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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Giant Swallowtail?
Location: Fullerton (Orange County) CA
July 31, 2014 8:20 am
Hello;
Here is a better photo of our overnight visitor. It landed on the night blooming jasmine at dusk yesterday and settled in for the night. To my surprise it is still there as of 8 a.m. It is quite large, at about 4″ across, warm black with striking yellow markings. When viewing from the kitchen window slightly above, there is a thin edge of yellow showing on the ‘shoulders’ so that it presents as a heart. It’s beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful website.
Signature: Likes Bugs

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Dear Likes Bugs,
You are correct that this is a Giant Swallowtail, a relatively recent resident of Southern California.  The Giant Swallowtail is native to the eastern portion of North America, but the caterpillars, known as Orange Dogs, adapted to feeding on the leaves of orange and other citrus trees, and as the cultivation of citrus spread west, the range of the Giant Swallowtail followed.  We believe they first appeared in Los Angeles in the 1990s.  According to the Los Angeles Times:  “The giant swallowtail butterfly,
Heraclides (Papilio) cresphontes, is native to the Southeast. Since the 1960s, populations have spread west following a corridor of suburban development and the species’ favorite larval food source — citrus — through Arizona, into the Imperial Valley, then San Diego and north to Orange and Los Angeles counties. They’ve been sighted as far north as Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.  Numbers have surged since 2000, says Jess Morton, president of the Palos Verdes-South Bay chapter of the Audubon Society. Members have held a butterfly count at the same location, on the first Sunday in July, every year since 1991. According to their records, a single giant swallowtail was first seen in the South Bay in 2000. They counted 23 in 2007.”  According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects:  “Ranges throughout most of the east;  more limited distribution in the southwest, but has expanded into the Los Angeles basin within the past 20 years.”

Thank you so much Daniel. We have two tangerine trees, a lemon, a grapefruit, a valencia orange, and two washington navel oranges on our 8,500 sf lot. So yes, there is lots of citrus here for the larvae.
I found it so interesting that it settled on the leaves, spread it’s wings and went to sleep. It took off when the sun hit it at about 9a this morning. It is the first of that kind I’ve seen here (northern inland hilly Orange County – warmer than the coast.)
The Monarchs on the other hand, are plentiful. We have many milkweed plants for them and they put on a show – photo attached.
Thank you again for your help!
Nancy Rennie

Monarch

Monarch

Hi again Nancy,
It is our observation that Monarchs seem more plentiful this year than they have in recent years.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Monarch Butterfly
Location:  Kings Canyon, California
July 30, 2014
hi, what’s that bug? i know you have many photos of this butterfly, but how do i tell if this is a male or female? photo taken in king’s canyon national park on july 17th, 2014. thanks! clare.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Hi Clare,
This is a female Monarch, and she can be distinguished from the male Monarch by the lack of a “scent patch” on the hind wings of the female.  According to BugGuide:  “Males have scent-scale patches on hindwings, prominent when wings are open, and just possible to see when wings are folded.”  In this image of mating Monarchs, the male is the lower butterfly with the open wings.  Though we have been hearing and reading many accounts of the drop in populations of Monarch butterflies in recent years, probably due to habitat loss, but also rumored to be connected to GMO corn pollen (not substantiated), we have been noticing numerous migrating Monarchs in Mount Washington in recent weeks.  Perhaps this is connected to the cultivation of milkweed in eco-friendly gardens, perhaps the migration patterns are changing, or perhaps we have just been more observant.  When we cropped your image, we removed an out of focus Greater Fritillary on the right to concentrate more on the Monarch, but it seems your meadow made butterfly viewing quite a marvelous experience.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly
Location:  Kings Canyon National Park, California
July 30, 2014
hi again, what’s that bug?
this butterfly confuses me – is is a checkerspot or fritillary?
king’s canyon national park on july 17th, 2014.
thanks very much,
clare, los angeles

Greater Fritillary

Greater Fritillary

Hi Clare,
This is a Greater Fritillary in the genus
Speyeria, and the Greater Fritillaries are larger than the Checkerspots.  Greater Fritillaries also have silver spots on the ventral surface of the underwings, which one of your images nicely illustrates.  See BugGuide for images of the many North American Greater Fritillaries, which we have a very difficult time distinguishing from one another.  According to BugGuide:  “This distinctive genus is unlikely to be confused with any other in North America. These are medium to large sized, broad-winged butterflies (most are over 2 inches in wing span, all at least nearly this large, and many species are much larger). Most have a distinctive pattern of black dashes and spots above and with rounded or oval (usually silvered) pale spots below, particularly on the hind wing. There are a few species which diverge from the usual orange ground color, and several in which light spots below may be unsilvered. In S. dianathe pattern and coloring are highly modified, but this species is so very distinctive as to be recognizable at a glance. … Checkerspots can be confused with Fritillaries too (and are also called ‘Fritillaries’ by the British), but they are also much smaller than Speyeria, and the pattern below is always distinctly different (see photos under tribe Melitaeini). The upper side does not have a row of rounded spots near the outer edge of both the front and hind wings as do the ‘true’ Fritillaries.”  Two species found in Southern California according to the Butterflies Through Binoculars The West by Jeffrey Glassberg are the Coronis Fritillary, Speyeria coronis [See BugGuide] and the Callippe Fritillary, Speyeria callippe [see BugGuide].

Greater Fritillary

Greater Fritillary

thanks, daniel. i did look online – but wanted to know:
so, it could be the coronis or calliope? would this apply to the west side of the sierra nevada, too? (kings canyon nat’l park).
c.

Based on the range maps in Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, those are the two possible Fritillaries in Southern California.  Sadly, BugGuide does not have true range maps, and sightings cause the entire state to be colored, as in the case of S. coronis and S. calliopeOther California species are found in Northern California.  According to BugGuide information for all species in the genus:  “Caterpillar food plants are Violets, Viola species.”  Violet are relatively common in the eastern portion of the country, hence the greater Fritillary diversity there.  How many native violets are found in Southern California?  Without violets, you will not have Fritillaries.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly ID
Grant’s Grove, Kings Canyon National Park, California
July 30, 2014
hi what’s that bug?
this butterfly was seen along the “stump trail” area of grant’s grove, in king’s canyon national park CA, on july 14, 2014.
is it a california sister or a lorquin’s admiral? and what is the difference?
thank you,
clare

Lorquin's Admiral

Lorquin’s Admiral

Hi Clare,
This is a perfectly timed submission as we just posted a closed-winged view of what we believe to be a Lorquin’s Admiral, but since we could not see a dorsal view, we can’t be certain.  This is most certainly a Lorquin’s Admiral, and it is wonderful to get two views of the same individual.  According to Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, on the Lorquin’s Admiral:  “FW [forewing] apex has a linear orange patch that reaches the outer margin.”  The same source states of the California Sister:  “FW apex has a large round orange patch that doesn’t reach the outer margin.”  That said, the same source indicates the two species look very similar, but the Lorquin’s Admiral is usually associated with willows and poplars, especially near streams while the California Sister is generally associated with oak woodlands.

Lorquin's Admiral

Lorquin’s Admiral

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Butterfly – Ashland, OR
Location: Siskiyou Mtns. – Ashland
July 28, 2014 9:49 pm
My friend has claimed this as a Lorquin’s admiral. Is it?
Signature: TerryDarc

Which Admiral is it???

Which Admiral is it???

Dear TerryDarc,
We wish you had access to a dorsal view as the orange-brown wingtips on the Lorquin’s Admiral are absent in other Admirals.  This is most definitely an Admiral in the genus
Limenitis, and there is a good chance that it is a Lorquin’s Admiral, but we have some other possibilities.  There is a strong resemblance to the Lorquin’s Admiral posted to BugGuide, but there is also a resemblance to this Weidemeyer’s Admiral posted to BugGuide.  It might also be an interspecies hybrid or other aberration as the genus has many examples represented on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Lorquin’s Admiral has brown wing tips, above and is much more brown on the underside. Its range encompasses the west coast.”  If we limit our response to our top choice, based on your location and the brownish coloration, we have to go with Lorquin’s Admiral.

Thanks, Daniel!
It didn’t look quite right for a Lorquin’s. Hybrid is a good possibility. Sorry but that’s the only pic we’ve got.
-Terry

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Queen
Location:  Riverside County, California
July 25, 2014 5:48 PM
dear what’s that bug?
i believe this to be a queen butterfly on a desert willow flower.
is this correct?
this was taken in riverside county, california.
thanks, clare.

Queen

Queen

Dear Clare,
Your butterfly is certainly a Queen, but we are not so sure about the desert willow.  In our memory, willow has flowers that are catkins, like pussy willows.  Unless desert willow is not a true willow, we do not believe the Queen is nectaring from a desert willow.  That stated, we decided to research and we learned at Las Pilitas Nursery website that Desert Willow,
Chilopsis linearis, is a native plant, but it does not provide the family name.  According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:  “Named for its resemblance to willows, this popular ornamental tree is actually related to catalpa trees, Yellowbells (Tecoma stans), and Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans).”  The flower does remind us of catalpa flowers, which we grew up calling “Cigar Trees.”  According to the US Forest Service site:  “It is a member of the Bignoniaceae family, and is most closely related to the genus Catalpha Scop.”

thanks, daniel.
this is one of the problems with common names.
this tree was observed in its natural environment, some miles up the mountains at whitewater.
it is a chilopsis linearis and, yes, it is a member of the bignoniaceae family. it could be ssp arcuata.
the “chitalpa” is a cross between desert willow (chilopsis linearis) and the southern catalpa, which is the ornamental people call “desert willow”, which we see on the streets of los angeles.
c.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination