Callophrys fotis mojavensis

Desert Elfin

Callophrys fotis mojavensis was named by George Austin from the Spring Mountains in Nevada (in the 1998 Systematics tome). It's a butterfly with a brief flight in parts of Nevada and into California in the Mojave desert ranges. The host is Purshia stansburyana (formerly mexicana), antelope brush. I found it in the Mojave National Preserve. Another place to search for it - so I hear - is Cottonwood Pass in Nevada north of Goodsprings, approximately 3 miles south of the 160. I found that road too rough for my car and I didn't get past a mile and a half. For non-collectors, Teutonia Peak Trail is off a good paved road with trailhead parking. It may take a few tries to find and photograph it - timing is crucial, and varies based on elevation as well as the usual considerations like rainfall. In Butterflies of Southern California (1973), the Emmels had the Providence, New York, Clark, Kingston, and Panamint mountains as the range for this butterfly in California.

Desert Elfin - Callophrys fotis mojavensis
I happened upon a few Callophrys fotis mojavensis in the vicinity of the antelope brush that's common on the Teutonia Peak Trail in the Mojave National Preserve near Cima Dome. After some frustrating misses, one finally cooperated. April 28, 2020.
Desert Elfin - Callophrys fotis mojavensis
Same one, different side. I had other locations in mind to search for this species, so it was great to see it on a trail I'm beginning to love. This was a good day. I was in the same place in mid-April and saw none.

©Dennis Walker