Gill's SexySecretary, who probably likes them because she saw [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth a butterfly coming out from its coccoon]] right as Gill saved her from a DeathByDespair [[SnowMeansDeath in the snow]] and took her into Main/TheIlluminati.]]
* Mesmers in ''GuildWars2'' have a butterfly motif to some of their spells' particles, most apparent in their shatter skills that detonate their illusions into swarms of butterflies. Mesmers are also stated to use magic in its purest form and [[ButterflyOfTransformation warp reality]], and all important [=NPCs=] of the Mesmer class are pretty women.

* Inverted with Mistress Butterfly from ''Webcomic/{{Collar 6}}'', who sticks butterfly symbolism all over the place but is actually a ManipulativeBitch [[BitchInSheepsClothing In Sheep's Clothing]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Roza}}'' [[http://www.junglestudio.com/roza/?date=2007-05-16 conjured them.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', butterflies are usually symbols of transformation, but [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2196 sometimes they are just pretty.]]
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2392 As when Squigley sees them under the influence.]]
* In ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'', the CoolSword Wildcard produced an array of them -- causing Quentyn's foes to laugh -- for the crucial seconds before the rooster crows, meaning they can no longer attack him.
* In ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'', [[http://www.avasdemon.com/pages.php?page=0122 the crash landing at night is in a scene with glowing butterflies.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Gaia}}'', the [[http://www.sandraandwoo.com/gaia/2013/04/02/the-tower-in-the-sky-001/ opening page for the third chapter]], The Tower in the Sky, does an establishing shot by having a butterfly fly through it.
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' has the Nemesites, an alien race of semi-humanoid butterflies. Hibachi the dragon (who is in love with the Nemesite princess, Voluptua) describes her with, "You fly on wings like unto the stained glass of a cathedral."

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Swallowtail from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' is a powerful and effective PoweredArmor-wearing superhero whose suit is yellow and black and has rather glorious-looking gold-foil butterfly wings (they act as stabilizers when she flies).
* Wiki/{{SCP|Foundation}}-[[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-408 408]], a sentient HiveMind flock of butterflies whose wings can change colors as both an effective illusion and way of communicating.
* An Easter Egg on one of the ''WebVideo/PotterPuppetPals'' has Ron frolicking with butterflies while singing "Follow the butterflies, follow the butterflies...."
** Taken from a sarcastic comment Ron made in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', after finding out that he and Harry would have to "follow the spiders", assumedly making him wish for a less scary and more harmless insect to follow.
* In Megami 33's WebVideo/SailorMoonAbridged, the ridiculousness of having the characters attacked by butterflies in one episode is underscored by the "sound effect" of people saying "flutter, flutter, flutter...." very peacefully.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Skitter, whose superpower allows her to control insects of all kinds, invokes this trope when she sends a single butterfly to [[spoiler:contact her father one last time before she runs]].
** Then, in the chapter ''[[http://parahumans.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/drone-23-1/ Drone 23.1]]'', a PR guy [[spoiler: in charge of the Wards and Crusaders]] requests that she use nothing but butterflies and similarly 'pretty' insects. Taylor is not amused.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' has Wormy, Sandy's pet caterpillar who transforms into a butterfly. But since there are no butterflies underwater, [[SubvertedTrope everyone thinks it's a horrifying monster]]--the [[MediumShiftGag live-action]] GrossupCloseup gives some idea why.
* In a discussion of reincarnation, [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Bart Simpson]] said he wanted to come back as a butterfly, "[[BeneathSuspicion because no one suspects the butterfly]]!"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': The Monarch.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TootAndPuddle'' episode ''Bye Bye Butterfly'', Toot visits a park where the Monarch butterflies migrate to. It's easily one of the more spectacular scenes in the show.
* ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'': Heloise creates butterflies...[[StuffBlowingUp that explode on contact]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Fluttershy has these as her 'cutie mark'; she's also saved by a swarm of them when she is knocked off a cloud and left in freefall. She's one of the kindest characters in the series as well.
* In ''MyLittlePonyG3,'' Star Catcher, de-facto leader of the pegasi with the ability to grant wishes, has a flock of multicolored butterflies that she commands.
* Chuckie of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' and Loopy in ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'''s "Life With Loopy" both tried to become beautiful by turning into butterflies.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://www.magicoflife.org/ The Butterfly House]] in Aberystwyth, Wales.
* Down here in California is where the Monarchs migrate on their way down to Mexico. Some places are literally covered with them.
* What fraction of little girls have at least one dress/pendant/decoration of some form with a butterfly on it? Aside from areas of abject poverty and areas too cold to have butterflies naturally, I'm pretty sure the fraction is essentially 100%.