The recent rains had washed ruts into the road, so we had to use high clearance vehicles. Just a week before the overgrown catclaws and wait-a-minute bushes had been cleared off the paths by the fire department. It was so much greener than during my last visit in April! The creek was running and there were a few standing pools.
|Filigree Skimmer • Pseudoleon superbus|
|Puddle party, photo by Ned Harris|
|Arizona Powdered Skipper Systasea zampa and Arizona Metalmark Calephelis arizonensis Photos Ned Harris|
|Empress Leilia and Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa leilia and celtis), Variegated and Gulf Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia, Agraulis vanillae) 1 and 4 by Ned Harris|
Immaculate fresh Gulf Fritillaries and Variegated Fritillaries indicated that their food plant, probably Passion Vine, was aso close by.
|Euptoieta claudia caterpillar|
|Tiny Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas) and two views of the rare Elf (Microtia elva) Photos 1 and 3 by Ned Harris|
|Bordered Patch and caterpillars (Chlosyne lacinia)|
Larvae and fresh adults of the leaf beetle Zygogramma arizonica shared the same plants. (Stick Seed?). Every species of Asteracea seems to have its own distinct Zygogramma species, that appears only during a specific window of the plants annual life cycle, usually just before flower buds are formed. By now I can go through my files and very reliably predict where and when to find the more common Arizona species.
|Chihuahuan Toad, Horse and Plains Lubber, Photos by Ned Harris|
|Chauliognathus misellus, C. profundus and C. levisi|
Green female Stagmomantis limbata, Ground Mantis (Litaneutria minor), Yersin's Ground Mantis (Yersiniops sophronicum)
Brightly colored big Jumping Spiders, a Green Lynx with egg sack, a still unidentified Orbweaver and well-camouflaged crab spiders were competing with the mantids. A Tarantula stalked elegantly over grasses and around human feet (click to see the video).
|Desert Cotton, Gossypium thuberi with: Boll Weevil Anthonomus grandis thurberiae, Shield Bug Sphyrocoris obliquus, Dark Flower Scarabs Euphoria sepulcralis rufina, Flee Beetle Disonycha glabrata, Longhorn Tragidion densiventre|
|Wasp Mantidfly Climaciella brunnea and Paper Wasp Polistes comanchus navajoe|
|Anthonomus grandis thurberiae and Toposcopus wrightii|
|Green Rat Snake (Senticolis triaspis) ans Sonoran Whipsnake (Masticophis bilineatus) Images from Amphibians and Reptilians in Arizona, TC Brennan, AT Holycross, Arizona Game and Fish Department 2009 (publisher)|
Ours was the best group I could have hoped for for this special adventure. Everyone who signed up was a naturalist and photographer with a lot of expertise. Fred Heath, Doug Mullins, and Brian McKnight are butterfly experts, Doris and Doug Evans and Inda Gregonis are longtime ASDM docents and birders, Ned Harris leads Catalina Mts. trips for the Sabino Canyon Naturalists during the summer and is the best raptor photographer I know. Jean Thomas, the volunteer guide of the Buenos Aires Preserve and keeper of the access code was our gracious and understanding chaperone. Thanks everyone!