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Saturday, June 20, 2015

On the buckwheat

Here's a bit of a mystery.  Can you guess what caused this pattern on the leaf of the Coast Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium)?



The next photo will give away part of the answer: 



A small caterpillar was feeding on the outer layers of the Coast Buckwheat leaf.  I'm guessing the caterpillar is either a blue or a hairstreak.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure which one.  If you know which butterfly this is, let me know, and I'll post the answer!

Photos from the Pinnacle Gulch Trail on 19 June 2015.

P.S.  Click on the names for an example of an Acmon Blue, a Gray Hairstreak, or a Coast Bramble Hairstreak.
 

2 comments:

David A. Hofmann said...

I think that this may be a Blue Copper Lycaena heteronea. I've seen them on Coast Buckwheat near Shell Beach. The host plant for Blue Copper is Buckwheat. Unfortunately BAMONA does not have a photo of a Blue Copper caterpillar. Another name for Blue Copper is Varied Blue.

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, David! Thanks for the Blue Copper idea! I've done a little more work on this, and I'm still not sure. I found a Blue Copper caterpillar description that said they were unmarked. And I found pictures of Acmon Blue and Gray Hairstreak caterpillars that show chevron-like markings, as in this individual. But I haven't found any descriptions or pictures that match this individual well enough for me to be certain about its i.d. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many lycaenid caterpillars, but perhaps we can find someone who has more experience with them!