There are at least 20 endemic species in the Spring Mountains, including eight endemic butterflies. This means these butterflies are found nowhere else in the world! The USDA Forest Service, along with Go Mt Charleston, is working to help protect these butterflies and the environment they call home. The flowing is a list of the endemic butterflies and what you can do to help protect these sensitive species.
- Carole's silver-spot
The Carole's silver-spot is a beautiful tawny-red to brown with a variable black pattern. Its underside color ranges from brown-purple to pale yellow-brown. The wingspan of the Carole's silver-spot is 2.1-2.7 inches. This butterfly is active in July and spends most of its time in the Bristlecone pine community, mixed conifer, pinyon-juniper, and sagebrush communities. Typically, it can be found below 7,500 feet in the Spring Mountain National Recreation area. This butterfly relies on the Charleston Mtn. Violet to lay its eggs on and depends on the Rough angelica as one of its nectar plants.
- Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot
The Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot wings are dull checkered orange to bright orange with black lines and smudges, and its wingspan is 1.1-1.65 inches. This butterfly can be found in riparian areas, mixed conifers, pinyon-juniper habitat, and sagebrush from 5,840-10,000 feet.
This butterfly relies on Yellow rabbitbrush and rubber rabbitbrush to lay its eggs on and depends on Spreading dogbane as one of its nectar plants.
- Mount Charleston blue butterfly
The male Mount Charleston blue butterfly is lilac-blue with a brownish border. Females are similar but darker blue with fine orange, blue and black spots on the lover wings. Its wingspan is .86-1.10 inches and can be found in open areas such as ridgelines, ski runs, and avalanche paths in Bristlecone woodlands or mixed conifer forest above 6,500 feet. This butterfly relies on the Torrey's Milkvetch to lay its eggs on and depends on this plant for nectar as well. The Mount Charleston blue butterfly is an endangered species, which means it is at risk of extinction.
- Morand's checkerspot
The wings of the Morand's checkerspot are dark orange with checkerspots and 1.22-1.74 inches in length. This butterfly can be found in meadows and avalanche chutes, alpine zones, bristlecone pine stands, mixed conifer forest, and pinyon-juniper communities from 6,890-10,500 feet.
The Morand's checkerspot relies on the Wavyleaf Indian paintbrush to lay its eggs on and the Sanddune wallflower as a nectar plant.
- Spring Mountains dark blue
The male Spring Mountains dark blue is blue with checkered wing fringes; females are typically brown and may be spotted. Their wingspan is .75-1.10 inches in length. This butterfly can be found along stream banks and seeps, primarily in mixed conifer and pinyon-juniper communities from 4,920-8,200 feet. The Spring Mountains dark blue relies on Sulphur-flower buckwheat to lay its eggs on and as a nectar plant. This species is being considered for federal listing as endangered.
- Spring Mountain comma skipper
The male Spring Mountain comma skipper is light brown with a dark wing border; females have a darker edge than males. Their wingspan is 1.1-1.2 inches in length. This butterfly can be found in riparian areas in mixed conifer forests and pinyon-juniper communities between 4,930 and 9,840 feet.
The Spring Mountain comma skipper relies on the Yellow rabbitbrush to lay its eggs on and the Rubber rabbitbrush as one of its nectar plants.
- Spring Mountains icarioides blue
The male Spring Mountains icarioides are light blue with lilac reflections; females are dark blue to brown with a wingspan of 1.10-1.34 inches in length. This butterfly can be found in open stands and meadows, Bristlecone pine woodlands, mixed conifer forest, Pinyon-juniper, Sagebrush communities, and wet areas near springs. The Spring Mountain icarioides blue relies on Silver lupin to lay its eggs on and as a nectar plant.
- Nevada admiral
The Nevada admiral has black wings with white-yellow bands. Their wingspan is 2.5-3.5 inches in length. This butterfly can be found in the Spring Mountains and the nearby Sheep Mountains in riparian areas, bristlecone pine stands, mixed conifer forest, and pinyon-juniper communities between 4,920 to 9,200 feet. The Utah serviceberry is one of the Nevada admiral's host plans, and the Arizona thistle is one of its nectar pants.
Here are some tips to help protect these sensitive species when you visit the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
- Watch where you step, or ride-many of the plants butterflies rely on are small and easy to trample.
- Leave what your find-leave flowers for the butterflies!
- Help minimize the spread of invasive species-use the boot brushes at the trail head before and after hiking.
- Observe from a distance-getting too close can cause butterflies to "flush" (fly away), which wastes precious energy.