Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo [Felder & Felder])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.2 - 3.3 cm).
Identification: Upperside orange-brown to black, checkered with black and white spots. Tan to brick-red patch on forewing. Underside gray with white spots; forewing with brick-red patch.
Life history: Males perch in hillside hollows to watch for females. Eggs are laid in groups of 2-4 on lower leaves of host plant, or singly on other parts of plant. Caterpillars rest during the day in shelters of leaves tied together with silk, emerging at night to feed. Young caterpillars feed on leaves, older caterpillars eat leaves and stems.
Flight: July-September in the north, March-October in the south.
Caterpillar hosts: Various wild buckwheats (Eriogonum).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of Eriogonum and other plants, especially yellow-flowered composites such as Senecio and rabbitbrush..
Habitat: Various arid lands: rocky hills, grassland, chaparral, dunes.
Range: North Dakota (few) west to Washington, south through to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico.
Conservation: Subspecies langei, which occurs in the Antioch Dunes of California, is endangered due to loss of habitat and host plants (Eriogonum nudum var. auriculatum). Subspecies langei has The Nature Conservancy rank of T1 - critically imperiled because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. (Critically endangered throughout its range).
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: Habitat restoration, cultivation of the host plant, and captive breeding of the butterfly may be necessary. For langei control of invasive weedy alien plants by means other than fire is an imperative.
Comment: Behr's Metalmark, Mexican Metalmark, and Southwestern Metalmark were previously considered to belong to this species.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. Emmel, T.C., editor. 1998. Systematics of Western North American Butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Fla. 878 pp. Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages. Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 442 pages. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates. Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 282 pages, 32 color plates. Matthews, J. R., editor. 1990. The official World Wildlife Fund guide to endangered species of North America, Vol. 2. Beacham Publishing, Inc., Washington, D. C. 636 pages. Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 color plates. Opler, P., and J. A. Powell. 1961. Taxonomic and distributional studies on the western components of the Apodemia mormo complex (Riodinidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 15(3): 145-171. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann and Paul A. Opler
State and Regional References:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.