Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gorgon copper ~ 06/05/14 ~ Chews Ridge

They're all look-alikes!  Heavy sigh.  At first, I confused the female Boisduval's blue with the Gorgon copper with that split orange couplet dotting towards the butt when their wings are held at rest above their body.  Now that I'm looking at this picture, there's a definite chalky white that I've also noticed in the great copper and is totally absent in all the blues I've seen so far.  Also, I think I might get the topside female with its golden-hued window panes mixed up with the similarly looking tailed-copper.  I have yet to get a good look at females topside in-person, because I didn't bother this one too much except to take its picture.  She looks heavy with eggs and lots of fat.  In flight, the boys flash a beautiful alternating leathery brown with white, only a couple feet off the ground.  They're quite distinctive.

Boisduval's blue ~ 06/05/14 ~ Chews Ridge

Now, here's a butterfly with a fancy French name!  Jean Baptiste Boisduval was a famous lepidopterist, among other things, and I often see his name associated with the naming of numerous butterflies.  Chris Tenney introduced me to Boisduval's on my first ever visit to Chews Ridge back April 17, 2014.  It looked so similar to the silvery blue I saw the previous week on April 8 at Pinnacles, that I spent some time really comparing the two and even consulting with Art Shapiro.  I have netted pics of a couple extremely worn Boisduval's from a May 2 visit to Chews Ridge, which I haven't posted yet.  So, I'm guessing these here are the 2nd generation this year.  

Since I rarely get pics of the full-on topside, I've had to rely on the underside markings.  See the white-outlined, curvy row of black spots and then the black spots closer towards the wing edge (submarginal) on both the fore and hindwings (particularly in the middle picture above)?  Well, Boisduval's will always have a hint of those submarginal black spots, even when really worn, and silvery never does.  

The real point of this post is that I know the bottom picture is absolutely a female with a brown topside and hints of orange on the hindwing underside with an extra row of dots (Good grief, it looks just like a Gorgon copper from the underside!), but I can't really say for the first set.  Another form of female?  Or is it a boy?  Does anyone know?  Erg.  I should mention that green sheen in the first photo is not always evident.  Usually, it just looks black.