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

Dead Mountains road trip, March 6,7 2005

These shots show the mountain range's northern edge, viewed from the powerline road, looking south. During the day (left) and at sunset (right). The smaller ridges and canyons to the right were the ones explored on this trip into the mountians.

The terrain is typically rocks/sand/gravel with fresh green flora (left photo). The right two shots show the "foothills" which are scattered around the alluvial plain to the north of the main mountain range. These hills are anywhere from 20 to 100 feet high and are magnets for hill-topping species including Swallowtails, Vanessids, Orange Tips, Marbles (right two pictures).

These 4 shots show one of the larger canyons located on the north end of the range. About 1/2 mile up the canyon, water rose to the surface and flowed short distances before absorbing back into the sandy soil, only to re-appear a hundred or so feet further downstream. This (and other steep rocky canyons) were loaded with Neumoegen's Checkerspots. They were so numerous that territorial "squabbles" involving up to 4 males fighting for a choice patch of canyon bottom were common. Females were found nectaring and searching for host plant in the smaller perpendicular revines. In addition to checkerspots, Painted Ladies were common as they migrated northward. Oddly, I saw no Pimas, Marbles or swallowtails in the canyons at any time.

These are three nice shots of a Neumoegen's Checkerspot as it nectars on fiddle-neck and hold a territory on the canyon bottom.

The two right pictures show a yet to be identified (suspected to be V. cardui) larva found on fiddle-neck. The next two are the same larva in the lab, and after pupation (3-10-2005). The left two photos show Hemileuca larvae (burnsi?) on Fremont Indigo Bush, which has just started to grow new foliage.

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