Rocky Mountain states such as Utah rank as some of the best butterfly destinations in the United States. The east-west divide means that the eastern slopes of the state attract many of the eastern butterflies and the western slopes, valleys and fields support entirely different butterfly populations.
According to the Utah Lepidopterists’ Society:
In the north, Utah’s geographical diversity includes the eastern extension of the Great Basin approaching the western extension of the Rocky Mountains. Salt Lake and Utah Valley citizens are privileged to live in the buffer zone between these two vastly differing mountain ranges. The southern part of the state is divided amongst further montane regions intermixed with Canyon Country habitats comprising the northern section of the Colorado Plateau.
So, the types of butterflies anyone visiting Utah will see is highly dependent on the places they visit.
Gratography members are invited to post all their pictures and stories about Utah butterflies.
The buttons at the bottom of the page divide them into nine categories based on wing color and/or family.
Anyone looking for butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
Pieridae is the formal name of the family that consists of the butterflies with white wings and yellow wings. Most states have more of the yellow butterfly species. Here’s a list of the rest of the white butterflies and yellow butterflies documented in the state.
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers
Almost five dozen Gossamar Wing butterflies find a home in Utah. The mountain areas insure they have habitat to support a wide variety of blue butterflies that can be also be found in other northern and southern locations. Deserts and valleys provide habitat for even more species.
Move down to the Hairsreak and Copper butterfly genera and the pattern is similar. Tourists can have the proverbial field day keeping their eyes peeled to the ground in search of all these small and beautiful butterflies. The picture shows a California Hairstreak.
Western Square-dotted Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Great Purple Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Desert Green Hairstreak
Western Pine Elfin
Brush Footed Butterflies
Multiple habitats means that multiple fritillaries, commas, crescents, checkerspots and wood nymphs also abound in the state. The picture show a side view of a Leanira Checkerspot.
Many of these brush footed species fly in residential areas and around gardens in cities. They are probably the most visible to tourists and fairly easy to photograph.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
West Coast Lady
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Not many states support Old World Swallowtails, so getting a picture of one in Utah often ranks high on life lists for many butterfly enthusiasts.
- Clodius Parnassian
- Rocky Mountain Parnassian
- Pipevine Swallowtail
- Old World Swallowtail
- Black Swallowtail
- Anise Swallowtail
- Indra Swallowtail
- Western Tiger Swallowtail
- Pale Swallowtail
- Two-tailed Swallowtail
- Fatal Metalmark
- Mormon Metalmark
- Palmer’s Metalmark