Journal archives for October 2014

October 01, 2014

Fritillaries of Santa Rosa

This year, the first time since we arrived here in 1983, I've been seeing Gulf Fritillaries in Santa Rosa. Long May it Last!

I know they are regularly sighted around the San Francisco Bay; I've seen them myself during our occasional visits. I've read that they've followed the cultivation of passionvine up from southern california. In recent seasons they've been seen around sacramento frequently; so hopefully they are swinging around the bay and will eventually be established in Sonoma County. We've got passion vine in 'rosa too; but, until this year, never one of these unmistakable brilliant-orange creatures. Growing up butterfly-mad in L.A., we saw them every summer day. I discount any reasonable speculation that I might miss one, or be mislead when glancing at a Monarch or West Coast Lady out of the corner of my eye...

I wondered myself this spring(actually 2/24), when I saw an immaculate individual fly out of a clump of passionvine one sunny morning. I was convinced, yet hesitated to post it for a minute. I thought the implication was that it had emerged that day; so at least one gravid female had not only drifted up here but found her host and laid eggs. This all seemed implausible, but I posted the sighting anyway.

Since then I've been out of town a lot, but on my daily walks in central santa rosa I've seen them repeatedly. In the last week, every day. I'm still unable to get the photos I want of these worthy subjects; but close enough to nail any doubts about ID.

What I really want is to find some caterpillars. While the nurseries don't carry the traditional passionflower vines I remember( just tarted-up hybrids), these are common enough growing in old neighborhoods like mine. While I still tend to think our winters too cold for regular flights of A. vanillae, I'd love to be surprised.

Posted on October 01, 2014 14:19 by icosahedron icosahedron | 0 comments | Leave a comment