• alpine;
  • host plants;
  • population growth;
  • tree-line;
  • weather

Abstract  Climate change is occurring and insects are responding. Current challenges for ecologists and managers are predicting how organisms will respond to continuing climate change and determining how to mitigate potential negative effects. In contrast to broad scale predictions for climate change involving the distribution of species, in this article we highlight the many ways in which local populations of the Rocky Mountain Apollo butterfly (Parnassius smintheus Doubleday) are predicted to respond to climate change. Using experimental and observational data collected over the past 15 years, we detail both direct and indirect effects. In addition, we identify limitations in our knowledge restricting the ability to predict how populations will respond to climate change. Some changes, such as warmer winter temperatures, may have beneficial effects; however, most of the effects of climate change will be detrimental. Variability in snow cover during the overwintering period and habitat loss due to forest encroachment have the largest potential negative effects.