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.
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Author: Jane M. Struttmann and Paul A. Opler