Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Mallow Scrub-Haistreak in the Yard

This has been an amazing spring for butterflies in SE Arizona, almost certainly a results of having the second warmest winter on record coupled with relatively good rains, all following the warmest winter on record as well as a decent monsoon.

Just in my suburban Tucson yard, which isn’t landscaped at all for butterflies (with the exception of just not pulling native weeds they might like), numbers and diversity are quite astonishing. White Checkered-Skipper is one of the more usual species in the yard.

Most exciting, during the few days I had between my Jamaica and Costa Rica tours, was this Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak. I had been reading about all of the reports from last fall, many lingering into December, and a couple even found on the Santa Catalina Mountains Butterfly Count on March 29. But I had still never seen this rarity in Arizona, let alone in my own yard.

But the dominating bug, to this day, is Texan Crescent. I think I saw one or two in the past 15 years, and at this very moment there are at least 8 in the yard, each patrolling its own territory.

Not a butterfly, but a moth at my reading lamp the other night was this Chloraspilates bicoloraria. There’s nothing quite like it with those contrastingly brown hind wings, but the green color would have you looking among the emeralds of the subfamily Geometrinae; however, this trickster belongs to the huge (750+ species in North American) subfamily Ennominae.

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