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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Like a fine Oriental rug

During a quick walk through the Bodega Dunes campground this afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to see this little butterfly flutter down on to the sunlit vegetation in front of me.  I only managed a few distant photos before it took off again, but here's one for the record:


This is a Western Pine Elfin (Incisalia eryphon).  In A Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, Art Shapiro and Tim Manolis describe the pattern on the underside of the hindwing as "reminiscent of a fine Oriental rug."

It's too bad these butterflies are on the small side — with a wingspan of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) across.  Otherwise, I think they'd get a lot more attention.  Next time you see a brownish butterfly land near a pine, you might want to take a closer look!

Western Pine Elfins are spring fliers.  Watch for them between March and June.

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