Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County Area
California Tortoiseshell [Nymphalis californica] Adult Insect Images
Butterfly and Moth Site
This Tortoiseshell was basking in the evening sun on a mountaintop. It's in pretty fair condition after spending the winter in hibernation. In a month's time, it will have mated (if lucky!) and the resulting eggs will hatch in April. The larvae feed together in large groups and can be found on blooming Ceanothus (Mountain Lilac) in mid to late April.
Here's a photo of a tortoiseshell sitting on the photographer's hand in January of 2005. Like other Nymphalis, Polygonia and Vanessa species, they sometimes will land on your hand, head, shoulder, even a butterfly net!
These two images of a California Tortoise Shell landed in an Oak tree were shot at Sawmill Campground on 6-24-2005.
Images of mounted insects from the Santa Clarita collection
More images of specimens from the Santa Clarita collection. These were raised from larvae collected in April, 2005.