Butterfly Species List

The parks diversity of elevations and habitat types helps account for the 141 confirmed species of butterflies found here. See the complete park butterfly species list below.

Here are the top five butterfly species commonly spotted in the park along with the host plants that adults lay their eggs on and the subsequent caterpillars feed on. All photos provided by Rich Bray unless noted otherwise.


Mormon Fritillary

Speyeria mormonia

Mountain Blue Violet

Viola adunca
Painted Lady (vanessa cardui) and a thistle (Cirsium) leaf

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui

Various thistle species

Cirsium sp.
Small Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis oetus) and grasses

Small Wood-Nymph

Cercyonis oetus

Various Grass species

Poaceae sp.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) and Waxflower (Jamesia americana)

Spring Azure

Celastrina ladon


Jamesia americana

ArcticBlue (Plebejus glandon) and Northern Rock Jasmine (Androsace septentrionalis)_688x250

Arctic Blue

Plebejus glandon

Northern Rock Jasmine

Androsace septentrionalis

Butterflies of Rocky Mountain National Park

Paul A. Opler, Richard O. Bray, Sara Simpson

As of June 9, 2012, a total of 141 species of butterflies have been recorded from Rocky Mountain National Park, reflecting recent taxonomic changes. With a few exceptions, scientific names follow Pelham (2008). Common names follow Opler (1999).

SKIPPER FAMILY (Hesperiidae)

  • Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus (Cramer))
  • Mexican Cloudywing (Thorybes mexicanus (Herrich-Schäffer))
  • Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus (Fabricius))
  • Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus (Scudder & Burgess))
  • Pacuvius Duskywing (Erynnis pacuvius (Lintner))
  • Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis (Scudder & Burgess))
  • Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius (Scudder))
  • Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus centaureae (Rambur)), odd years
  • Two-banded Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus ruralis (Boisduval))
  • Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis (Grote))
  • Russet Skipperling (Piruna pirus (W.H. Edwards))
  • Garita Skipperling (Oarisma garita (Reakirt))
  • Bronze Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes aenus W.H Edwards)
  • Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis (W.H. Edwards))
  • Uncas Skipper (Hesperia uncas W.H. Edwards)
  • Juba Skipper (Hesperia juba (Scudder))
  • Western Branded Skipper (Hesperia colorado (Scudder))
  • Nevada Skipper (Hesperia nevada (Scudder))
  • Draco Skipper (Polites draco (W.H. Edwards))
  • Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles (Latreille))
  • Long Dash (Polites mystic (W.H. Edwards))
  • Sonoran Skipper (Polites sonora (Scudder))
  • Sachem (Atalopedes campestris (Boisduval))
  • Taxiles Skipper (Poanes taxiles (W.H. Edwards))
  • Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides (Boisduval))
  • Morrison’s Skipper (Stinga morrisoni (W.H. Edwards))
  • Snow's Skipper (Paratrytone snowi (W.H. Edwards))
  • Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris (Boisduval))


  • Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus (Doubleday))
  • *Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon bairdii (W.H. Edwards))
  • Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius (Stoll))
  • Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon (Lucas))
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus (Lucas))
  • Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon (Lucas))
  • Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata (W.F. Kirby))


  • Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole (Boisduval))
  • Mexican Yellow (Eurema mexicana (Boisduval))
  • Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe (Cramer))
  • Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice (Godart))
  • Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme (Boisduval))
  • Alexandra's Sulphur (Colias alexandra (W.H. Edwards))
  • Mead's Sulphur (Colias meadii W.H. (Edwards))
  • Scudder's Sulphur (Colias scudderii (Reakirt))
  • Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia (Stoll))
  • Western Cordilleran Orange-tip (Anthocharis julia (W.H. Edwards))
  • Large Marble (Euchloe ausonides (Lucas))
  • Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia (W.H. Edwards))
  • Pine White (Neophasia menapia (C. & R. Felder))
  • Margined White (Pieris marginalis (Scudder))
  • Cabbage White (Pieris rapae (Linnaeus))
  • Becker’s White (Pontia beckerii (W.H. Edwards))
  • Checkered White (Pontia protodice (Boisduval & Le Conte))
  • Western White (Pontia occidentalis (Reakirt))
  • Spring White (Pontia sisymbrii (Boisduval))


  • Lustrous Copper (Lycaena cupreus snowi (W.H. Edwards))
  • Ruddy Copper (Lycaena rubidus (Behr))
  • Blue Copper (Lycaena heteronea Boisduval)
  • Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides (Boisduval))
  • Behr’s Hairstreak (Satyrium behrii (W.H. Edwards))
  • California Hairstreak (Satyrium californica (W.H. Edwards))
  • Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus (Fabricius))
  • Western Green Hairstreak (Callophrys affinis (W.H. Edwards))
  • Sheridan's Hairstreak (Callophrys sheridanii (W.H. Edwards))
  • Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus (Hübner))
  • Thicket Hairstreak (Callophrys spinetorum (Hewitson))
  • Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus ( Westwood))
  • Moss’ Elfin (Callophrys mossii (Henry Edwards))
  • Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polios (Cook & Watson))
  • Western Pine Elfin (Callophrys eryphon (Boisduval))
  • Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus Hübner)
  • Marine Blue (Leptotes marina (Reakirt))
  • Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas (Godart))
  • Western Tailed-Blue (Cupido amyntula (Boisduval))
  • Northern Azure (Celastrina lucia (W. Kirby))
  • Rocky Mountain Echo Azure (Celastrina echo sidara (Clench))
  • Rocky Mountain Dotted-Blue (Euphilotes ancilla (Barnes & McDunnough))
  • Arrowhead Blue (Glaucopsyche piasus (Boisduval))
  • Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus (Doubleday))
  • Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola (Reakirt))
  • Melissa Blue (Plebejus melissa (W.H. Edwards))
  • Greenish Blue (Plebejus saepiolus (Boisduval))
  • Mountain Blue (Plebejus icarioides (Boisduval))
  • Shasta Blue (Plebejus shasta (W.H. Edwards))
  • Timberline Blue (Plebejus cotundra J. Scott & M. Fisher)
  • Lupine Blue (Plebejus lupini lutzi dos Passos)
  • Southwestern Blue (Plebejus ‘lupini’ texanus (Goodpasture))
  • Arctic Blue (Plebejus glandon (de Prunner))


  • Monarch (Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus))
  • Queen (Danaus gilippus (Cramer))
  • Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii W.H. Edwards)
  • Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae (Linnaeus))
  • Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia (Cramer))
  • Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia (Esper))
  • Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene ([Denis & Schiffermüller]))
  • Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona (Fabricius))
  • Frigga Fritillary (Boloria frigga (Thunberg))
  • Freija Fritillary (Boloria freija (Thunberg))
  • Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea (Schneider))
  • Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite (Fabricius))
  • Edwards' Fritillary (Speyeria edwardsii (Reakirt))
  • Coronis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis (Behr))
  • Zerene Fritillary (Speyeria zerene (Boisduval))
  • Callippe Fritillary (Speyeria callippe (Boisduval))
  • Great Basin Fritillary (Speyeria egleis secreta dos Passos & Grey)
  • Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis (W.H. Edwards))
  • Northwestern Fritillary (Speyeria hesperis (W.H. Edwards))
  • Mormon Fritillary (Speyeria mormonia (Boisduval))
  • American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis (Drury))
  • Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus))
  • West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella (Field))
  • Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus))
  • Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti (Godart))
  • California Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica (Boisduval))
  • Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa (Linnaeus))
  • Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus (W.H. Edwards))
  • Oreas Comma (Polygonia oreas (W.H. Edwards))
  • Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis (Grote & Robinson))
  • Green Comma (Polygonia faunus (W.H. Edwards))
  • Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia Hübner)
  • Anicia Checkerspot (Euphydryas anicia (E. Doubleday))
  • Complex Dotted Checkerspot (Poladryas arachne (W.H. Edwards))
  • Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis (Doubleday))
  • Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone (Hübner))
  • Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla (Boisduval))
  • Rockslide Checkerspot (Chlosyne damoetas (Skinner))
  • Pale Crescent (Phyciodes pallida (W.H. Edwards))
  • Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta (Cramer))
  • West Slope Bates’ Crescent (Phyciodes batesii anasazi J. Scott)
  • Field Crescent (Phyciodes pulchella (Boisduval))
  • Ochre Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia ochracea W.H. Edwards)
  • Canyonland Satyr (Cyllopsis pertepida (Dyar))
  • Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala (Fabricius))
  • Small Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis oetus (Boisduval))
  • Magdalena Alpine (Erebia magdalena (Strecker))
  • Common Alpine (Erebia epipsodea (Butler))
  • Callias Alpine (Erebia callias W.H. (Edwards))
  • Ridings’ Satyr (Neominois ridingsii wyomingo (J. Scott))
  • Jutta Arctic (Oeneis jutta (Hübner))
  • Melissa Arctic (Oeneis melissa (Fabricius))
  • Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus (Doubleday))
  • Uhler’s Arctic (Oeneis uhleri (Reakirt))

Butterfly species not yet documented in RMNP but which might occur

  • Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades (Scudder))
  • Martial Duskywing (Erynnis martialis (Scudder))
  • Afranius Duskywing (Erynnis afranius (Lintner))
  • European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola (Ochsenheimer))
  • Pahaska Skipper (Hesperia pahaska (Leussler))
  • Oslar’s Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes oslari (Skinner))
  • Indra Swallowtail (Papilio indra (Reakirt))
  • Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus))
  • Lilac-edged Copper (Lycaena nivalis (Boisduval))
  • Edith’s Copper (Lycaena editha (Mead))
  • Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus (Cramer))
  • Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops (Le Conte))
  • Sylvan Hairstreak (Satyrium sylvinus (Boisduval))
  • Sagebrush Sooty Hairstreak (Satyrium semiluna Klots), formerly S. fuliginosum of authors, not (W.H. Edwards))
  • Great-spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele (Fabricius))
  • Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia (Drury))
  • Hydaspe Fritillary (Speyeria hydaspe (Boisduval))
  • Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus (W.H. Edwards))
  • Edith’s Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha (Boisduval))
  • Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum ([Denis & Schiffermüller]))
  • Viceroy (Limenitis archippus (Cramer))
  • Pawlowski’s Alpine (Erebia pawloskii Ménétriés) formerly E. theano of authors, not (Tauscher))

Last updated: February 19, 2018

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1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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