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A List 
In Alaska

with those seen during 
Focus On Nature Tours
in Alaska 
noted with an (*)

A List of Alaska Butterflies and Moths 
compiled by Armas Hill

Upper right photo: OLD WORLD SWALLOWTAILS  

Among the Lepidoptera groupings in this list, Links to:

Swallowtails, Parnassians    Whites, Marbles, Sulphurs    Coppers, Hairstreaks, Blues

Brushfoots (including Fritillaries, Tortoiseshells)    Satyrs (including Alpines, Arctics)    Skippers    Moths


Numbers in the list below noted as (K:xx) refer to pages in the Kaufman Focus Guide to Butterflies of North America, by Jim Brock & Kenn Kaufman

Numbers in the list below noted as (PW:xx) refer to plates in the Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, by Paul Opler & Amy Barttlett Wright, 1999

(i/E):     introduced from Eurasia
(AKr):   rare in Alaska

(ph):  species with a photo in the FONT website

Additional Links:

Upcoming Alaska FONT Tour Itineraries

Birds in Alaska     Mammals in Alaska     Wildflowers & Other Plants in Alaska

Other Lists and Photo Galleries of Butterflies and Moths



  1. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail  ______  (PW:5) (K:21)
    Papilio canadensis
    (Range: Alaska east to northern New England)

  2. Old World Swallowtail  (*) (ph)  ______ (PW:3) (K:33)  
    Papilio machaon 
    Papilio machaon aliaska  ______ 
    subspecies in Alaska and northwest Canada

    Papilio machaon
    is known for its "hill-topping", a form of lekking behavior.

    In "hill-topping", males may be found flying up to and staying on a hilltop, for days on end if necessary.
    Females, desirous of mating, fly up the hill.
    Males dash around the top, competing for the best part of the area - usually the very top, as the male with the best territory at the top of the hill would have the best chance of mating with the occasional female, who knows that the "top male" must be strong and thus genetically fit. 

    Papilio machaon aliaska nectars on Labrador Tea.

  3. Phoebus Parnassian ______ (PW:1) (K:45)  
    Parnassius phoebus
    Parnassius phoebus apricatus  ______ 
    subspecies from southern Alaska to northwestern British Columbia, Canada
    Parnassius phoebus golovinus  ______ 
    subspecies on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, described in 1930

  4. Eversmann's Parnassian  ______  (PW:1) (K:45)
    Parnassius eversmanni

    The Eversmann's Parnassian flies close to the ground over open tundra. It occurs in Alaska, and in Canada in Yukon, the western Northwest Territories, and northern British Columbia.


  5. Arctic White  (*)  ______  (PW:8) (K:47)  
    Pieris angelika 

    The Parry's Wallflower is a good host plant for Pieris angelika, a far-northern species of "mustard white".

  6. Western White  ______ (PW:8) (K:49)  
    Pontia occidentalis

  7. Large Marble  ______  (PW:8) (K:55)     
    Euchloe ausonides 

  8. Northern Marble  (*)  ______  (PW:9)  (K:55)
    Euchloe creusa

    The Northern Marble flies in the late spring and early summer, making it a notably early flier in northern areas.  

  9. Green Marble  ______  (PW:9)
    Euchloe naina

  10. Clouded Sulphur ______  (PW:10) (K:61)  
    Colias philodice

  11. Pelidne Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:63)  
    Colias pelidne

  12. Christina's Sulphur  ______  (PW:10) (K:63)
    Colias christina

  13. Giant Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:65)
    Colias gigantea

  14. Palaeno Sulphur  (ph)  ______  (PW:11) (K:65)
    Colias palaeno

    Other names for Colias palaeno are Arctic Sulphur and Moorland Clouded Yellow.

    A Palaeno, or Arctic Sulphur

  15. Labrador Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:65)
    Colias nastes

  16. Canadian Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:67)
    Colias canadensis

    Colias canadensis i
    s a recently distinguished species. It was previously confused with the Hecla Sulphur (below).

    The female of Colias canadensis shows dimorphism. It is usually white, but sometimes orange or yellow with the normal black borders.   

  17. Hecla Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:67)
    Colias hecla

  18. Booth's Sulphur  ______  (PW:11) (K:67)
    Colias tyche thula  

    The Booth's Sulphur is rarely seen south of the Brooks Range.


  19. American Copper  (ph)  ______  (PW:14) (K:81)
    Lycaena phlaeas

    Lycaena phlaeas is also called the Small Copper.

    A Small (or American) Copper photographed during a FONT tour
    (photo by James Scheib)

  20. Dorcas Copper  ______  (PW:15) (K:85)
    Lycaena dorcas

  21. Mariposa Copper ______  (PW:15) (K:89)  
    Lycaena mariposa

  22. Hoary Elfin  ______  (PW:18) (K:105)
    Caliophrys polios

  23. Western Pine Elfin ______  (PW:18) (K:107)   
    Callophrys eryphon

  24. Western Tailed-Blue  (*)  ______  (PW:19) (K:125)  
    Everes amyntula 

  25. Silvery Blue  ______  (PW:20) (K:125)
    Glaucopsyche lygdamus

  26. Spring Azure (*) ______  (PW:19) (K:131)  
    Celastrina ladon

  27. Greenish Blue ______  (PW:20) (K:135)  
    Plebejus saepiolus

  28. Northern Blue  ______  (PW:20) (K:135)
    Lycaeides idas

  29. Arctic Blue  ______  (PW:21) (K:137)
    Agriades glandon

  30. Cranberry Blue  ______  (PW:21) (K:137)
    Vacciniina optil


  31. Mormon Fritillary  ______  (PW:24) (K:161)  
    Speyeria mormonia

    Northern bogs hold several species of lesser fritillaries in the genus BOLORIA (below), many of which were named for Norse goddesses. 

  32. Frigga Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:169)  
    Boloria frigga 

  33. Silver-bordered Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:171)  
    Boloria selene

  34. Bog Fritillary  (ph)  ______  (PW:25) (K:171)
    Boloria eunomia

    Bog Fritillary

  35. Polaris Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:171)
    Boloria polaris 

    The Polaris Fritillary occurs in open tundra areas. It flies mid-summer, 1 brood. 

  36. Astarte Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:171)
    Boloria astarte

    The Astarte Fritillary lives on rocky tundra ridges.

  37. Mountain Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:173)
    Bolaria napaea

  38. Dingy Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:173)
    Boloria improba

  39. Freija Fritillary  ______  (PW:25) (K:175)
    Boloria freija

    Boloria freija
    has a distinctive pearl spearpoint underneath.

  40. Purplish Fritillary  ______  (K:175)
    Boloria montinus

  41. Arctic Fritillary  (*)  ______  (PW:25) (K:175)
    Boloria chariclea

  42. Cryptic Fritillary  ______  (PW:25)  (K:175)
    Boloria natazhati    

    Boloria natazhati
    is also called the Beringian Fritillary.

  43. Northern Crescent  ______  (PW:28) (K:177)  
    Phyciodes selenis

  44. Field Crescent  ______  (PW:28) (K:179)   
    Phyciodes campestris

  45. Variable Checkerspot  ______  (PW:28) (K:193)   
    Euphydryas chalcedona 

  46. Green Comma ______  (PW:29) (K:199)
    Polygonia faunus

    Polygonia faunus
    is also known as the Faun Anglewing.

  47. Hoary Comma  ______  (PW:29) (K:199)
    Polygonia gracilis

  48. Compton Tortoiseshell ______  (PW:29) (K:201)
    Nymphalis vaualbum

  49. Milbert's Tortoiseshell  (ph)  ______  (PW:29) (K:201)   
    Nymphalis milberti

    Milbert's Tortoiseshell
    (photo by Doris Potter)

  50. Mourning Cloak  (*) (ph)  ______  (PW:29) (K:203)
    Nymphalis antiopa

    Mourning Cloak

  51. Painted Lady  (ph)  ______  (PW:29) (K:205)  
    Vanessa cardui

    Painted Lady
    (photo by Doris Potter)

  52. White Admiral ______  (PW:30) (K:213)   
    Limenitis arthemis 

    Limenitis arthemis
    is called known as the Red-spotted Purple.


  53. Common Ringlet  ______  (PW:32) (K:241)
    Coenonympha tullia

    All of the EREBIA butterflies (below) show green and purple glints when they are really fresh.

  54. Common Alpine  ______  (PW:33) (K:243)
    Erebia epipsodea 

    The Common Alpine is also known as the Butler's Alpine. It is three square inches of rich, dark chocolate wings with cinnamon bands and sugar-centered, licorice eyespots - the archetypal Erebia pattern, with several variations. 

  55. Taiga Alpine  ______  (PW:32) (K:243)
    Erebia mancinus
    (Range: from Labrador to Alaska)

  56. Disa Alpine  ______  (PW:32) (K:243)
    Erebia disa
    Erebia disa steckeri  ______ 
    subspecies from northern Alaska to the western Yukon (Canada), in tundra and forest habitats

  57. Ross' Alpine  ______  (PW:32) (K;245)
    Erebia rossii 
    Erebia rossii rossii  ______ 
    subspecies in most of the species' range
    Erebia rossii gabrieli  ______ 
    subspecies in the vicinity of Denali National Park, subspecies described in 1949   
    Erebia rossii kuskoquima  ______ 
    subspecies in southwest Alaska, in the Yukon and Kuskoquim river drainages

    The Ross' Alpine has smaller ocelli than the Common, or Butler's Alpine, a double iris in a yellow patch on otter pelt brown.

  58. Eskimo Alpine  ______  (K:245)
    Erebia occulta  
    Erebia occulta occulta
    subspecies described in 1983


    The following 3 species, Erebia youngi, Erebia phellea, and Erebia lafontainei, have not, in North America, extended their ranges more than a few hundred kilometers beyond the unglaciated areas of Alaska and Yukon.
    This has been due to their weak flight capabilities, their very specific habitat requirements, and their short lifespans.
    In North America, all 3 of these species are often sympatric. All 3 fly together in Alaska in the western Brooks Range (at the head of the Kivalina River) and on the Seward Peninsula (at Harris Dome).
    Erebia youngi and Erebia lafontainei fly together in the western Brooks Range at the Utukok Rover.       

  59. Young's Alpine  ______  (PW:33) (K:245)  (has been called the Four-dotted Alpine)
    Erebia youngi
    Erebia youngi herscheli  ______ 
    subspecies in coastal northern Alaska and the northern Yukon (Canada)
    Erebia youngi rileyi  ______ 
    subspecies in the vicinity of Denali National Park, subspecies described in 1947
    Erebia youngi youngi  ______ 
    subspecies in central Alaska east to western Yukon (Canada)

  60. Erebia phellea  ______

  61. Lafontaine's Alpine  ______  (species described in 1983)
    Erebia lafontainei

    The Lafontaine's Alpine occurs in Alaska on the Alaska Range, the Brooks Range, and on the North Slope, west to the Seward Peninsula. 
    It is found in low shrub tundra, both arctic and alpine. The butterflies usually rest in small patches of short sedge found between low willows and birches, or in frost boils, where they are sheltered from the wind. 

    The flight period of the Lafontaine's Alpine is mid-June to late-July, with the butterflies appearing on the wing one to two weeks ahead of the Young's Alpine where they are sympatric.  

  62. Reddish Alpine  ______  (PW:33) (K:245)
    Erebia lozhantshikovi

  63. Banded Alpine  ______  (PW:33) (K:245)
    Erebia fasciata
    Erebia fasciata avinoffi  ______ 
    subspecies in northwestern Alaska and eastern Russia
    Erebia fasciata fasciata  ______ 
    subspecies from Nunavit (Canada) west to central Alaska

    The Banded Alpine has, not surprisingly, prominent gray-felt bands around the hindwings, rather than the frosting of the Red-disked Alpine. 

    The Banded Alpine is said to be one of the most beautiful of the EREBIAS. The female has cocoa banding, even on the wing.

  64. Mt. McKinley Alpine  ______  (PW:32) (K:247)
    Erebia mackinleyensis

    Erebia mackinleyensis was described in 1932. It has been considered conspecific with the Magdalena Alpine, Erebia magdalena, of the western United States and Canada north to northern British Columbia. There is a known isolated population of Erebia magdalena in Canada in the Yukon, in the Kluane National Park.
    The range of Erebia mackinleyensis is from eastern Siberia through Alaska and in Canada in the Yukon, and reaching into the Northwest Territories in the Richardson Mountains and into British Colombia in the Stone Mountain Provincial Park.

    Erebia mackinleyensis has reddish patches on the forewing.      

  65. Red-disked Alpine  (*)  ______  (PW:33) (K:247)
    Erebia discoidalis

    In Erebia discoidalis, the cinnamon coloration smears all over the chocolate above. 

  66. Theano Alpine  ______  (PW:33) (K:247)
    Erebia pawloskii alaskensis 
    (was Erebia theano)

    The Theano Alpine is very localized, with scattered and isolated populations. It flies weakly above both moist and dry alpine habitats, often visiting flowers. Flies midsummer, 1 brood. Biennial.

    The ARCTICS are closely related to the ALPINES. But ARCTICS sport striated grays and tawnies rather than the dark browns and reds of the ALPINES.  

    Many ARCTIC butterflies are biennial, taking two years to develop, and flying only in even or odd years in a given district.

  67. Chryxus Arctic  ______  (PW:33) (K:249)
    Oeneis chryxus
    Oeneis chryxus caryi  ______ 
    subspecies in eastern Alaska, and east in Canada to boreal Alberta

  68. Uhler's Arctic  ______  (PW:33) (K:249)
    Oeneis uhleri
    Oeneis uhleri caimesi  ______
      subspecies in northeast Alaska and in Yukon and far-northern Northwest Territories (Canada)

  69. Sentinel Arctic  ______  (PW:34) (K:249)
    Oeneis alpina
    Oeneis alpina excubitor  ______ 
    subspecies in northern Alaska, and in Yukon and the Northwest Territories (Canada), subspecies described in 1982

  70. White-veined Arctic  ______  (PW:34) (K:251)
    Oeneis bore
    (or taygete
    Oeneis bore fordi  ______ 
    subspecies in western Alaska and in far eastern Russia, subspecies described in 1949
    Oeneis bore hanburyi  ______ 
    subspecies in east-central Alaska, and in the Canadian Arctic east to northeast Manitoba
    Oeneis bore mckinleyensis  ______ 
    subspecies in the vicinity of Denali National Park, subspecies described in 1949

    Oeneis bore
    has a broad, mesial band, much like that of the Banded Alpine, and "stand-out white veins" that give it its common name, the White-veined Arctic.

  71. Melissa Arctic ______  (PW:34) (K:251)
    Oeneis melissa
    Oeneis melissa gibsoni  ______ 
    subspecies in Alaska and western and northern Yukon (Canada)

    There are other species of Oeneis melissa in North America in the Rocky Mountains and in eastern North America in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Quebec in Canada. 

  72. Philip's Arctic  ______  (species described in 1988)
    Oeneis philipi 

  73. Polixenes Arctic  ______  (PW:34) (K:251)
    Oeneis polixenes
    Oeneis polixenes woodi  ______ 
    subspecies along the Arctic coast of Alaska and Yukon (Canada)

  74. Philip's (Early) Arctic  ______  (PW:34) (K:251)
    Oeneis rosovi

  75. Jutta Arctic  ______  (PW:34) (K:253)
    Oeneis jutta
    Oeneis jutta alaskensis  ______ 
    subspecies in Alaska, and east to Yukon and northern British Columbia (Canada) 


  76. Perius Duskywing  ______  (PW:38) (K:285)
    Erynnis persius

  77. Grizzled Skipper ______  (PW:38) (K:289)
    Pyrgus centaureae

  78. Arctic Skipper ______  (PW:40) (K:301)
    Carterocephalus palaemon 

  79. Common Branded Skipper ______  (PW:41) (K:313)
    Hesperia comma 


  80. Hummingbird Clearwing  (ph)  ______
    Hemaris thysbe

    Hummingbird Clearwing
    (photo by Howard Eskin)

  81. Snowberry Clearwing  (ph)  ______
    Hemaris diffinis

    Snowberry Clearwing
    (photo by Howard Eskin)

  82. Cerisy's Sphinx  (ph)  ______
    Smerinthus cerisyi

    A caterpillar of a Cerisy's, or One-eyed Sphinx
    (photo by Sally Brady)

  83. Gallium Sphinx  (or Bedstraw Hawk Moth)  (ph)  ______
    Hyles gallii

    Gallium Sphinx
    (photo by Stephen Kloiber)

  84. Spear-marked Black Moth  ______  (in the family Geometridae)
    Rheumaptera hastata

    Rheumaptera hastata
    is called the Argent and Sable in Eurasia. 

  85. Rusty Tussock Moth  (or Vapourer ______  (in the family Lymantriidae)
    Orgyia antiqua

  86. Great Brocade Moth  (or Great Gray Dart ______  (in the family Noctuidae)
    Eurois occulta  

  87. Herald Moth  ______  (in the family Noctuidae)
    Scoliopteryx libatrix  

  88. Arctia opulenta  ______  (a tiger moth)

  89. Wood Tiger Moth  ______
    Parasemia plantaginis 

  90. St. Lawrence Tiger Moth  ______
    Platarctica parthnenos

    Platarctica parthnenos
    was said to be new for Alaska in August 2009.



    Some selected reference books regarding Butterflies:

    "Butterflies of North America", by Jim Brock & Kenn Kaufmann (with 2,200 images & 70 photographs)

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