Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"

Subject:  Monarch Emerges from Chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/09/2021
Time: 8:51 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Last week Daniel informed you that while hiking in Elyria Canyon Park as post-operative knee therapy, he found a Monarch Chrysalis and Caterpillar on native Aesclepias eriocarpa.  Every day or two Daniel had been hiking back to check out the progress and yesterday the chrysalis appeared noticeably darker.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 10

Then this morning at 7:45 AM, the much awaited moment of translucence and the pattern of the wings showing through the exoskeleton.  Daniel sat on the bench to text the images to a few folk and then he laid down in the shade and listened to the birds, and an hour later, he realized that though he had missed the actual eclosion, he was still able to experience the mystery of metamorphosis and to view the helplessness of the newly transformed adult Monarch whose wings had not yet hardened and it was not yet able to fly.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 11

Despite missing the actual eclosion, Daniel was still witness to the hatchling testing out its strange new proboscis and auxiliary mouthparts.

Eclosion one hour later

Daniel writes:  “This new imago, though helpless, was adapting to its new vision thanks to the transformation of the visual sensation through complex compound eyes.  For about a half an hour I watched the adult Monarch feeling the breeze and testing the use of its new muscles in preparation for its maiden flight.  When I got close to take an image it was obvious the creature sensed me and potential threat because it appeared to quiver and to cower.  Not wanting my presence to interfere in the success of the transformation, I left thinking I might check up on it later in the afternoon, and to collect the remains of the exuvia.  I did note that there were no blossoms on the milkweeds in the patch.  All the blossoms seem to have withered and I pondered how much more successful a first flight would be after a first meal of milkweed nectar.  As I started my hike this morning, on my way into the canyon I watched an adult Monarch taking nectar from the blossoms of a patch of geraniums, but I reacted too slowly to get an image with the magicphone.”

Close-up of newly eclosed Monarch

 

Subject:  Great Basin Wood Nymph and Tarantula Hawk sighting
Geographic location of the bug: Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, California
Date: 07/03/2021
Time: 9:42 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Daniel was excited to try out a new hydration pack on his hike with Sharon today, and while near the lowest part of the hike, just above Mandeville Canyon, he spotted a small lepidopteran, suspected a Funereal Duskywing and was pleasantly surprised to quickly discover it was a Satyr or Nymph, but when it landed, it vanished, avoiding Daniel’s perception despite him knowing the exact 4 square inch plot of ground it had landed on before vanishing perfectly camouflaged among the fallen leaves.  After about a minute and a half, Daniel espied it and got this image of what he believes to be a Great Basin Wood Nymph, which is pictured on both the Natural History of Orange County and BugGuide.

Great Basin Wood Nymph

According to BugGuide:  “Above, wings are brown. Below, female has two large eyespots on the forewing, male has two smaller ones”  indicating this is a female.  After Daniel got this image and a few more from further distances, he decided he had snuck up close enough to have to startled the butterfly into flight, and once he verified the image was of acceptable quality, he moved in for a closer shot, but could no longer spot the elusive Nymph who had changed her position slightly enough to once again avoid Daniel’s detection.

Earlier in the morning, Daniel is positive he saw an all black Tarantula Hawk near the blooming narrow leaf milkweed that was likely either Pepsis grossa or Pepsis mexicana.  It seemed pretty huge to, so we are guessing the former based on Eric Eaton’s comments on this prior posting. 

 

 

Subject:  Solitary Bee and Gray Hairstreak
Geographic location of the bug: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/26/2021
Time: 11:01 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
There are numerous native Bees visiting blossoms in Daniel’s garden right now, and he does have difficulty with some species identifications.  This pollen-laden Solitary Bee was being very elusive, flying away when Daniel aimed his magicphone and attempted to move in for a closeup.  Most of the images are blurry.  When a Gray Hairstreak appeared and Daniel turned his attention to the Gossamer Wing, the Solitary Bee decided to ZOOM bomb the photo.  The Bee may be
Anthophorula albicans which is pictured on BugGuide and the Natural History of Orange County.

Solitary Bee and Gray Hairstreak

 

Subject:  Spreading Wings on a Warm Spring Day
Geographic location of the bug:  Mulholland Gate, California
Date: 04/24/2021
Time: 10:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Dear Bugman,
While hiking in the Santa Monica mountains, I spotted this winged beauty. April 24, 2021
I also spotted two other winged creatures on flowers, there were several in the area and strangely didn’t seem to be alive.
How you want your letter signed :  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Chalcedon Checkerspot

Dear Melanie,
We immediately recognized your lovely butterfly as one of the Checker-Spots and turning to Charles Hogue’s
Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, we identified your individual as a Chalcedon Checker-Spot, Euphydryas chaldecona, and Hogue specifies:  “Though rarely seen in the basin’s flatlands, this species may be quite abundant in the surrounding foothills, visiting flowers in the spring and early summer” and later of the preferred caterpillar food plants “locally they are particularly fond of Sticky Monkey Flower (Diplacus longiflorus), a common native shrub of the coastal sage plant community.”  It is pictured on Butterflies and Moths of North America and on BugGuide and well as here on BugGuide where it it is recognized as a subspecies, Euphydryas chalcedona chalcedona, and where it states on the BugGuide info page that the range is:  “Primarily relatively near the Pacific Coast, west of desert areas, in areas of broken terrain, from northern British Columbia to northern Baja California Norte. Inland in mountains of eastern Oregon and Washington, across northern Idaho and just into extreme western Montana. Also inland in desert mountains across the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of southern California and Nevada into southern Arizona and perhaps northwestern Sonora.”  It may have appeared “not alive” because it was seen earlier in the day and it had not yet warmed enough so that it might fly.  We cannot conclusinvely identify your images of the Solitary Bee and Wasp.

Subject:  Mourning Cloak not yet awake in the morning
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 04/15/2021
Time: 06:55 AM PDT
Daniel had to leave early this morning for an MRI and he noticed a dark shape near the curb under a wisteria that is dropping dried blossoms.  Closer inspection revealed a Mourning Cloak that spent the night on the ground and because the sun hadn’t yet hit it, it was still quite lethargic.  Daniel has been seeing Mourning Cloaks flying for several weeks now.

Mourning Cloak

Subject:  Butterfly ID please
Geographic location of the bug:  Iguazu Fall, Nissiones province, Argentina
Date: 04/14/2021
Time: 10:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could you ID this butterfly please. Photo taken on Feb.28. 2020 at Iguazu Falls, Argentina
How you want your letter signed:  Vlad Morozov

Small Eyed Sailor

Dear Vlad,
This pretty little butterfly is
Dynamine artemisia, commonly called a Small Eyed Sailor, and we found it on the Fauna Paraguay site where it states:  “Like all Dynamine this species is most easily identified by its underwing pattern which show the “sideways spectacles” of most other “blue sailors” but diagnostically lack the obvious “eyespots” present in other species. It is closest to Dynamine aerata and males are only reliably distinguished by the presence of clear dark eyespots in the “sideways spectacles”. Dynamine postverta has the most marked “eyespots” of all on the ventral hindwing, whilst males are easily distinguished by the presence of large black spots on the forewing. Female postverta has numerous large white spots on the forewing (5 in this species) and three thin white bands across the hindwing (two broad bands in this species). Dynamine tithiais the most distinctive of the “blue sailors” having an underwing pattern that is mostly white and more reminiscent of the “white sailors”. Males of that species are a much deeper blue in colour and have a diagonal row of three large whitish postmedial spots and two small white apical spots surrounded by black on the forewing.”  Here is another image from FlickR.

Thank you very much Daniel.
The whole week I was digging net for results without success