Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County Area
Butterfly and Moth Site
Granite Mountains, April 4, 2007
On Friday, 4/4/2008, I visted the Granite Mountains, NE of Apple
Valley, CA in search of P.indra fordi adults and earlies (plus whatever
else might be flying). The weather was warm (70's) with some hazy high
cloudy sunshine and a light breeze when I arrived at 10am. There was
plenty of greenery - the deserts having been watered fairly well this
year - with numerous nectar sources present.
I parked and headed up into the hills, watching for larvae on any likely
host plants. I found Painted Lady larvae to be abundant on the
yellow-flowered fiddle-neck plants. Two species of whites were flying,
P. sisymbrii and P. protodice (spring form "vernalis"?). No A. cethura
at all. Probably too late for them. Painted ladies flying by were a
constant distraction, as were the occasional Sphinx Moths buzzing about
(they were probably White-Lined Sphinx but I never managed to net one).
See the short YouTube video documentary here:
These photos show just how rough and unfriendly the terrain in this area is - large, sharp boulders,
steep rock faces, and tough, spiny plantlife. This is also ideal terrain for Rattlenakes, although
I didn't see any this day...
On the way up the hill I thought I spotted a fordi adult fly by, but far
too quickly to net or get a positive ID on it. By 11am I began to
encounter Cymopterus panamintensis plants. The plants looked large,
fresh and robust, with profuse, ripe seed heads. There was no sign of
any mass cutting/harvesting that has been seen there in the past.
After carefully combing the plant a bit I started finding a few eggs and
early stages... Ova, varying from fresh creamy-white to orange-ringed to
dark and nearly developed. 1st and 2nd instar larvae were found
sparingly on many plants, indicating to me that adults have been flying
here for at least a couple of weeks.
During the following few hours of exploring terrain and plants I
glimpsed at least two more (likey to be) fordi adults flying nearby,
again far too quickly to net or see well. By 12pm, the winds had
picked up dramatically, gusting from 20-40 miles-per-hour, and I had
no more adult sightings.
In spite of not catching any adults, it was still a great trip - nearly
7 hours of exploring these desert mountains, collecting a few early
stages, and video documenting the adventure!