New Fort Huachuca, Arizona Butterfly List /Anaea sp.
JimJoanJoy at aol.com
JimJoanJoy at aol.com
Wed May 7 13:06:00 EDT 1997
Yes indeed! What you had were a pair of Tropical Leafwings. There was
apparently a massive movement of adults into southeastern Arizona last fall.
I have a photo of one individual from Coronado taken on October 3. I thought
this was quite exciting until a collector showed up at our November
entomological meeting with five specimens including one worn female! These
were from other areas along the border, Patagonia, etc.
The surprising thing to me is that they made it through the winter and I
believe that they have been sighted for every month this calendar year!! I
personally have seen them in Garden Canyon, French Joe canyon (Whetstone
Mtns), Patagonia (Paton's yard), California Gulch (Pajarito Mtns), and in
Coronado where three a day may be seen. Most of the adults have been along
linear flyways such as washes or canyons. Many are at mud but difficult to
approach. This is one of those periods of great adundance that may not be
seen again on this side of the border for years to come.
Until March of this year I had probably seen less than seven individuals in
my previous 20 years in Arizona!
In Sonora, Mexico starting around 100 air miles to the south this can become
one of the most common butterflies. I have seen them by the thousands on road
banks along Rt 16 east of Hermosillo after the summer rains. In fact, I just
returned yesterday from Sonora and this same abundance can be seen down
There are Tropical Leafwings high up in the mountains where normally they are
of casual occurrence.
This abundance reminds me of a similar situation that happened in 1992 with
the Texan Crescent (A. texana). There were tens of thousands of them in the
early part of that year and this explosion also included Sonora (at least 200
miles below the border). I counted ten individuals in my tiny yard on a
number of occasions. By late summer the population(s)? crashed and only now
are there some signs of them coming back here in southeastern Arizona. What
will happen to the Tropical Leafwings is anybody's guess. They may dissappear
from our area in the next few months but large population levels are normal
for them in central and southern Sonora.
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