butterfly photo

The Latest

bullet pointJuly 17, 2019 - Took an overnight getaway to the Sherman Pass area. Alder Creek (6800') and Bald Mountain were the best places lep-wise. Meadows and roadsides were lush, but pretty much butterfly-free, which seemed strange, especially with such nice weather. I was happy to photograph the dark female Chlosyne palla I've long wanted to see. And Papilio indra phyllisae was flying at Bald Mountain and I was able to get close to the freshest one.

bullet pointJuly 13, 2019 - A Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) in my backyard garden this morning was fresh enough to photograph, so I did. I've been out and about as well and have a few things to share. One is an interesting aberrant nominate Euphydryas chaledona I happened across in one of a series of hikes to Santa Anita Canyon dedicated to looking for female nubila as mentioned below. The same location also yielded a Painted Lady caterpillar different from the one I already had here, so I added it. A hike along the McGill Trail at Mt. Piños led me to a beatiful male "Chlorina" Lupine Blue. That was a good day; earlier I saw many Veined Blues at the summit (scroll down), and that was after a stop at Lake of the Woods where Blue Coppers were flying.

bullet pointJune 26, 2019 - I was able to find a couple of male Lycaena arota nubila - the 'Cloudy' Tailed Copper - in the San Gabriels above Chantry Flats. A search specifically for females the next day didn't turn any up, though the road/trail I was on was swarming with butterflies generally. Nubila is a new addition to the site, the first new taxon in a while. By my current reckoning, that's 198 out of 256 taxa; the last few dozen are not going to be easy and I expect to be doing this for many more years, which is good. A few of the 256 (that number is somewhat arbitrary) are almost certainly extinct, so I may have to add some specimen photos at some point. I've added a nice female Bernardino Blue from the same area because I liked the wing colors so much.

bullet pointJune 26, 2019 - I was able to find a couple of male Lycaena arota nubila - the 'Cloudy' Tailed Copper - in the San Gabriels above Chantry Flats. A search specifically for females the next day didn't turn any up, though the road/trail I was on was swarming with butterflies generally. Nubila is a new addition to the site, the first new taxon in a while. By my current reckoning, that's 198 out of 256 taxa; the last few dozen are not going to be easy and I expect to be doing this for many more years, which is good. A few of the 256 (that number is somewhat arbitrary) are almost certainly extinct, so I may have to add some specimen photos at some point. I've added a nice female Bernardino Blue from the same area because I liked the wing colors so much.

bullet pointJune 19, 2019 - Decided to try the mountains on a beautiful Wednesday. Headed to Sunset Peak, mainly to see if I could get another photograph of an Indra Swallowtail. I did, but it was worn and not worth posting. But this Clemence's Blue female is typical of the beautiful blues flying here. Earlier in June I checked out a large patch of Eriogonum inflatum at a roadside pullout along Hwy. 74 in Palm Desert that I'd noticed in years past. I was happy to find not only a healthy population of Desert Metalmarks, but a Wright's Metalmark as well (the latter on Sweetbush).

bullet pointApril 22, 2019 - Cactus Spring Trail has been strangely slow for many species, but things seem to be picking up, and today was the best day there for the year (fifth visit so far). I have some catching up to do, but for now here's a Becker's White caterpillar I happened to find. That's the only new thing for this site, though I do have some nice photos among the thousand or so I've taken there lately. Behr's metalmarks are now flying (they weren't last weekend). Some butterflies (such as several whites) are having a great year, while other species are noticably absent or nearly so. For instance, among desirable species, I've seen one Sonoran Blue, no Desert Black Swallowtails, no Loki, no Small Checkered Skippers. Juba and albescens are now out. Hennei and N. californica fading fast.

bullet pointMarch 1, 2019 - Headed out to Cactus Spring Trail as things have finally begun to warm up there. The plants are generally in their winter sleep, as are most butterflies, but I was kept company by a few species. Painted Ladies are in a dispersal, so they are everywhere, but they were rivalled at times by surpringly common California Tortoiseshells. The first male Sara Orangetips have also emerged, as had a single Euphydryas chalcedona hennei. The creeks are flowing, and there is snow on the mountains; things will be hopping there in a month or so.

bullet pointJanuary 12, 2019 - Lots of rain has me encouraged that the coming year will be far better than was 2018. The few hikes I did last year were in depressingly dry landscapes, and I basically wrote the year off early on and indulged in other things. But this year will certainly be better, and I hope to make the most of it. I hope you do too.

Introduction

Nearly all these photographs of butterflies and their host plants were taken either in my garden, the local park, or (most often) in wild areas within a few hours of my home in Long Beach, California. Butterflies are a life-long interest of mine, and I started photographing them seriously beginning in the summer of 2005. I've listed on six pages - one for each family represented locally - all the butterflies in my area (to subspecies level) and their larval host plants, with links to pages I've created for each butterfly. Some of these are rarely seen and a few are even endangered species, and thus a challenge to find and photograph, but I've included them on the list if they fly in this region. In fact, the challenging butterflies are often the most interesting. There are, of course, various difficulties with creating a comprehensive list to subspecies level, and so it tends to evolve as I learn more or with taxonomic changes.

In my garden I may see fifteen or so different species in a typical year (I've seen twenty-five species there over the years). But by day-tripping to various places no more than a few hours' drive from my house, I can multiply this number many times over. In fact, there are 255 taxa that I've listed for our area (this number has grown with the addition of more Kern County butterflies). The lists on this site are all of these butterflies - those I'd like to photograph that are in my area or a 'reasonable' drive from where I live. My goal is eventually to see and photograph them all (I have 199 as of July 2019), as well as their host plants. Some that are very rare or only occasionally stray into our area are common in Arizona, and I've included a few photographs from there.

Southern California is an incredibly diverse place to explore and enjoy the natural world. Mountain forests, beaches, wetlands, grasslands, deserts, meadows, even islands - all are within easy reach with their various lepidopterous inhabitants. I've learned to appreciate these places, and I hope my photographs help convey some of the richness of our native flora and fauna.

Feel free to e-mail me: denbugg @t hotmail dot com.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to everyone for all the help and encouragement I've received over the years. Special thanks to John F. Emmel, Jim Brock, Ken Davenport, Bill Gendron, Gordon Pratt, Fred Heath, Koji Shiraiwa, John Pasko, Chris Henzlik, Mark Walker, David Horner and Andrew Kim for particularly valuable help with identifications, locations, suggestions, etc.

Since April 2007.

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