Saturday, June 13, 2015

Red Car Property: Acmon Blue Butterfly

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 8, 2015.  A different tiny blue butterfly caught my eye on the north end of the Red Car Property, an Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon).  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The north end of the Red Car Property has different species of wildflowers, hawks and insects not found elsewhere on the property.  For instance, through the years, I've occasionally observed  this tiny blue butterfly only on the northern most portion of the property.  In 2011, I was finally able to get a photo of one.  Albeit, not a very good one.  

Even in this Butterfly Bonanza year, I had not seen the Acmon Blue yet.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 8, 2015.  The butterfly first caught my eye when it landed on a piece of trash just above the viaduct footings.  I was shooting blindly, without my reading glasses, a butterfly with a 1" wingspan from 8 feet away.  When its wings were open, the brownish topside of its wings blended in perfectly with the weeds and dirt.  (See UCI's Butterflies of Orange County for some very detailed photos of the Acmon Blue.) 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 8, 2015.  According to the "Common Butterflies of Griffith Park"  (and UCI's guide), one of the Acmon Blue's host plants is Lotus.  Unfortunately, in this shot the butterfly's wings are closed, but for scale the native Spanish Lotus flower in the left corner of the photo is about a third of an inch.  The butterfly is just to the right of the flower and has a 1" wingspan.  The long Lotus seedpod to the right of the butterfly, is about 1 1/2" long.  

Spanish Lotus is only found on the northern most parts of the Red Car Property.

Click here for all the butterflies we've documented in the Red Car Property neighborhood.