Apodemia mormo nr tuolumnensis

Mormon Metalmark

This metalmark ranges from Santa Barbara Co. to the area northeast of Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino Co. and flies only in the fall. The single brood is on the wing late August to late September and overwinters as an egg. Host buckwheats in the San Bernardino Mts. are Eriogonum fasciculatum and E. wrightii, and possibly E. kennedyi as well. I've seen this one while hiking along the PCT east of Van Dusen Road in patches of E. fasciculatum. I had my suspicions this was something other than virgulti, and now I've been able to confirm that with John Emmel, who has taught me all I know about this butterfly.

This is about as far east as this butterfly ranges. In the Sugarloaf Mountain/Onyx Peak area to the southeast, we have the very dark "nr. mormo" on wrightii. Between the two is a large blend zone.

Apodemia virgulti or dialeuca peninsularis - Peninsular Metalmark
Apodemia mormo nr tuolumnensis from the Holcolm Valley area of the San Bernardino Mountains. September 6, 2007. This one looks very much like the topotype of tuolumnensis from Hetch Hetchy.
Apodemia virgulti or dialeuca peninsularis - Peninsular Metalmark
A different one, on the same hike.
Apodemia virgulti or dialeuca peninsularis - Peninsular Metalmark
This one is from the same spot, but on August 23, 2005. This phenotype - a male? - has the larger white macules as seen in the mormo to the southeast. There is a blend zone - not a bright line - between these populations.

 

©Dennis Walker