California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica
The California Tortoise shell likes
Manzanita flowers for nectar. There are even more Manzanitas in
California then Ceanothuses. The can be any where from six inches tall,
Manzanita to twenty foot, the Big berry
Manzanita. They are also evergreen. The flowers are pink or white.
The California Tortoise Shell one of the few times that it was sunning itself and let my photograph it.
The California Tortoise Shell Butterfly uses
many, if not all, of the bush Manzanitas
as nectar sources. So far we've seen them on maybe 20 different types
of manzanita, occasionally on o the plants as diverse as Peach
flowers and Ceanothus.
The California Tortoise shell likes Manzanita flowers for nectar.
The Larva of the California Tortoise
Shell Butterfly feeds on Ceanothus
plants. There are over 50 species of Ceanothus
found in California. They range in size from two foot anywhere to
twenty foot and have flowers anywhere from white, to blue, to lavender.
One of this plants common names is wild lilac. It is also evergreen
making it an excellent garden plant!
The California Tortoise Shell
has large fluctuations in population. Some years there is a huge burst
in population ans in some there are very few to be seen. In years where
the populations are greater there is more migration and these
butterflies can be found in the mountains and northern portions of
California Tortoise Shell sipping mud between the rocks. Who needs to go hunting for big game, when the little game can be very challenging. Buy a camera and try to get good insects, butterfly or bird photos.