Monday, February 10, 2014

echo blue ~ 02/10/14 ~ Stevens Creek

 echo blue / Pacific azure (formerly spring azure)

What time of year is it, again?  Mid-February?  A fairly fresh blue butterfly?  Oh, that's right, we're in CA (sorry, folks back East, with all your snow and ice).  The Pacific azure is one of the earliest butterflies of the year here, not including those that overwinter as adults like the monarch butterfly

However, they're not the only ones on the wing this early.  I also spotted a couple whites (Pontia sp.) nectaring on a small patch of milkmaids during our hike.  They were possibly checkered white (P. protodice), spring white (P. sisymbrii), or even western white (P. occidentalis - see Dr. Shapiro's note).  Even if my only photograph wasn't blown-out in bright white, I have a hard time distinguishing between them.  

Speaking of photographs, the above is a vast improvement over my only other spring azure picture (it helps to learn the settings on the camera - doh!).  I'm keeping the old name on that post in reverence to my butterfly days past of true C. ladon ladon in Ohio.  I found the male above right next to the creek.  Maybe he was trying to mud-puddle and got caught in the rain?  He was pretty wet but still alive.

ps 02/21/14 - Now that I have good pictures of whites from Los Padres Dam, I'm positive what I saw were margined whites (Pieris marginalis venosa), not a blown-out bright white Pontia sp.  Doh!

pss 02/26/14 - I've changed the primary common name from Pacific azure to echo blue.  I kept getting stumped on my own post.  Haha.  Echo blue is the name I actually hear being used, and that's what I remember it as.  Online sources are trying to make Pacific azure (and echo azure) a thing when I don't know anyone who actually calls them that.  Maybe the younger lepidopterists are more hip to the new names?

No comments: