Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
These names may be seen variously treated as synonyms, subspecies, or sometimes as full species.
Nemeobius virgulti Behr, 1865. Type locality: near Los Angeles, California
Apodemia sonorensis C. Felder & R. Felder, 1865. Type locality: Sonora [defined as “La Tuna Canyon, 1200 ft. elev., Verdugo Mts., Los Angeles County, California” by J. Emmel et al. (1998), Syst. W. N. Am. Butts. (5): 89]
Lemonias cythera W.H. Edwards, 1873. Type locality: vicinity of Tucson, Arizona [changed to "area of Independence, California” by Opler and Powell (1962), J. Lepid. Soc. 15(3): 154-155; neotype from 9 mi. w. Lone Pine, Inyo County, California]. This is an interesting situation, and the name cythera would in reality be the same as A. mejicana if really from Tucson.
Apodemia mormo dialeuca Opler & Powell, 1962. Type locality: 5 mi. NE of Cerro de la Encantada, Sierra San Pedro Martir, 9000ft., Baja California Norte. [Very dark specimens that are actually referable A. mormo (affinis ssp. deserti), from central Baja California Norte and from southern California, have been incorrectly identified as this in literature and on-line.]
Apodemia mormo tuolumnensis Opler & Powell, 1962. Type locality: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne County, California
Apodemia mormo arenaria J. Emmel & T. Emmel, 1998. Type locality: El Segundo sand dunes. Los Angeles County, California
Apodemia mormo davenporti J. Emmel, T. Emmel & Pratt, 1998. Type locality: Walker Pass, 5,300ft., Kern County, California
Apodemia mormo nigrescens J. Emmel & T. Emmel, 1998. Type locality: Colton, San Bernardino Co, California
Apodemia mormo peninsularis J. Emmel, T. Emmel & Pratt, 1998. Type locality: northeast edge of El Prado Meadow, 5,500ft., Laguna Mountains, San Diego County, California
Apodemia mormo pratti J. Emmel & T. Emmel, 1998. Type locality: Holcomb Valley, San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California
Explanation of Names
Certain named populations may be variously recognized as synonyms, as subspecies, or as distinct species, depending upon author, and some may be assigned to other species by some authors.
A member of the Apodemia mormo complex or "superspecies", of which members are all considered as a single variable species by some authors, while other authors recognize varied numbers of distinct species. Certain types that look different may coexist in the same locations, yet remain distinct, which implies that in those areas there are at least two species. On the flip side, in some areas what appear to be insects belonging to both A. virgulti and A. mormo fly together with intermediate insects present. Relationships between various populations are still being sorted out.
Some "subspecies" that look like A. virgultii have been included by some authors under A. mormo. These include "cythera, tuolumnensis, & peninsularis.
As defined here, Apodemia virgulti differs from A. mormo primarily by the brick-red to orange median band on the upper hind wing, which replaces or includes the median row of white spots. In A. mormo these median pale spots are well-defined, set in a dark brownish, gray, near black background. Also, on the upper front wing of A. virgulti, the middle two, and lower two median pale spots (with one larger in between) are commonly tiny, often ill-defined, and sometimes absent. In A. mormo these spots are usually larger and clearly defined. In general A. virgulti is a more orange insect over-all when seen from above.
A. mejicanus is not reliably distinguishable from A. virgultii visually, but is separable by it's more eastern distribution.
Various authors treat various populations differently, as belonging to different "species" in the A. mormo
complex, and it is difficult to reconcile the various opinions and treatments. The treatment here seems a relatively conservative "compromise" rather similar to the treatment used at Nearctica, and primarily but not entirely following that of Jonathan Pelham's catalog
. Based mostly on timing of flight, certain "subspecies" are treated by some authors as part of Apodemia mormo
that here fall under A. virgultii
At some locations (notably in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties) many individuals show dark hind wing coloring approaching A. mormo, on which the orange of the hind wing is greatly reduced. However these normally show at least a trace of the orange coloring around the middle row of pale spots.
West from the deserts, from Central CA south through Baja California Norte (Mexico)
Shrubland where food plant grows, such as chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and alluvial scrub.
Mostly one or two flights, usually with a spring flight, and often a late summer-autumn flight; though near the coast southward there may be 3 or more flights, and in some areas adults can be encountered year-round.
Various species of Eriogonum
, including: Eriogonum fasciculatum
(California Buckwheat); Eriogonum wrightii
(Wright's Buckwheat) for subspecies dialeuca
comparison of different Apodemia
spp., with links to the species pages.