Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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Utah Habitats for Butterflies and Moths

Wasatch Valley Meadows


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

Most Wasatch Front wet meadows are found adjacent to valley rivers, ponds, or other valley floor wet areas and are most easily recognized by an abundance of Russian olive trees as well as other plants such as milkweed, (Asclepias speciosa,) bull thistles, (Cirsium vulgare,) wild licorice, (Glycyrrhiza lepidota,) joe-pye weed, (Eupatorium maculatum,) cinquefoil, (Potentilla spp.,) stinging nettle, (Urtica dioica,) sandbar willow, (Salix exigua,) saltcedar, (Tamerisk ramosissima), common reed, (Phragmites australis,) canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea,) and others.

Monarchs, which is one of Northern Utah's migratory species, are especially attracted to wet meadows.  Adults of the monarch especially prefer to roost in Russian olive trees to escape the heat of the day.  In fact, female Monarchs will often lay their eggs on the milkweeds adjacent to these Russian olive trees as well on milkweeds near nectar sources.  

Special note:  There are small colonies of Baird's Swallowtails, (Papilio bairdi) that fly in Utah Valley's wet meadow habitat.  This is unusual since this butterfly usually flies in association with its typical hostplant, Artemisia dracunculus which grows in isolated spots in Utah Valley's foothills and higher mountains.   Adults of this butterfly have been spotted and collected in this habitat in association with another plant, Daucus carota (wild carrot,) which, although unproven, it is likely using there as a larval hostplant.

Specific Habitat Locations:

Wasatch Race Park (Lindon)

North/NE Vicinity of SLC Intl. Airport

Swallowtails (Family Papilionidae)       

Baird's Swallowtail (Papilio bairdi)
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus rutulus)
Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata pusillus)


Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)

Field Crescent (Phyciodes pratensis camillus)
Thistle Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta mylitta)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
West Coast Lady (Vanessa carye annabella)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta rubria)
          Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria leto letona)
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene tollandensis)
          Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus satyrus)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) 
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti furcillata)
          Viceroy (Limenitis archippus lahontani)

Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)

Purplish Copper (Lycaena dorcas helloides)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus franki)
Western Pygmy-Blue (Brephidium exile)
Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola alce)
Melissa Blue (Plebejus melissa melissa)

Milkweed Butterflies (Family Danaidae)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
          Queen (Danaus gilippus thersippus)

Satyrs (Family Satyridae)

Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala utahensis) Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia ampelos)


Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus clarus)
Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis) Small Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus scriptura) 
Juba Skipper (Hesperia juba)
Taxiles Skipper (Poanes taxiles)
Russet Skipperling (Piruna pirus)
Garita Skipperling (Oarisma garita)
          European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)    
          Sandhill Skipper (Polites sabuleti sabuleti)
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides napa)
          Yuma Skipper (Ochlodes yuma yuma)

Whites and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

Checkered White (Pieris protodice)
Western White (Pieris occidentalis)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
Large Marble (Euchloe ausonides coloradensis)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice eriphyle)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)


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

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