Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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Utah Habitats for Butterflies and Moths

Wasatch Canyons


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





Utah's most popular Wasatch Front canyons include Payson Canyon, Provo Canyon, American Fork Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, City Creek Canyon, Farmington Canyon and Ogden Canyon.  Whether these canyons contain active rivers, or are dry as is the case with Provo's Rock Canyon, there are plenty of butterfly and moth species to be found in these riparian and adjacent areas.  In fact, the majority of species from the state can be found in Wasatch Canyons and hilltops.

The best areas to seek out lepidoptera in these canyons is on hiking trails, mountain parks, campground areas, and turnouts.  Males of some species of butterflies like the Two-Tailed Swallowtail, (Papilio multicaudata pusillus,) The Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus rutulus,) The Mourning Cloak, (Nymphalis antiopa,) and Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyeri latifascia) prefer to patrol up and down the water course as well as the main highway.  Remember that the larvae of most of these species feed on plants that grow adjacent to the river or riparian area; so, you should remember to look for butterflies or set up a blacklight for moths near the river or dry ravine. 

Although many butterfly and moth species in the Wasatch Mountains are "riparian," some montane species in the Wasatch Mountains fly in habitats away from the river right along the side of the mountain.  Finding these species oftentimes requires hiking trails into the habitats of these butterflies.  Examples of butterflies that fly along the side of the mountain is the Ridings' satyr (Neominois wyomingo,) Spring white (Pieris sisymbri sisymbri,) Pacuvius duskywing (Erynnis pacuvius lilius) and Queen Alexandra's Sulphur (Colias alexandra alexandra.)

Timing is also critical in finding different species of butterflies in the Wasatch Mountains.  Some fly in early spring, others start flying in May, June, or July, whereas others do not appear until fall.  (For more information on the flights of certain species, please see the web page on Rock Canyon as well as the table below.)


Specific Habitat Locations:

Rock Canyon (Provo)

Lambs Canyon (East of Salt Lake City)

Taylor Canyon (Ogden)

Farmington Canyon (Farmington)

Mueller Park (Bountiful)

Swallowtails and Parnassians (Family Papilionidae)       

Papilio bairdi (baird's swallowtail)
Papilio eurymedon (pale swallowtail)
Papilio indra indra (indra swallowtail)
Papilio multicaudata pusillus (two-tailed swallowtail)
Papilio rutulus rutulus (western tiger swallowtail)
Papilio zelicaon nitra (anise swallowtail)
Parnassius clodius menetriesi (american red pearl)


Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)

Euptoieta claudia (variegated fritillary)
Speyeria cybele letona (letona fritillary)
Speyeria coronis snyderi (coronis fritillary)
Speyeria zerene platina (zerene fritillary)
Speyeria callippe harmonia (callippe fritillary)
Speyeria egleis utahensis (great basin fritillary)
Speyeria hesperis wasatchia (northwestern fritillary)
Speyeria hydaspe sakantula (hydaspe fritillary)
Boloria kriemhild kriemhild (relict fritillary)
Thessalia leanira alma (leanira checkerspot)
Chlosyne palla flavula (northern checkerspot)
Chlosyne acastus acastus (sagebrush checkerspot)
Phyciodes cocyta cocyta (northern crescent)
Phyciodes batesii anasazi (tawny crescent)
Phyciodes pulchellus camillus (field crescent)
Phyciodes pallida barnesi (pale crescent)
Phyciodes mylitta mylitta (thistle crescent)
Euphydyras anicia maria (variable checkerspot)
Polygonia satyrus satyrus (satyr comma)
Polygonia zephyrus (hoary comma)
          Polygonia faunus hylas (green comma)
Nymphalis antiopa (mourning cloak)
Nymphalis californica (california tortoiseshell)
Nymphalis milberti furcillata (milbert's tortoiseshell)
          Vanessa cardui (painted lady)
Vanessa carye annabella (west coast lady)
Vanessa atalanta rubria (red admiral)
Vanessa virginiensis virginiensis (virginia lady)
Junonia coenia coenia (common buckeye)
Limenitis weidemeyeri weidemeyeri (weidemeyer's admiral)
Limenitis weidemeyeri latifascia (weidemeyer's admiral)
Adelpha eulalia (arizona sister)

Gossamer-wing Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)

Lycaena arota schellbachi (tailed copper)
Lycaena cupreus artemisia (lustrous copper)
Lycaena rubidus sirius (ruddy copper)
Lycaena dorcas castro (purplish copper)
Lycaena nivalis browni (lilac-bordered copper)
Hypaurotis crysalus citima (colorado hairstreak)
Satyrium titus immaculosis (coral hairstreak)
Satyrium behri behri (behr's hairstreak)
Satyrium sylvinus putnami (sylvan hairstreak)
Satyrium saepium provo (hedgerow hairstreak)
Callophrys sheridani neoperplexa (sheridan's green hairstreak)
Incisalia augustinus annetteae (brown elfin)
          Incisalia fotis fotis (desert elfin)
Mitoura spinetorum (thicket hairstreak)
          Mitoura siva siva (juniper hairstreak)
Strymon melinus franki (gray hairstreak)
Brephidium exile (western pygmy-blue)
Hemiargus ceraunus gyas (ceraunus blue)
Hemiargus isola alce (reakirt's blue)
Cupido amyntula (western tailed blue)
Celastrina ladon echo (spring azure)
Euphilotes ancilla (rocky mountain dotted-blue)
Euphilotes spaldingi (spalding's dotted-blue)
Glaucopsyche lygdamus oro (silvery blue)
Plebejus melissa annetta (melissa blue)
Plebejus saepiolus saepiolus (greenish blue)
Plebejus icarioides ardea (boisduval's blue)
Plebejus lupini lutzi (lupine blue)

Metalmarks (Family Riodinidae)

Apodemia mormo mormo (mormon metalmark)

Milkweed Butterflies (Family Danaidae)

Danaus plexippus (monarch)

Satyrs (Family Satyridae)

Coenonympha tullia brenda (common ringlet) 
Cercyonis sthenele masoni (great basin wood nymph)
Cercyonis oetus charon (small wood nymph)
          Neominois wyomingo (wyoming satyr)





Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)

Thorybes pylades pylades (northern cloudywing)
Erynnis icelus (dreamy duskywing)
Erynnis brizo burgessi (sleepy duskywing)
Erynnis telemachus (rocky mountain duskywing)
Erynnis pacuvius lilius (pacuvius duskywing)
Erynnis afranius (afranius duskywing)
Erynnis persius fredericki (persius duskywing)
Pyrgus ruralis (two-banded checkered-skipper)
Pyrgus communis (common checkered-skipper)
Piruna pirus (russet skipperling)
Oarisma garita (garita skipperling)
Thymelicus lineola (european skipper)
Hesperia juba (juba skpper)
Hesperia colorado harpalus (western branded skipper)
Polites sabuleti sabuleti (sandhill skipper)
          Polites draco (draco skipper)
Polites themistocles (tawny-edged skipper)
Polites sonora utahensis (sonora skipper)
Ochlodes sylvanoides napa (woodland skipper)
Ochlodes sylvanoides omnigena (woodland skipper)
Poanes taxiles (taxiles skipper)

Whites, Orange-Tips and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

Pontia sisymbri sisymbri (spring white)
          Pontia protodice (checkered white)         
Pontia occidentalis (western white)
Pieris marginalis pallidissima (utah all white)
Pieris rapae (cabbage white)
Euchloe ausonides coloradensis (large marble)
Anthocharis stella browningi (utah stella orangetip)
Anthocharis sara thoosa (southwestern orangetip)
Colias philodice eriphyle (yellow sulphur)
Colias eurytheme (orange sulphur)
Colias occidentalis pseudochristina = wasatchia (western sulfur)
Colias alexandra alexandra (queen alexandra's sulphur)
Phoebis sennae marcellina (cloudless sulphur)
Nathalis iole (dainty sulphur)

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

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