North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus)
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Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus Doubleday)

Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.4 cm).

Identification: Antenna has alternate black and white rings. Upperside of forewing of females and most males with 2 red or yellow spots beyond the cell. In some males these spots are black.

Life history: Males patrol close to the ground for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on almost any surface. Caterpillars feed on leaves and occasionally flowers and fruits. Hibernate as eggs.

Flight: One flight June-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Many species of stonecrop (Sedum) in the Crassulaceae family.

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of Sedum and Asteraceae family.

Habitat: Open forests, meadows, grasslands.

Range: From New Mexico north along the Rocky Mountains and into southwest Alaska.

Conservation: No populations are of conservation concern.

Management needs: None noted.


Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University
     Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co.,
     Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Rocky Mountain Parnassian (Parnassius smintheus)
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