Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 7/24/08. © Peter J. Bryant

Mormon Metalmark

Apodemia mormo mormo

Lepidoptera: Riodinidae

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Top of the World, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 6/25/07. © Peter J. Bryant

Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 8/22/06. © Peter J. Bryant

Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 5-24-07. © Ron Hemberger

Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 5-24-07. © Ron Hemberger


James Dilley Preserve, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 10-06-08. © Ron Hemberger



Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 5-24-07. © Ron Hemberger

Top of the World, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 09/03/07. © Peter J. Bryant.

Top of the World, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 09/03/07. © Peter J. Bryant.

Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 5-24-09. © Ron Hemberger
 

Characteristics: Dorsal wing surface black-brown and orange with numerous small white spots. Forewing length: 14-18 mm.

Similar Species: Not easily mistaken for any other local species.

Habitats, Behavior: A low and fairly rapid flyer; adults often perch on Eriogonum fasciculatum (Wild Buckwheat) and other plants.

Distribution: This metalmark species occurs in Orange County almost wherever the foodplant grows, up to at least 4500 feet. Colonies still survive on the bluffs at Big Corona del Mar Beach and at Upper Newport Bay. This species is also abundant in many inland localities, particularly in undisturbed foothill areas.

Flight Period: Our records extend from early March to late November, representing two broods with peak emergence in March and April, and again in August and September. Mountain populations, however, are probably univoltine.

Larval Foodplants: In Orange County, Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum ssp. fasciculatum) is utilized.

Other Remarks: Populations of this species may have also once been located in the valleys of Orange County since Wild Buckwheat was present in the lowlands one hundred or more years ago. Behr's Metalmark is usually found in abundance wherever the foodplant occurs.

From Orsak, L. J. (1977). The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Center for Pathobiology Miscellaneous Publication #3. University of California Press, New York. 349pp.

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