Bay Area Hiker: Butterflies
Butterflies and moths
(click on an image for a larger view)
Gra hairstreak
Gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), late summer, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Unknown, spring, Año Nuevo State Reserve

Ceanothus silkmoth
Ceanothus silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus), early spring, Austin Creek State Recreation Area

California tortoiseshell
California tortoiseshell (Nymphalis californica), winter, Coast Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Boisduval's Blue? (Plebjus icarioides), spring, Stile Ranch Trail

Unknown, spring, Old Quarry Trail, Mount Burdell

Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta), summer, San Francisco backyard

Painted lady
Painted lady (Vanessa cardui), summer, San Francisco backyard

Variable checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona), spring, Mitchell Canyon Road, Mount Diablo State Park

California sister
California sister (Adelpha bredowii), summer, Skyline Wilderness Park

Butterfly photo
Unknown, autumn, Ridge Trail, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

Pale swallowtail (Papillo eurymedon), spring, Woods Trails, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve

Anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon), late winter, Red Hill Trail, Coyote Hills Regional Park

Monarch butterfly
Monarch (Danaus plexippus), late winter, Coyote Hills Regional Park

Acmon blue (Plebjus acmon), spring, Stile Ranch Trail

Mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta), spring, Mitchell Canyon Road, Mount Diablo State Park

Common buckeye (Junonia coenia), summer, Skyline Wilderness Park

spring azure butterflies
Spring azure (Celastrina ladon echo), late winter, Cascade Fire Road, Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve

Variable checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona), summer, Ridge Trail, Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve

Skipper, late summer, San Francisco backyard

Recommended reading:

Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, by Arthur M. Shapiro and Timothy D. Manolis (order this book from
Butterflies through Binoculars: the West, by Jeffrey Glassberg (order this book from A new favorite, this book has very good photos, plus loads of information about butterfly behavior. For example, the author advises looking for anise swallowtails on hilltops (once I read this I had a major "of course" moment, since everytime I've seen anise swallowtails, they've been on top of hills).
Common Butterflies of California, by Bob Stewart (order this book from Beautiful photos, and a good source for bay area butterfly identification.
• An Obsession with Butterflies, by Ahrman Apt Russell (order this book from A sweet little book packed with little tidbits about butterflies and moths. I particularly enjoyed reading about butterfly behavior, including how butterflies find host plants: they look for familiar leaves, then land on contenders and "taste" the leaves with their feet.


Butterflies and Moths of North America