Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mormon Metalmark

Metalmarks are a mostly tropical species but there are a number from North America which, although less colorful (primarily orange, brown & black) and less dramatic in form, are still little gems unto themselves. Mormon metalmarks are regular visitors here from spring to fall and are often found perched on the native buckwheat blooms, slowly and methodically opening and closing their wings. They are quite small, about 1- 1/2", so easy to miss. 

8/13/10 Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) on a Longstem Buckwheat (Eriogonum elongatum) which I had planted on the "buckwheat slope" in the front garden. 

6/3/01 Photographed on the property before our house was built. This one was perched on Deerweed.

Per Kenn Kaufman's guide Butterflies of North America, Mormon Metalmarks actually form a complex and are probably comprised of several species due to their variability: "Our most widespread and common western metalmark, occupying many open habitats, from deserts and sagebrush flats to open oak woodlands...Flies spring to fall...Among the forms proposed for species status are A. m. virgulti (coastal southern California)..."

As to the origin of the nomenclature "Mormon" metalmark, I have no clue whatsoever. All I could find online was a post by an Edje Jeter in 2009 entitled "All God's Creatures-Including Mormos, the Other Mormons" which may or may not edify, but is nonetheless interesting http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/all-gods-creatures-including-mormos/

FAMILY: Riondinidae (Metalmarks)

No comments:

Post a Comment