Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County Area
Butterfly and Moth Site

Frazier summit, baiting Hemileuca eglanterina and general collecting, August 25, 2005

This trip was primarily aimed at baiting Hemileuca eglanterina males with a freshly emerged female. I was happy to discover that other leps were still having a strong flight so there would be plenty to do and see, even if no eglanterina males showed. Also along for the ride was a fresh H. nuttalli female.

The female began scenting at about 8:30am. I arrived at about 10am and within 10 minutes of opening the car door, 4 or 5 males showed-up, circling around the car like sharks! I proceeded to hang the small emerging cage with the nuttalli female on a tree near the car and then head cross-wind about 1/4 mile to hang the eganterina female in another spot - the idea being to provide two scent plumes downwind to increase the area covered. The terrain is somewhat level at the summit, so if eglanterina males were attracted to nuttalli females, both cages should have attracted roughly the same number of males. However, the nuttalli female attracted absolutely zero (as expected), while the eglanterina pulled-in 30!

The first image is the eglanterina cage on a tree. The second one shows typical terrain and foliage at Frazier summit (a little over 8000').

See the YouTube video highlights from this trip here:

Baiting Hemileuca eglanterina at Mt. Frazier, 2005

At the end of the day, about 3pm, I released all the males with chips, tears and wear. They hadn't been flying for a while and cooled-off so they were in no mood to fly. The ambient temperature had also cooled so most of them crawled part-way up this pine tree trunk and settled-in for the evening. This allowed a few nice images...

The female shown below (1st image) was collected at Frazier Mt. summit in Ventura Co., CA. as a 3rd instar larva on 6-21-2005. After being reared in the lab, she eclosed on 8-25-2005 and was taken back to the summit to bait males that same day.

The remainder of the specimens are males that responded. Many damaged specimens were released, but those which were in reasonably good condition and displayed a variety of color and pattern variations were collected.

As I packed-up the car, I allowed one lucky male with particularly dark and interesting markings into the cage with the female, which was still scenting. It took him about 5 minutes to find her and get hooked-up. They stayed together for about 45 minutes on the bumpy ride back down Frazier Mt. then separated at some point on the freeway ride home. I pulled-off the raod and placed them both into envelopes to prevent damage as they both became active again.

Once I returned home, I removed the female from the envelope and placed her on a polished chopstick which was clipped onto a stand at a 45 degree angle. It was about 6pm. The females seem to like this angle for ovipositing. Once she got a grip on the stick she became still and it wasn't long before she started. She laid about 50 eggs in one continuous session of about 90 minutes. She rested for an hour or so then became active again - vibrating her wings for a short time to warm-up. She tried to fly a bit but settled down quickly once I replaced her on the stick. She laid about 27 more ova in the second session and then stopped. I placed her back into the envelope for the night. Mid-morning the next day I took her out of the envelope andplaced her back on the stick. She immediately began ovipositing. After 13 more ova in this thrid session she was done. She tried off and on for several more hours but her ova supply was apparently exhausted. Two days later she was still alive and attempting to oviposit but there was nothing left.

Also on the wing at Frazier summit were Mormon Metalmarks. This one was kind enough to pose for a few shots.

Two shots of a pair of blues, also captured at the summit.

a Veined Blue and a Bright Blue Copper, after removal from the mounting boards...

These Speyeria coronis hennei were captured also captured...

Below is a copy of the SouthWest Leps newsgroup post of the entire trip...

Yesterday I had a Hemileuca eglanterina female eclose. She was raised from a larva collected at the summit of Mt. Frazier (in the very NE corner of Ventura County, CA). My records show that Mid August is peak flight for that species there, so I decided to take her back to look for a boyfriend.

The weather was warm (70's to 80's) with some light intermittant cumulus cloud cover forming in the am, then clearing to mostly full sun in the pm. Wind was a steady 5-8 mph WSW with occasional gusts and lulls.

I arrived about 10am the eglanterina female and another freshly emerged H. nuttalli female, each in a small emerging cage. Within 10 minutes of parking the car I had no less than 5 males buzzing around! I guess the timing was good! I hung each cage on a tree, cross-wind from each other, about 1/4 mile apart in order to cover a greater downwind swath. I spent the next 5 hours hiking back and forth between the two cages, lepping along the way(about 30 minutes each way including stops), to see what turned up.

Each visit to the eglanterina female resulted in 2 to 5 males hovering around the cage (AVI videos to come on my site). The nuttalli female came up empty every time, as expected. According to Tuskes, Tuttle and Collins, eglanterina are not attracted to nuttalli females but nuttalli male WILL go for eglanterina females. My results seem to correlate.

At the end of the day I had bagged 30 males in varying condition from a bit worn and chipped to very fresh (probably same day). I was amazed at the variation in color and pattern. Just before leaving for the day, I released a good portion of them, keeping the fresh ones - especially those showing wide variation.

In addition to the mothing, I was happy to see that other species are still flying strong there, including fairly fresh examples of Speyeria coronis hennei. It must be late in their flight as >90% of the 12 captures were females. The one male I caught was fresh. The rest (all females) were reasonably fresh but only 3 of 12 were 1A. The rest were sent back into the wild to make more for next year!

Numbers in () were sighted and/or vouchered. Sorry about the mix of common and scientific names.

H. eglanterina (30)
S. coronis hennei(18)
S. callippe macaria(22) all very worn
P. acmon(9) Fresh but could be lupine blues.
Veined blue(1) only one, but fresh.
bright blue copper(1) one worn female
marine blue(1) fresh female
C. euytheme (50+) worn to fresh
C. harfordi(3)
V. cardui(80+) worn to fresh
V. annabella(13) mostly fresh-looking
V. virginiensis(7) mostly worn
A. bredowii(1) only saw one
P. zelicaon(3) all with tails missing!
Lg. white skipper(17)
Unid. orange skipper(13) did not capture/ID any
A. mormo ssp.(2)
CA hairstreak(8) saw a few - pretty worn

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