Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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Utah Habitats for Butterflies and Moths

Arctic Alpine


1. Wasatch Canyons

2. Wasatch Valley Riparian

3. Wasatch Valley Meadows

4. Wasatch Hilltops

5. Arctic Alpine

6. Basin & Range Province

7. Canyon Country

8. Montane

9. Utah's Dixie

Breathtaking view of Chepeta Lake in Utah's High Uintas.  Photo courtesy John Richards.

Utah's arctic alpine region is a unique blend of high elevation mountain meadows, willow bogs, pristine crystal clear lakes, spruce tree forests and even glaciated talus boulder formations.  Just as this physiogeographic region is splendorous and unique, so is the mix of butterflies found here.  In fact, finding butterflies in the arctic/alpine region can be equally rewarding as it is challenging--sometimes in the extreme.

Some of the challenges facing those wishing to find arctic alpine butterflies include consistent afternoon thunderstorms, long hikes, unceasing wind, dangerous traversing over talus formations, thin air, and semi-unpredictable butterfly flight periods.

The vast majority of Utah's arctic alpine region can be found in the Uinta Mountains.  Also termed as Utah's High Uintas, this range is one of the United States' most prominent east-west mountain ranges.  The High Uintas are located in the northeastern part of the state, and were named after the Uintaats Indians, early relatives of the modern Ute Tribe. 

The High Uintas Wilderness envelops the wild core of this massive mountain range. Characterized by the highest peaks in Utah, countless lakes, and a unique alpine ecosystem, it is among the nation's most outstanding and breathtaking areas. The High Uintas Wilderness is administered jointly by the Ashley and Wasatch-Cache National Forests.


Murdock Mountain taken from Bald Mountain, Summit County, at 11,300 ft in elevation. Talus rock formations where some arctic alpine butterflies prefer flying.


Specific Habitat Locations:

Leidy Peak

Chepeta Lake

 Swallowtails and Parnassians (Family Papilionidae)       

Baird's Swallowtail (Papilio bairdi)
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon nitra)
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus rutulus)

          Holarctic Red Pearl (Parnassius smintheus sayii)

Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)

Nokomis Fritillary (Speyeria nokomis nokomis)
Edwards' Fritillary (Speyeria edwardsi)
Coronis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis snyderi)
Zerene Fritillary (Speyeria zerene platina)
Callippe Fritillary (Speyeria callippe harmonia)
Great Basin Fritillary (Speyeria egleis utahensis)
Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis wasatchia)
Mormon Fritillary (Speyeria mormonia eurynome)
Freija Fritillary (Boloria freija browni)
Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea helena)
Rockslide Checkerspot (Chlosyne whitneyi damoetas)
          Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas anicia alena)
Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas anicia carmentis)   
Hoary Comma (Polygonia zephyrus)
California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti furcillata)
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis virginiensis)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria)
Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyeri latifascia)

Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)

American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Lustrous Copper (Lycaena cupreus snowi)
Western Pine Elfin (Incisalia eryphon eryphon)
Thicket Hairstreak (Mitoura spinetorum)
Arrowhead Blue (Glaucopsyche piasus daunia)
Arctic Blue (Agriades rustica rustica)

Satyrs (Family Satyridae)

Magdalena Alpine (Erebia magdalena)
Colorado Alpine (Erebia callias)
Ridings' Satyr (Neominois ridingsi stretchi)
Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus chryxus)
Uhler's Arctic (Oeneis uhleri reinthali)
White-veined Arctic (Oeneis taygete edwardsi)
Jutta Arctic (Oeneis jutta reducta)
Melissa Arctic (Oeneis melissa lucilla)

Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius fredericki)
Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus centaureae loki)
Draco Skipper (Polites draco)

Whites, Orange-Tips and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

Checkered White (Pieris protodice)
Western White (Pieris occidentalis)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Yellow Sulphur (Colias philodice eriphyle)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Mead's Sulphur (Colias meadi meadi)
Scudder's Sulphur (Colias scudderi scudderi)


All images of Limenitis weidemeyeri on the ULS Info Bar courtesy Jay Cossey

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