Friday, May 23, 2014

Edith's checkerspots ~ 05/23/14 ~ Pinnacles

I call this butterfly p0rn.  It's a bit perverted, I know, but the term tickles my funny bone, so it stays.  Sigh.  It was initially challenging for me to distinguish between the look-alike Edith's and variable checkerspots, mainly because the variable are indeed quite variable from place to place.  Paul was helpful in pointing out how much redder the Edith's look on the wing, compared to the very dark version of variable found at Pinnacles.  Also, in nice close-up photos (click pic to enlarge), notice the black-striped antennal stems with clubs dipped in curry colors, compared to the completely solid pumpkin-orange of the variable checkerspot (this may also be variable, unfortunately).  I'm making the guess that the female is on the left and the male is on the right, based on whose belly is hanging down, looking a little pregnant (i.e., filled with fat and eggs).  They're getting their groove on perched on blooming woolly yerba santa (the butterfly version of the neighborhood pick up joint).

ps 05/31/14 - Considering it is so hard to differentiate variable from Edith's, I asked Dr. Shaprio's opinion on these.  He said, "But the mating pair may be editha. Can't see the abdomens, but the antennae match editha, and the male has a vaguely 'cold' yellow color that is editha-ish, as well as a rather rounded FW apex."  Based on the photo samples he sent me, the female is on the left like I guessed, and the rounder FW apex male (it's hard for me to "see" this) is on the right.  To me the female FW is wider and less pointy than the male's.  Paul mentioned that at Pinnacles, Editha's tend to have orange rings on the top side of the abdomen.  There are rings shown here, but both sp. can have them on the underside of the abdomen, so that's not conclusive.  Does this make sense?  Overall vote, Edith's checkerspot.


GretchenJoanna said...

Fantastic! Down to the many glorious details.

Katie (Nature ID) said...


Jennifer said...

Never seen anything like it