Subject: Spreading Wings on a Warm Spring Day
Geographic location of the bug: Mulholland Gate, California
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
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.