Apodemia mormo cythera from Big Rock Creek, which is below and to the north of Mt Islip. Note the extensive yellow on the hindwing. July 29, 2009.
Apodemia mormo cythera - Cythera Mormon Metalmark
A ventral of Apodemia mormo cythera from Big Rock Creek. July 29, 2009.
I revisited Big Rock Creek on August 17, 2010 and again found Apodemia mormo cythera in good numbers on the rabbitbrush. For those used to seeing the very common, widespread virgulti or the dark varieties of mormo, seeing these much more golden yellow cythera from this location should be a treat. When fresh, they really are striking.
Apodemia mormo cythera - Cythera Mormon Metalmark
Another ventral, same day as above. These single-brooded butterflies are easily found in late summer and/or early fall up Big Rock Creek Road where Rabbitbrush is blooming. The host, California Buckwheat, will be nearby but past its bloom, and the butterflies will be on these yellow flowers nectaring. The caterpillars will do their feeding next year in the early summer when the buckwheat flowers are in bloom.

©Dennis Walker