Butterflies (and Moths)

mourning cloak
Mourning cloaks can be seen flying on warm days as early as mid-February.

NPS Photo by Sally King

Over 100 species of butterflies have been identified within Bandelier. Some, like the Mourning Cloak and California Tortoiseshell, can be seen flying on warm days in late winter and early spring. These butterflies overwinter as adults tucked neatly under loose bark, awakening on warm days to seek sustenance. Early spring-flying butterflies usually feed on tree sap, rotting vegetation, and early blooming flowers.
Great Spangled Fritillaries
During the right season and in the right place, butterflies can congregate in large numbers.

NPS Photo by Sally King

The majority of butterflies are active only in the summer because they feed on the pollen of flowering plants. These include several species of Tiger Swallowtails, Fritillaries, Hairstreaks, and Admirals. Some are large with wingspans of up to 4.5" while others are tiny and often overlooked. Some of these tiniest butterflies display the most vivid colors of blue, green, and orange.
juniper hairstreak
Although quite small, Juniper Hairstreaks exhibit vivid color.

NPS Photo by Sally King

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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