Abaeis mexicana mexicana

Mexican Yellow

In California, this is not an easy butterfly to find. But it does turn up as a stray at times, particularly later in the year. Opler (Western Butterflies) has Acaciella angustissima and Diphysa as the hosts (neither are native to California); older books tend not to be helpful in that regard (e.g. listing Senna as a host, which is apparently incorrect). Ken Davenport (Emmel Update, p.46) says "this species appears to be showing up in southern California much less frequently in recent years, probably related to long-term drought." I've photographed it just three times: once in Big Bear, and twice in Arizona. The "tail" distinguishes it from the similar sleepy orange, Abaeis nicippe, as does the "dogface" pattern, if you can see it.

This butterfly was moved from genus Eurema to Abaeis recently as part of a large study using genome-scale phylogenetic trees.

Mexican Yellow - Abaeis mexicana
A Mexican yellow on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. October 23, 2005.
Mexican Yellow - Abaeis mexicana
This one was resting in the early morning as I started up Mt. Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. September 26, 2007.

©Dennis Walker