california sisters

I haven’t said too much about the insects that I’ve seen along the way during my wanderings in California and Oregon. In truth, I haven’t seen quite so many as I thought I might. Whether that was due to the time of year, the weather, my lack of diligence in looking, or some other factor, I haven’t got a heck of a lot to show for a few weeks of wandering. However, I did manage to photograph a butterfly which I’ve seen in a few places along the northern California and south Oregon coast. At first glance, they look a lot like the White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) butterflies that we see in the northeast. However, these are California Sister (Adelpha bredowii californica) butterflies. They are easily distinguished by the large orange patch near the tip of the wings. They also have an interesting patch of teal with brick-red barring on the leading edge of the wings. The underside is a swirly, marbled mix of gray and orange-tan.

Most that I saw were feeding on flowering plants that were unfamiliar to me. References to the species say that the caterpillars feed on oak trees. They are also known to puddle, which is where I found a few — puddling on the stones along quiet caƱon streams. I found one persistently attracted by what looked to be River Otter scat on a shoal in a river visited a couple of days ago.

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4 Responses to “california sisters”

  1. LauraH Says:

    Very pretty butterflies!

    Those flowers look something like one that Wayne pictured on his blog not too long ago. Can’t remember what it was – I’ll have to go have a peek and see if I can find it.

    I’ve missed your bug pics.

  2. LauraH Says:

    It was a link to Pussytoes that I was thinking of. The flowers look sort of similar, but the habit seems very different.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    What a beautiful butterfly. I was just reading the other day that the monarchs have returned to winter in Santa Cruz. We’re heading down that way in December. I’m definitely going to check out their winter digs at Natural Bridges State Park.

  4. burning silo Says:

    Laura – Yes, the flowers did look a little like Pussytoes, but now that I think of it, perhaps more like Boneset. However, the plants themselves were bushy things with many of these greenish-white flowers. They also gave off a sort of sickly-sweet smell. There were many bees and hoverflies all over, so, whatever it is, it must be a good bee-plant.

    Robin – We found California Sister butterflies all over the place after I photographed the one in the post. They seemed abundant along the rivers in both N. Calif. and S. Oregon. The only place that I’ve been in California that had Monarchs was in the little park not too far from the Monterey aquarium in Pacific Grove. I was there about the third week in October during the late 1990s and there were thousands of Monarchs perched in masses on the trees in the park.