Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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Utah Habitats for Butterflies and Moths

Basin and Range Province--Dugway Pass



1. Wasatch Canyons

2. Wasatch Valley Riparian

3. Wasatch Valley Meadows

4. Wasatch Hilltops

5. Arctic Alpine

6. Basin and Range Province

7. Canyon Country

8. Montane

9. Utah's Dixie


From Salt Lake, Dugway Pass is accessible by taking I-80 west approximately 40 miles to Exit 77.  Take Skull Valley Road south another 40 miles or so until you run into the guard station at Dugway.  The guard will redirect you back another 1/8 of a mile towards the LDS Church.  Turn south on the dirt road just before the church and travel app. 10 miles where you intersect with the Old Pony Express Route.  Turn west at the Pony Express Route and travel roughly 30 miles past Simpson Springs and the Old Pony Express Station to Dugway Pass. 

Vista from the dirt road as you look towards Dugway Pass.  This relatively dry desert range produces an interesting mix of Utah checkerspots.   

Castilleja chromosa (indian paintbrush), which serves as a larval hostplant for Arctia caja utahensis, Euphydryas anicia wheeleri, and Thessalia leanira alma starts to break ground in Mid-March.

Known by some as the "checkerspot capital of Utah", this mountain pass located in Utah's west desert is home to a few species of spring butterflies that usually warrants a visit from some of our diehard butterfly enthusiasts.  Some of the butterflies that can be found at Dugway Pass during the spring are Papilio zelicaon nitra, Papilio indra bonnevillenis, Incisalia fotis fotis, Euchloe hyantis lotta, Anthocharis sara thoosa, Pieris beckeri, Pieris sisymbri nigravenosa, Euphydryas anicia wheeleri, Thessalia leanira alma, Chlosyne acastus acastus, and Poladryas arachne.  It is also home to a few day-flying moths such as Arctia caja utahensis.

Because Dugway Pass has not frequently been researched during the months of mid-summer through fall, other butterfly and skipper species may turn up there such as Strymon melinus franki, Euptoieta claudia, Heliopetes ericetorum, Polites sabuleti sabuleti, Hesperia juba, Hesperia uncas lasus, Hesperia colorado harpalus and Hesperopsis libya confertiblanca.


Butterfly Species Checklist For Dugway Pass:


Swallowtails (Family Papilionidae)       

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon nitra)
          West Desert Indra Swallowtail (Papilio indra "bonnevillenis")    

Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)

Dotted Checkerspot (Poladryas arachne minuta)
Leanira Checkerspot (Thessalia leanira alma)
Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus acastus)
          Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas anicia wheeleri)          
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria)

Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)

Desert Elfin (Incisalia fotis fotis)
Juniper Hairstreak (Mitoura siva chalcosiva)


Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Whites and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

Becker's White (Pieris beckeri)
          Dark-Veined Spring White (Pieris sisymbri nigravenosa)
Checkered White (Pieris protodice)
Desert Marble (Euchloe hyantis lotta)
Southwestern Orangetip (Anthocharis sara thoosa)
          Queen Alexandra's Sulphur (Colias alexandra edwardsi)
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)


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

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