California tortoiseshells

Chuck Vaughn aa6g at
Thu May 24 17:49:19 EDT 2001

I was at Chews Ridge (southeast of Monterey at 5000') on May 18 and they
were everywhere. In fact that's about all there was. I also saw some
on Mines Road about 10 miles northeast of Mt. Hamilton last evening.
Must be their year.

Chuck <aa6g at>


> Hi Leps Listers,
> This weekend, driving along a ridge-top dirt road in Yolo County, I came
> across thousands of California Tortoiseshells (Nymphalis californica) flying
> and nectaring.  When driving through two days earlier, there was no sign of
> them.  I read in the Audobon Society Field Guide to North American
> Butterflies, that "the California Tortoiseshell may be rare or absent from
> large parts of its range for several years.  These dearths are followed by
> periods of enormous abundance, involving emigrations over immense areas,
> which seem to be related to population pressures, host plant availability,
> and climate conditions."
> It was quite an amazing phenomenon to witness.  I was just wondering if
> anyone could give me any more information about them. There seem to be
> reports of explosions of several species this year...Painted Lady's, Red
> Admirals, CA Tortoiseshells.
> Thanks,
> Deborah
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