Tuesday, May 13, 2014

lupine blue ~ 05/13/14 ~ Pinnacles

I told Art Shapiro about this day's visit, "Blues are numerous at Pinnacles with swirly flights of flirting and cooling fluttering clouds under shady rocks.  I love it.  I only wish I could tell them all apart.  Ha!"  This beautiful little blue butterfly has caused me so much headache you wouldn't believe.  No one seems to agree.  There are many variations of lupine blues depending on region, and there's also the look-alike acmon blue (Plebejus acmon) with a blue-colored early spring form female.  Who knew, all this time I've had a hard time figuring them out, and the experts also have a hard time figuring them out.

I didn't know I caught one laying eggs in a series of several photos until I got home and looked at my pictures.  I was so concerned with quickly sticking the little camera over there to hopefully, maybe, catch a decent picture that I wasn't actually watching what the butterfly was doing.  And, I'm paying attention to the difference between the two var. of CA buckwheat found at Pinnacles.  The one shown above could potentially be polifolium, the fuzzier one.

With Paul Johnson's encouragement, this is the butterfly that has changed my mind about collecting for research.  I wanted to make sure any collecting I do would not be merely self-indulgent.  I am not a hobbyist butterfly collector.  However, I believe collecting in this case is worth the contribution to our understanding of these fascinating little blue butterflies.  I will be applying for a collecting permit, and the specimens and associated plant data are tentatively earmarked for the Pinnacles National Park collection.