Thursday, November 3, 2011

Molino Basin Goodies – Poling's Giant-Skipper

Inspired by a lovely blog post by my friend Margarethe Brummerman – and then fortuitously invited by my friend Mary Klinkel – I went up to Molino Basin for a short morning this past week. I joined Mary, Karen Nickey and Elizabeth Willott primarily for a search of Poling's Giant-Skipper, a very local species that needs large stands of Schott's Agave and exists in the adult phase of its lifecycle only this time of year.

In the end, I finally had success with the skipper, a first for me. It really helped to have Mary lead us to an area where she had seen them before and especially explain to us where they like to perch, how they fly, etc. This one was territorial on exposed granite boulders.

Even with just that one species, it was a spectacularly successful morning, but we saw lots of stuff – most of which I finally have names for:

The buprestid beetle Acmaeodera solitaria

Giant Agave Bugs, Acanthocephala thomasi, feeding on the sap from Agave schottii flower stalks

Gray Bird Grasshopper, Schistocerca nitens

Snakeweed Grasshopper, Hesperotettix viridis

Great Spreadwing, Archilestes grandis

Unknown robberfly, genus Efferia

Mating robberflies, Promachus atrox. Notice that the female is feeding.

caterpillar of the White-lined Sphinx, Hyles lineata, feeding on buckwheat

unknown caterpillar in the genus Cucullia, feeding on either Aster or Erigeron...this is possibly C. postera, since that species is known to feed on Aster.

Western Pygmy-Blue, Brephidium exilis

Mormon Metalmark (or "Sonoran Metalmark"), Apodemia mormo

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