Butterflies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails


  Of the 75-80 species of butterflies that live in Alaska, 35-40 live right here in Anchorage and the nearby Chugach Mountains. They are found at sea level, on mountaintops, and everywhere in between. Some range throughout North America or even other continents while others (e.g. Phoebus Parnassian) are unique to cooler climates. In warmer climates, most butterflies go through their life cycle in a few weeks. Alaskan butterflies can live over a year. Some, such as the very dark colored Mourning Cloak, hibernate in their adult form during the winter, and are among the first to appear in the spring. Some overwinter in the caterpillar or chrysalis form. Painted Ladies do not go through their life cycle here, but are migratory summer visitors. So Alaskan butterflies have managed to find ways to adapt to our cooler climate. They are all beautiful and fascinating creatures that will enhance your hiking experiences in Alaska.  

 Click any of the small photos for a larger picture and more info.


Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Old World Swallowtail

Phoebus Parnassian

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Mourning Cloak


old world

phoebus parnassian

milbert's tortoiseshell

mourning cloak

Spring Azure

 Silvery Blue

Northern Blue

Western Tailed Blue

Painted Lady

spring azure

silvery blue

northern blue thumbnail

painted lady

Green Comma

Arctic White

Western White 

Creamy Marblewing

 Arctic Fritillary

green comma

arctic white

western white

large marblewing

arctic fritillary

Mountain Fritillary

Silver-Bordered Fritillary

Mormon Fritillary

Palaeno Sulphur

Clouded Sulphur

mountain fritillary

silver-bordered frit

mormon frit

Palaeno Sulphur

clouded sulphur

Ross's Alpine

Field Crescent

Arctic Skipper

Arctic (Ross's) Alpine

field crescent

arctic skipper

Visit these pages

for more photos

and info about

Alaskan Insects

and Arachnids

 Moths of Alaska

 Dragonflies of Alaska

 Alaskan Stonefly

Spiders in Alaska








All photos by Mary Hopson, an amateur photographer using amateur equipment.
Feel free to use any photos at your website, but please leave any copyright information intact.

Butterfly Reference Sources:

Brock, Jim & Kaufman, Kenn. 2003. Butterflies of North America: Kaufman Focus Guides. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York.
Layberry, Hall, & LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press Inc. Toronto.
Opler, Paul & Wright, Amy. 1999. Western Butterflies: Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Co. New York.

Carole Lloyd, lecture/slide show/nature hike series at Eagle River Nature Center

Kenelm Philip's Photos and text at eNature.com's Photographer's Galley
Butterflies of North America (USGS website)
North American Butterfly Association
Parnassius of the World
Prince Edwards Island Butterflies
The Butterflies and Skippers of North America
Familiar Butterflies of the United States & Canada, University of Ca., Riverside
Neil Davis, Northern Butterflies. Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks 






   You might also enjoy these websites: 
Alaskan Wildflowers
The Turtle Puddle (and Site Map for all of Mary's websites)