Thursday, July 17, 2014

CA dogface ~ 07/17/14 ~ Podere di Farfalla

male California dogface nectaring on bull thistle
male Zerene eurydice nectaring on Cirsium vulgare

Despite the fact our official state insect seems to fly practically all year around here (Monterey Co. and Pinnacles), I've only ever spotted this yellow butterfly a couple times.  It's frequently reported that its only larval host plant is false indigo (Amorpha californica).  Either that's not entirely correct, or plant folks generally don't bother looking for this native shrub.  I say this because the plant checklists for Podere di Farfalla and San Benito County strikingly do not include false indigo, notwithstanding the reported 10-month flight period of the CA dogface in these same areas.

As a note to myself, I want to be sure to not mistake the CA dogface for the superficially similar orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme), another butterfly I don't often see and have yet to photograph.


John W. Wall said...

I'd never heard of indigo bush, but I see that it's been noted on a trail I've hiked many times on Mt. Tam. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful image Katie.

randomtruth said...

Hmmm… as you say, there's something more to this story… Amorpha is a short-lived, fire-following perennial. It is not common, nor is it constant year-over-year where it grows. But it is a chaparral species, so perhaps used to be much more common pre-people, when the land burned more often?

GretchenJoanna said...

What a fortuitous conjunction of fauna and flora - perfect for setting off the beauty of this butterfly, especially when captured by your artistic self!
I didn't know this was our state insect. I was about to say that I learn so much reading your blog, but I'm afraid I retain too little to warrant using that verb. Oh, well, it is lovely stopping by here and seeing all the things I would love to learn if my brain worked better. Thank you!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

John, if you do find it, take a whiff. I'd like to know if it really does smell like "guava, pineapple, lavender and maybe a little pine" (

Thanks, Bob.

Ken, that's interesting what you say about this shrub. Where'd you get your info?

No worries, Gretchen Joanna. I'm perfectly okay if people just look at the pictures and go "Oh, so pretty!" It always amazes me at the beauty around us every day, if we just take the time to look.