Subject: Great Basin Wood Nymph and Tarantula Hawk sighting
Geographic location of the bug: Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, California
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.
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.