Fear and Loathing, 5/7/01

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Tue May 8 23:06:14 EDT 2001

I'm back in Las Vegas again - this time to support the Networld/Interop show
(joy).  I couldn't resist visiting the Spring Mountains again - although
they've skunked me twice already this year.  I targeted Cottonwood Pass this
trip, hoping that the season has progressed a bit since my March and April
visits.  In April I endured a nasty winter storm - while watching
Neumoegen's Checkerspots clinging for their lives on yellow composites (what
are these - they're everywhere now, and still not bad for nectar sources).
The flowers must be food for a particular Schinia, because they can be found
hanging onto the flowers by day (the moth is whitish, with pink bands on the
forewing, and darker hindwing margins).

Anyway - it's hot as hell out here.  You know it's hot when you're looking
for an excuse to end your lepping day early (or the corollary - you know
you're sick when your preferred activity in all the world is to seek out
this kind of abuse).  Well, I ran out of water at about 3:00 p.m.  But after
finding an Exxon station only 15 minutes down the road on Highway 160, I was
revived enough to endure the heat for another couple of hours.  By 5:45, I
was soaking in the pool at the Tropicana resort (ahhhh).

Besides the heat, there were annoying numbers of my now favorite Nymphalid -
you guessed it - Vanessa allovertheplace.  This is especially troublesome
when you're looking for other medium sized orange-colored Nymphalids.  It's
also troublesome when you've conditioned yourself for quick neck snapping
reflexive reaction in the field.  Ever notice how it takes you about 10 or
15 minutes to kick this reflex in?  After that, you're in a zone.  And then
you come to the Southwest and experience equipment failure - when your neck
is impulsed 50 times a second by those adorable Painted Ladies (I saw a few
of those in the Trop casino, as well).  Not only is your neck hyperextended,
but you can't possibly keep track of the other bugs.  All this, and rivers
of sweat pouring into your eyes and down the small of your back, and...

Well, you get the picture.  Sigh.  No wonder so many people are moving out
here to call this place home.  Yeah, right.  It's gotta be the lack of
income taxes.  You know, I saw pictures here in the Tropicana from the
mid-50's when many of these casinos were first opening.  These pictures
don't lie, like the current Disneyland-like landscape.  This place is
otherwise God-forsaken (sorry to all of you Vegasites out there).  Not much
in the way of endemic plantlife down here in the lowlands.  A regular garden

So - what in the world are you blabbering about?  There WERE cool bugs on
the wing.  I was very pleased to find the T. leanira alma (Alma Checkerspot)
to be flying, and quite common at nectar actually.  The C. acastus
neumoegeni (Neumoegen's Checkerspot) were worn, but still plentiful.
Poladryas arachne (Arachne Checkerspot) was also flying, but the females
were looking tired.  The single hilltopping male was fresh!  The Desert
Swallowtails are common (like last year), but I didn't spend much time
chasing these - they'll consume you.  White Lined Sphinx were on the wing,
and nectaring like hummingbirds.  Oh, and did I mention Painted Ladies?

My list:

Papilio polyxenes coloro (Desert Swallowtail)

Pontia beckerii (Becker's White)
Pontia sisymbrii (Spring White)
Pontia protodice (Checkered White)
Colias eurytheme (Orange Sulphur)
Eurema nicippe (Sleepy Orange)

Callphrys gryneus siva (Desert Juniper Hairstreak)
Brephidium exile (Western Pygmy Blue)
Leptotes marina (Marine Blue)
Hemiargus ceraunus (Ceraunus Blue)

Apodemia mormo (Mormon Metalmark)
Poladryas arachne (Arachne Checkerspot)
Thessalia leanira alma (Alma Checkerspot)
Chlosyne acastus neumoegeni (Neumoegen's Checkerspot)
Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady)

Danaus plexippus (Monarch)
Danaus gilippus (Queen)

Pyrgus communis (Checkered Skipper)
Copaeodes aurantiacia (Orange Skipperling)

Mark Walker


   For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit:


More information about the Leps-l mailing list