HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The best place in the United States to see butterflies is the Rio Grande Valley.

More than 300 species of butterflies have been documented in the four-county area, and approximately half of those don’t occur any farther north than deep South Texas.

The Blue Metalmark is a perfect example of a tropical gem that doesn’t stray far from the Rio Grande. It is a breathtaking sight when the Blue Metalmark unfolds its wings revealing shimmering metallic blue sparkling in the sunlight.

Two of the best places to see Blue Metalmarks are the butterfly gardens at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and Brownsville’s Resaca de la Palma State Park.

Another strikingly beautiful specialty of the Rio Grande Valley is the Red-bordered Pixie. These velvet black butterflies with gold tipped wings and richly hued red markings are usually found on and around their host tree the guamuchil.

With a wingspan of fewer than two inches, the Red-bordered Pixie is a diminutive species, but it makes up for its lack of size with spectacular markings.

If you want to see a Zebra Longwing in Texas, then the Rio Grande Valley is the place. With long graceful chocolate-colored wings and bold yellow stripes, the exotic butterfly is another South Texas exclusive that can be found fluttering thru Rio Grande Valley gardens.

The dazzling iridescence of the exotic Mexican Bluewing shines brilliantly along forested paths at the National Butterfly Center near Mission where it is most at home in the semi-tropical woodlands of southernmost Texas.

You really don’t have to venture any farther than your own backyard to enjoy the beautiful butterflies of the Rio Grande Valley.