Utah Butterflies: Pictures and Butterfly Identification Help


picture of a Green Comma Butterfly, part of the Utah butterflies collection

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.

According to the Utah Bug Club

Because of the general lack of native vegetation in our cities and suburbs, the mix of butterflies in Northern Utah yards and parks is definitely limited; unless you live near natural habitat such as mountain canyons or rivers. However, there are are a few butterflies that do fly around our neighborhoods, the cabbage white being the most common.

They suggest that visitors to the northern urban areas head out to the local canyons because the water attracts large numbers of butterflies.

This introduction to Utah butterflies is organized according to family. It provides a list of the butterfly species found in the state along with a handful of butterfly pictures.

Visitors looking for additional butterfly pictures and butterfly identification help can press the green butterfly button for more information.

Butterflies: Whites and Yellows

picture of a Checkered White butterfly
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.

picture of a Dainty sulphur on Aster
Yellow butterfly species are plentiful in the state. Mead’s Sulphur and Scudder’s Sulphur are Rocky Mountain specialties.

The remaining species are common in the West and South. The picture shows a Dainty Sulphur, one of the smaller yellow butterfly species.

Desert Orangetip
Stella Orangetip
Southwestern Orangetip
Large Marble
Desert Marble
Pine White
Margined White
Cabbage White
Becker’s White
Checkered White
Western White
Spring White
Clouded Sulphur
Orange Sulphur
Western Sulphur
Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur
Mead’s Sulphur
Scudder’s Sulphur
Southern Dogface
White Angled-Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Mexican Yellow
Mimosa Yellow
Sleepy Orange
Dainty Sulphur

Blues, Hairtreaks and Coppers

picture of a California Hairstreak
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.

picture of an Arrowhead Blue, part of the Utah butterflies section
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.

Marine Blue
Western Pygmy-Blue
Western Tailed-Blue
Spring Azure
Northern Azure
Summer Azure
Echo Azure
Arrowhead Blue
Silvery Blue
Small Dotted-Blue
Western Square-dotted Blue
Bernardino Dotted-Blue
Ellis’ Dotted-Blue
Bauer’s Dotted-Blue
Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue
Mojave Dotted-Blue
Rita Dotted-Blue
Pallid Dotted-Blue
Spalding’s Dotted-Blue
Ceraunus Blue
Reakirt’s Blue
Northern Blue
Melissa Blue
Greenish Blue
Boisduval’s Blue
Shasta Blue
Lupine Blue
Arctic Blue
Stanfords’ Blue
Colorado Hairstreak
Great Purple Hairstreak
Western Green Hairstreak
Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak
Desert Green Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak
Thicket Hairstreak
Brown Elfin
Desert Elfin
Hoary Elfin
Western Pine Elfin
Coral Hairstreak
California Hairstreak
Sylvan Hairstreak
Banded Hairstreak
Hedgerow Hairstreak
Behr’s Hairstreak
Sooty Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak
Gray Hairstreak
Leda Ministreak
Tailed Copper
American Copper
Lustrous Copper
Edith’s Copper
Bronze Copper
Ruddy Copper
Blue Copper
Purplish Copper
Lilac-bordered Copper

Brush Footed Butterflies

picture of a side view of a Leanira Checkerspot
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.

With names such as Alpines and Arctics it’s easy to guess that this group of brushfoots live in the Utah mountain areas.

Brush footed
American Snout
Gulf Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Aphrodite Fritillary
Nokomis Fritillary
Edwards’ Fritillary
Coronis Fritillary
Zerene Fritillary
Callippe Fritillary
Great Basin Fritillary
Northwestern Fritillary
Hydaspe Fritillary
Mormon Fritillary
Silver-bordered Fritillary
Relict Fritillary
Freija Fritillary
Arctic Fritillary
Weidemeyer’s Admiral
Arizona Sister
Hackberry Emperor
Dotted Checkerspot
Arachne Checkerspot
Fulvia Checkerspot
Leanira Checkerspot
Gorgone Checkerspot
California Patch
Bordered Patch
Rockslide Checkerspot
Sagebrush Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
Painted Crescent
Pale Crescent
Mylitta Crescent
Pearl Crescent
Northern Crescent
Tawny Crescent
Field Crescent
Texan Crescent
Brush footed
Edith’s Checkerspot
Chalcedon Checkerspot
Anicia Checkerspot
Common Buckeye
Tropical Buckeye
White Peacock
Question Mark
Satyr Comma
Green Comma
Hoary Comma
Gray Comma
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
Compton Tortoiseshell
Mourning Cloak
California Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral
Painted Lady
West Coast Lady
American Lady
Common Ringlet
Canyonland Satyr
Magdalena Alpine
Common Alpine
Colorado Alpine
Ridings’ Satyr
Wyoming Satyr
Jutta Arctic
Melissa Arctic
White-veined Arctic
Chryxus Arctic
Uhler’s Arctic
Common Wood-Nymph
Mead’s Wood-Nymph
Great Basin Wood-Nymph
Small Wood-Nymph

Butterflies: Swallowtails

picture of an Old World Swallowtail
The list of Utah swallowtail butterflies is similar to many other Western state butterfly lists.

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

Butterflies: Metalmarks

picture of a Mormon Metalmark
Metalmark butterflies are a tropical family of butterflies. Utah begins the northern trend for Metalmark species. They are low in number and the species have brown wings. The picture shows the Mormon Metalmark.
  • Fatal Metalmark
  • Mormon Metalmark
  • Palmer’s Metalmark