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Audio Tours of Mount Diablo
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Mount Diablo Butterfly List - 2016


Over 70 species of butterflies are known to live on Mount Diablo, which is almost 50 percent of all known species in the San Francisco Bay Area. When looking for butterflies, choose a sunny day with a temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, generally between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Very few butterflies fly when it is cool, foggy, or rainy. Binoculars that can focus 10 feet or closer are very useful.

Check MDIA's Event Calendar, mdia.org/site/mdia-event-calendar, for guided butterfly walks, which usually occur in spring and early summer.

In keeping with the California State Parks mission statement, butterflies and their habitat are protected, and collecting of butterflies is strictly prohibited in Mount Diablo State Park.

The following list has been generously compiled by Mount Diablo butterfly experts and enthusiasts. It is updated as information becomes available. MDIA welcomes input on sightings or other information that you may wish to contribute. Please contact MDIA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Common Name Scientific Name Adult Flight Period Caterpillar Food Plant Nectar Plants Notes
Acmon Blue Plebejus acmon All year buckwheat, legumes chamise, horehound, coyote brush, narrow-leaved milkweed Rare in winter.
Alfalfa Sulphur Colias eurytheme All year legumes yellow star-thistle Rare in winter.
Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon March to October fennel, lomatium, tauschia
Bramble Hairstreak Callophrys perplexa March to April buckwheat, lotus
Buckeye Precis coenia February to December plantain, owl's clover, monkey flower California buckeye, coyote brush, mustards (sinapis and brassica)
Cabbage White Pieris rapae All year mustard family California buckeye, Italian thistle, rose clover Rare in winter.
California Dogface Colias eurydice April and June false indigo Possibly not resident.
California Hairstreak Satyrium californicum May to July oak California buckeye, Oregon sunshine, narrow-leaved milkweed, yarrow
California Ringlet Coenonympha tullia california March to November grass
California Sister Adelpha bredowii californica April to November oak California buckeye
California Tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica All year California lilac Rare in summer. Migrates to high mountains.
Canyon Oak Hairstreak Habrodais grunus lorquini June to August canyon oak
Columbian Skipper Hesperia columbia May to June, September bunchgrass
Common Checkerspot Euphydryas chalcedona March to July monkey flower family, snowberry, plantain, plectritis, honeysuckle Oregon sunshine
Common Hairstreak Strymon melinus pudicus February to October mallow, buckwheat
Common Sootywing Skipper Pholisora catullus March to August pigweed, amaranth
Common White Pontia protodice April to November mustard family
Comon Checkered Skipper Pyrgus communis March to November mallow
Comstock's Fritillary Speyeria callippe comstocki May to August violet California buckeye, coyote mint
Crown Fritillary Speyeria coronis June violet Morgan Territory only. Possibly not resident.
Dryope Hairstreak Satyrium sylvinum dryope May to July willow narrow-leaved milkweed
Eastern Tailed Blue Everes comyntas March to September legumes
Echo Blue Celastrina ladon echo February to July California buckeye, California lilac toyon, coffeeberry, mustards (sinapis and brassica)
Eufala Skipper Lerodea eufala July to October grass Possibly not resident; longer flight period elsewhere.
Farmer Skipper Ochlodes agricola April to July grass California buckeye, coyote mint
Field Skipper Atalopedes campestris April to November grass bull thistle
Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus April to November grass mustards (sinapis and brassica)
Funereal Duskywing Erynnis funeralis  Reported sighting June 24, 2016 on the south side of the Mary Bowerman Trail in the chaparrell section. Reported sighting on March 27, 2015, in Mitchell Canyon. 
Gold-Hunter's Hairstreak Satyrium auretorum May to June oak California buckeye
Gorgon Copper Lycaena gorgon April to July buckwheat Oregon sunshine, sulphur buckwheat, gum plant
Gray Hairstreak Satyrium tetra June to July mountain mahogany horehound
Great Blue Hairstreak Atlides halesus estesi March to October mistletoe toyon
Great Copper Lycaena xanthoides May to July dock California buckeye, gum plant
Gulf Fritillary Agraulis vanillae incarnata August to November passion vine California buckeye, bull thistle Does not survive winter; re-invades from South and West.
Hairy Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor hirsuta April to October pipevine California buckeye Not resident except possibly in Pine Canyon; strays from North and West.
Hedgerow Hairstreak Satyrium saepium May to August California lilac
John Muir's Hairstreak Mitoura muiri April to June juniper Oregon sunshine, interior redberry, narrow-leaved goldenbush
Juba Skipper Hesperia juba September   grass Non-resident. 
Lanceolate Marble Anthocaris lanceolata May rock cress No record for over 50 years.
Large Checkered Skipper Heliopetes ericetorum April to October white-coat mallow
Large Marble Euchloe ausonides February to June mustard family chia
Leanira Checkerspot Thessalia leanira May to June Indian paintbrush narrow-leaved goldenbush
Lindsey's Skipper Hesperia lindseyi May to July bunchgrass coyote mint, mustards (sinapis and brassica)
Lorquin's Admiral Limenitis lorquini April to October willow 
Luesther Checkerspot Euphydryas editha luesthefae March to June Indian warrior, plantain, iodine collinsia
Marine Blue Leptotes marina September to October legumes Clayton only; not resident; no records for 20 years.
Monarch Danaus plexippus February to November milkweed  California buckeye, bull thistle Overwinters on California coast.
Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo July to September buckwheat
Mount Diablo Elfin Incisalia mossii March to April stonecrop Unnamed subspecies endemic to Mount Diablo.
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa All year willow, cottonwood, elm
Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta February to December thistle
Northern Checkerspot Chlosyne palla March to July aster tribe California buckeye
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui February to December thistle, lupine Italian thistle Migrates north in spring, south in fall.
Pale Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon March to August coffeeberry, California lilac California buckeye
Pardalis Blue Plebejus icarioides pardalis April to June lupine
Propertius Duskywing Skipper Erynnis propertius February to July oak
Purplish Copper Lycaena helloides June to October dock Clayton only.  
Pygmy Blue Brephidium exile June to November pigweed Possibly not resident; re-invades from lowlands.
Queen Danaus gilippus July milkweed family Clayton only. Not resident.
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta All year nettle Mount Diablo manzanita, Contra Costa manzanita
Sad Duskywing Skipper Erynis tristis March to October oak
Sandhill Skipper Polites sabuleti April to October grass Clayton only.
Sara Orangetip Anthocaris sara February to June mustard family winter cress
Satyr Anglewing Polygonia satyrus All year nettle
Silver Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus incognitus March to May lupine, other legumes
Small-Veined White Pieris napi microstriata February to June milkmaids, wintercress
Tailed Copper Lycaena arota June to August gooseberry mustards (sinapis and brassica)
Thicket Hairstreak Loranthomitoura spinetorum February to September pine dwarf mistletoe
Two-Tailed Swallowtail Papilio multicaudatus March to September choke cherry, ash, hop tree California buckeye, bull thistle, cobweb thistle
Umber Skipper Poanes melane April to November grass California buckeye, bull thistle
Virginia Lady Vanessa virginiensis March to November everlasting
West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella All year mallow
Western Brown Elfin Incisalia augustinus iroides March to July dodder, soap plant, California lilac, yerba santa Oregon sunshine, Diablo helianthella, horehound
Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilo rutulus March to September willow, cottonwood, sycamore, elm California buckeye, bull thistle
Woodland Satyr Cercyonis sthenele silvestris May to September grass
Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides July to October grass yellow star-thistle
Wright's Duskywing Skipper Erynnis brizo lacustra April to May leather oak No records for 30 years.