This species occurs in patches of the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, and Montana, and throughout much of the southwestern U.S.
It largely occurs in dry, open areas, including dunes, chaparral, sagebrush steppe, grasslands, and rocky slopes.
Caterpillars feed on various species of buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.).
Young caterpillars eat the leaves only while older ones eat the stems as well.
Adult: Butterflies obtain nectar from a variety of flowers including buckwheat and rabbit-brush (Chrysothamnus spp.).
Caterpillars construct nests of leaves and silk in which they rest during the day, coming out at night to feed. Each caterpillar undergoes five stages of growth, or instars. In most of its range, there is one generation each year, with the caterpillars overwintering in the physiological state called diapause inside host plant stems or flowers heads. The southern portions of the range may have two generations of caterpillars each summer, in which case only the second generation overwinters. In some locations, eggs have been known to overwinter. Adults generally fly from April through October.
Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay pinkish to purple colored eggs in small groups on the lower leaves or singly on other parts of the host plant.
|Idaho Status:||Unprotected nongame species.|
Varies with subspecies. Subspecies langei of California is ranked as T1, which means it is critically imperiled because of extreme rarity and is imminently vulnerable to extinction. Geographically isolated populations of butterflies such as this subspecies are often genetically isolated, which results in increased sensitivity to habitat loss.
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Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 05Nov98).
Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies. Second Edition. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.
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