Utah Lepidopterists' Society
Founded 6 Nov 1976
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Utah Habitats for Butterflies and Moths
Montane--Otter Creek and Koosharem Canyon
9. Utah's Dixie
Two delightful localities to find a unique mix butterflies in Southern Sevier County during the months of July and August are Koosharem Canyon Road as well as Otter Creek. These two areas (Koosharem Canyon Road and Otter Creek) are roughly nine aerial miles from each other from southwest to northeast.
Otter Creek crosses UT Hwy 62 and is located roughly 1000 feet WSW from the junction of UT Hwy 24/62. During the middle to latter part of July, one can find a unique mix of wetland butterflies which include colonies of Cercyonis pegala ssp., Lycaena hyllus, Speyeria nokomis apacheana, Speyeria leto letona, Polites sonora utahensis as well as a few straying Cercyonis meadi meadi from the nearby hills.
Koosharem Canyon Road
Roughly nine miles southwest where Otter Creek crosses UT Hwy 62, Koosharem Canyon Road initially provides a scenic vista of rabbitbrush and sagebrush communities. It is here (see picture above) where one can find Cercyonis meadi meadi starting to fly around the end of July (depending upon season). Other wood nymphs that fly with meadi is the more common Cercyonis oetus charon as well as the less common Cercyonis sthenele masoni.
During some years, you will be able to find stands of rocky mountain beeplant (Cleome serrulata) in bloom where the main road intersects small drainages. These plants have been known to attract adults of meadi as well as Pieris beckeri and Pieris protodice--the latter two species also using this same plant as a larval hostplant. Another conspicuous butterfly in this area is Hesperia colorado ssp.
As you proceed up the canyon road in a northwesterly direction, you begin to notice an increase in the stands of pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) as well as juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). As the pinyon pines get thicker, you might begin to notice the Pine White (Neophasia menapia menapia); which generally flies at the same time as Cercyonis m. meadi. Further up the canyon still, it is possible to find Poladryas arachne as well as a few individuals of Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea.
|Alan Myrup looks for Speyeria nokomis apacheana and Lycaena hyllus along Otter Creek 6 Aug 2004.||Koosharem Canyon: This is a good spot to find Cercyonis meadi meadi flying with Neophasia menapia menapia; along with an occasional Cyllopsis pertepida dorothea.|
|A look at the Otter Creek habitat from UT Hwy 62~roughly 1000 feet from UT Hwy 24.||Atlides halesus estesi host Phorodendron juniperinum growing on Juniperus osteosperma.|
|Click on toenail above for a map of how to get to this area from the Great Basin Environmental Education Center.||Click on toenail above for a map of how to get to this area from Cedar City/I-15. Take I-15 to Hwy 20 east to Hwy 89 north to Hwy 62.|
All images of Limenitis weidemeyeri on the ULS Info Bar courtesy Jay Cossey
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