• Sweeping panoramic views of lava flows, cinder cones, and distant mountains can be enjoyed at Sandstone Bluffs.

    El Malpais

    National Monument New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 2014 Compendium now available

    The 2014 park compendium is now available via the link below. This includes new prohibitions on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within national park units. More »

  • Cave permits now available for selected park caves

    FREE mandatory cave permits are now available to visit specific caves in El Malpais. Permits can be obtained at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center at I-40/Exit 85 or at the El Malpais Information Center on NM Highway 53. More »

Butterflies

Top-Butterfly
NPS photo Dale Dombrowski
 

Meadows dance with color in the spring and summer as a wide-array of butterflies and moths flutter throughout El Malpais National Monument. When butterflies and moths combine with the colorful flowers, El Malpais is a mecca for another common visitor, the "shutter bug."

 
DSC00177

Western Tiger Swallowtail

NPS photo Phillip Brown

Butterflies

Amid the cone flowers, globemallow, blanket flowers, and Indian paintbrush, colorful butterflies and moths scurry hither and yon in search of food.

Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers, but some also get nourishment from other sources such as pollen, tree sap and rotting fruit. Butterflies serve as important pollinators for some species of plants, but do not carry as much pollen as bees. Butterflies can however carry the pollen over longer distances. As adults, butterflies consume only liquids, sipping water and dissolved minerals from stream sides or mud puddles, and nectar from flowers.

Butterfly-and-Bee-190

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

 
DSC00159-190

NPS photo Phillip Brown

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

 
Great Purple Hairstreak

NPS photo Phillip Brown

Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus

Butterfly-3190

NPS photo Phillp Brown

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

 
Tiger-Moth-190

NPS photo Dale Dombrowski

Mexican Tiger Moth (Notarctia proxima)

 
Giant Leopard Moth

NPS photo Phillip Brown

Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia

Did You Know?

Vivid pink flowers blossom on a spiny Cane Cholla cactus.

The cane cholla cactus thrives in the lower elevation regions of El Malpais. This hardy and tough looking plant produces many vibrantly colored flowers in the late spring. More...