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Monday, July 23, 2012

Lepidopteran Happenings

Other than anise swallowtails, butterfly doings around the estate have included a few newcomers and most of the usual suspects with frequent flyovers by giant swallowtails.  The one pictured here lingered unusually long at these lantana flowers; even allowing me to get close in.  Typically papilio cresphontes is a nervous flighty feeder, stopping just briefly at a flower and never letting its wings lie still.

On the neighbor's encelia californica I saw this small brown butterfly; believe it to be Calephelis nemesis, the fatal metalmark.  Got to love both of those names.  Anyway, the encelia is a larval food plant for this one and since both the neighbor and I have got some growing now, maybe this little one will be a more common sight.  I hope so.

I noticed this unusually dark skipper flitting around the back garden, and once it finally set still for a moment and I could get 1/2 a photo, I was able to compare to IDs online and I figure it must be Umber skipper, Poanes melane.  The species is unique to California according to bugguide.  And, no one knows it seems what grass species the larvae of this butterfly feed on.

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