Butterflies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails



Old World Swallowtail
Papilio machaon aliaska

Near the Summit of Mount Baldy above Eagle River, at about 3000', there were quite a few Old World Swallowtails basking and courting. Alaska's other swallowtail, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is more commonly seen at lower elevations. The Old World has a larger black marking on the forewings, next to the body. There are also differences in the striping of the hindwing. Here's a Canadian Tiger for comparison. Both types of swallowtail overwinter as pupae. During the flight season, males patrol mountaintops, waiting for females. Old Worlds range through most of Alaska, Canada, and in the "Lower 48" west of the Mississippi. They also live throught most of Northern Europe and parts of Asia. The subspecies aliaskaaoccurs in Alaska and several Canadian provinces. Preferred host plants vary depending on geographical subspecies; aliaskaafeed on Arctic Wormwood. Click to see an Old World Swallowtail caterpillar, photographed by Carol Griswold.

Three more views of Old World Swallowtail Butterflies, also
taken on Mt. Baldy, but more recently (and with a better camera):

Dorsal view (upper side)
An attempt to see the ventral side--this species never seems to close the wings
This front view shows the butterfly trying to hold onto a rock in a strong wind.


You will find more information on this species of butterfly here and here.
Also check out this website: Butterflies of Alaska

Click any of the smaller photos below for more butterflies found along Southcentral Alaska's hiking trails.
For other scenes along the hiking trails: Back to the Fat Old Lady's Climbing Page
Or for a more recent hike on Baldy (including Old World Swallowtails) go to the the Fat Old Lady's website by clicking here.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

Old World Swallowtail

Phoebus Parnassian

Milbert's Tortoiseshell


old world

phoebus parnassian


Mourning Cloak

Spring Azure

 Silvery Blue

Northern Blue

mourning cloak

spring azure

silvery blue

northern blue thumbnail

Painted Lady

Arctic Skipper

Green Comma

Arctic White

painted lady

arctic skipper

green comma

arctic white

Western White

Creamy Marblewing

 Arctic Fritillary

Mountain Fritillary

western white

large marblewing

arctic fritillary

mountain fritillary

Silver-Bordered Fritillary

Mormon Fritillary

Palaeno Sulphur

Clouded Sulphur

silver-bordered frit

mormon frit

Palaeno Sulphur

common sulphur

Ross's Alpine

Field Crescent

Arctic (Ross's) Alpine