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Species Nymphalis californica - California Tortoiseshell - Hodges#4431

California Tortoiseshell - Nymphalis californica California Tortoisehell - Nymphalis californica California Tortoiseshell - Nymphalis californica Butterfly reality check - California tortiseshell? - Nymphalis californica Butterfly with orange upperwings - Nymphalis californica California Tortoiseshell - Nymphalis californica California Tortoiseshell - Nymphalis californica California Tortoiseshell - Nymphalis californica
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Nymphalinae (Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.)
Tribe Nymphalini
Genus Nymphalis (Tortoiseshells)
Species californica (California Tortoiseshell - Hodges#4431)
Hodges Number
4431
Size
32-70mm
Identification
Upperside is orange-brown with large black spots and dark wing borders. Underside looks like a dead leaf and is dark mottled brown with darker wing bases; hindwing does not have a centered silver spot.
Range
British Columbia south along the Pacific Coast to Baja California Norte, east to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Rare migrants to Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont after periodic population explosions in Mexico.
Habitat
Chaparral, woodland, brush areas, forest clearings and edges.
Season
One brood: Adults emerge in June and fly until fall, then overwinter. They fly the following spring until April or May, mating and laying eggs for the next brood.
Food
Larva feeds on various species of wild lilac (Ceanothus).
Life Cycle
Males perch in the late afternoon to look for females. Eggs are laid in bunches on the host plant; caterpillars eat leaves and feed together when young. Adults hibernate.
Internet References
Butterflies & Skippers of NA - Images of pinned adults, info & range map
DiscoverLife combines information from several sites, with live photos, pinned specimens, and range map.