Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Parnassius smintheus - Rocky Mountain Parnassian - Hodges#4155.2

Unknown White Butterfly - Parnassius smintheus - male Parnassius smintheus - female Papilionidae 7-13-11 02a - Parnassius smintheus - male Parnassius smintheus maximus - Parnassius smintheus - male Rocky Mountain Parnassian - Parnassius smintheus - female Parnassian? - Parnassius smintheus - male Parnassius smintheus Unknown butterfly in the alpine - Parnassius smintheus - male
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails, Parnassians)
Subfamily Parnassiinae
Tribe Parnassiini (Apollos or Parnassians)
Genus Parnassius
Species smintheus (Rocky Mountain Parnassian - Hodges#4155.2)
Hodges Number
4155.2
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Parnassius smintheus E. Doubleday, 1847. Type locality: “Rocky Mountains”; defined as “vicinity of Rock Lake, [near Jasper] Alberta (53o27'N, 118.o16'W)” by J. Shepard (1984), Quaest. Entomol. 20(1): 40-41.
Explanation of Names
Smintheus (Σμινθευς), is one of the names used for Apollo in ancient Greece.
Numbers
Butterflies of America lists 8 subspecies, all in our area:
sternitzkyi McDunnough, 1937
olympianna Burdick, 1941
yukonensis Eisner, 1969
smintheus E. Doubleday, 1847
magnus W. G. Wright, 1905
maximus Bryk & Eisner, 1937
sayii W. H. Edwards, 1863
pseudorotgeri Eisner, 1966

Parnassius behrii W.H. Edwards, 1870 [= P. smintheus behrii (W.H. Edwards) Dyar, 1903] - is variously treated as a subspecies, or (especially in Californian butterfly treatments) as a distinct species.
Size
Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.4 cm).(1)
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.(1)
Often called by the name Parnassius phoebus, a closely related Eurasian species. Many people consider all North American populations to belong to that species, many prefer to separate them. Some authors split North American populations into more than one species; usually two or three, with the northernmost populations included in P. phoebus, and the rest in P. smintheus; or, the Sierra Nevada populations may be separated as Parnassius behrii. These regional "species" are best distinguished by where they are found.
Range
mountains from California, Utah, and New Mexico north into southern Yukon.(1)
Habitat
Open forests, meadows, grasslands.(1)
Season
One flight June-August.(1)
Food
Caterpillar hosts: Species of Stonecrop (Sedum) in the family Crassulaceae.
Perhaps also Saxifraga in family Saxifragaceae, though not reported for North American populations.
Adult food: Nectar from flowers, with Sedum and Asteraceae often favored.(1)
Life Cycle
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.(1)
Remarks
Populations from high elevation and northern latitudes tend to average darker and smaller in size.