Butterflies of the Pikes Peak Region

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 6.03.57 PM

Pyrgininae

Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 4.55.29 PM

HesperiinaeScreen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.08.14 PM

PapilionidaeScreen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.10.54 PM

PieridaeScreen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.26.43 PM

Lycaenidae 1Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 8.37.49 AM

Lycaenidae 2Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.32.17 PM

NymphalinaeScreen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.35.40 PM

Melit. & Arg.Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.41.12 PM

SatyriinaeScreen Shot 2019-08-18 at 5.43.42 PM

Addendum: Here are species that I didn’t have on pins.Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.08.02 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.07.45 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.08.18 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.08.34 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.08.50 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.09.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 12.09.21 PM.png

These are 164 of the 206 species that have been recorded in El Paso County. Many of the rest are rare strays, but we may see them more commonly as the climate warms. Adelpha bredowi, for example, used to be a rare stray, but it shows up almost every year now in the region. I will continue to add to this set as new photos come in from the Pikes Peak Region, with your permission, of course.

More on the Insect Apocalypse

Here are the results from two sweep samples of insects taken ten years apart at exactly the same location on the Section 16 Trail west of Colorado Springs. In both cases, 100 sweeps were made. In this area, which is relatively undisturbed in terms of regular application of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, total numbers of insects seem very similar after ten years. T-Tests, both one-tailed and two-tailed, show p values that do not suggest significance. I chose a date one week later in 2019, as the season appears a bit behind average in terms of butterfly emergence dates.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 9.04.59 AM

The Rocks of Palisade Sill

DSC07273.jpgFor those not tuned in to Southwest Geology, a sill is an igneous intrusive that has inserted itself parallel to the surrounding strata (a dike runs at angles to the strata). Palisade Sill is a huge intrusive in northern New Mexico between Raton and Taos on Highway 64. You won’t miss it when you head west into the canyon out of Cimarron. The sill is made of Monzonite, which is on the continuum between syenite (very light in color) and diorite (medium in color) and has plagioclase and orthoclase feldspars in approximately equal amounts. In short, it is a lighter than granite, but generally similar.

My favorite aspect of this imposing formation is that the joint systems are at nearly right angles, which leaves enormous faces and a ragged, blocky crest at the skyline. And, of course, lots of rubble along the stream below. Here are some images of the crestline.DSC07299.jpeg

DSC07252.jpg

DSC07255.jpg

DSC07254.jpg

DSC07281.jpg

DSC07266.jpg

DSC07275.jpg

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 4.49.59 PM.png

DSC07295.jpg

DSC07289.jpg

DSC07270.jpg

DSC07264.jpg

DSC07283.jpg

DSC07263.jpg

DSC07259.jpg

DSC07296.jpeg

Letting Go

After 33 years of collecting moths in the Pikes Peak Region, I finally have begun to let it go to the C. P. Gillette Museum in Fort Collins at Colorado State University. The first installment, 36 drawers of mostly Noctuidae (the owlet moths) were shrink-wrapped and dispatched on August 29. One drawer is shown here.9.jpg

And here is the first load.IMG_2410.jpg

And in their new home.Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 10.46.16 AM.png

Many more to go in the next few weeks. Sad to see them go, but I know that they’re in a better place. (!)

What a Summer!

Looking back, this was one of the best summers of my life. To begin with, it was the earliest spring in my fifty years of record keeping, with emergent butterflies flying in February, and a strong flight through March. Then the huge May freeze!DSC02488.jpgDSC02468.jpgDSC02499.jpg

Then, red tailed hawks nesting in the back yard. I never imagined that.DSC02862.jpg

Then, other birds, both on the mountain and in the garden.DSC02939.jpgDSC01531.jpg

And mothing! I had the pleasure of collecting moths in several areas, some new to me: Blodgett Peak Open Space, Ute Valley Park, Bluestem Prairie Open Space, Rock Creek Canyon, and Baculite Mesa. Keeping track of all those moths isn’t easy. I added 37 new records for the Pikes Peak Region, bringing my current total to 2073 species.

DSC03876.jpg

And the garden OMG, what a year for the flowers!DSC01710.jpgDSC03440.jpg

And the July rains!

DSC02982 2.JPGDSC04217.jpg

I heard that it was the wettest July on record. So, up came the mushrooms. We found about 40 species on one hike in Bear Creek.

DSC04016.jpg

And July on Shelf Road, the amazing rabbit bot fly!DSC03605.jpg

And rare butterflies. The third record of Nymphalis californica and the fourth record of Adelpha bredowi in El Paso County.

DSC03964.jpgDSC04289.jpg

Plus many new records of the butterflies like the pigmy blue, Brephidium exilis (photo by Tim Leppek), which reminds me of Eric Eaton and all the new friends I found on the Arthropods Colorado Facebook Group. That’s been a load of fun. (What will we do in the winter?)

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 5.37.51 PM.png

So it was an amazing summer. I already have seasonal affective disorder from the 7:30 twilight. I can’t wait until spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Leucism in Lepidoptera

Albinism and leucism are rare in Lepidoptera. If you google “Albinism and Leucism in Lepidoptera” you’ll find thousands of photos of mammals, birds, and reptiles, but only a scattering of leps, some of which are white species, not leucistics. The obvious exception is a white luna moth, which is normally green. But the photo is labeled “Albino,” while the dark ocelli stand out on all four wings. It is a leucistic. Leucism is caused by recessive alleles that don’t produce the normal pigments. Albinism is an extreme case of this in which all of the alleles are dysfunctional.

I found a Vanessa cardui that is partially leucistic, feeding with hundreds of normal morphs on Chrysothamnus bushes. I show it here with a normal form below.

DSC04627.jpgDSC04629.jpgIMG_8057.jpgIMG_8061.jpg