Found hiking Tabletop Mountain, Washington - July 17, 2005
Per WIKIPEDIA: The great spangled fritillary covers a wide range of North America stretching from southern Canada to northern California on the West to North Carolina on the East. Prime habitat for this species includes moist meadows and woodland edges. Various species of native violets have reported to serve as a larval host plant for the great spangled fritillary, including the native round-leaf violet (Viola rotundifolia), the arrow-leaf violet (Viola fimbriatula) and the common blue violet (Viola sororia). Per BUGGUIDE: Adults feed on nectar while the larve feed on violets. Fly from June to September. Cybele was an Anatolian goddess.
Clodius Parnassian (Parnassius clodius)
Found hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park - September 7, 2008
Per the website Butterflies and Moths of North America: Family: Papilionidae
Identification: Upper surface of forewing cell with 3 dark gray bars. Front wing has no red spots. Upper surface of hindwing with 2 red spots; female usually has red anal bar. Mated females have large, white keeled pouch (sphragis) at end of abdomen.
Wing Span: 2 - 2 1/2 inches (50 - 62 mm).
Life History: Males patrol habitat to find females. Females lay single eggs scattered on the host plant. Caterpillars feed at night at the base of host plant and pupate in a loose silk cocoon above ground. Overwintering is by the egg stage.
Flight: One flight in June - July.
Caterpillar Hosts: Bleeding heart family (Fumariaceae) including Dicentra uniflora, D. formosa, and D. pauciflora.
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open woods, alpine areas, meadows and rock outcrops.
Range: Western Canada and western United States.
Conservation: Subspecies strohbeeni from California's Santa Cruz Mountains is extinct. Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
FUN FACT: After mating males attach a pouch to female to prevent multiple matings.
Police Car Moth (Gnophaela vermiculata)
Found in the Rocky Mountain National Park - August 20, 2009.
This species is found in the Rocky Mountain region from the Pacific Northwest south to southern New Mexico. It occurs in northeastern Nevada but it is not recorded in California. The range extends east to western Manitoba across the central Canadian Prairie Provinces. This species is common and widely distributed in the Rocky Mountain region, but colonies tend to be locally sporadic and disjunct in moist mountain meadows, open forests, and in riparian zones along creeks. Adults of Gnophaela vermiculata are diurnal and are found in wet forest meadows at middle to high elevations. Adults are on the wing from late June to early fall. Their flight is fairly slow and they nectar at flowers making them easy to net. Larvae feed on bluebells [lungwort] (Mertensia spp.), puccoon (Lithospermum spp.) and stickseed (Hackelia spp.). Adults feed during the day on nectar of herbaceous flowers such as thistle (Cirsium spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Our specimen happens to be on a Solidago plant.
Vine Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha vitis)
Found while exploring Creedmore Lakes in Colorado - August 31, 2008
From BUGGUIDE: Range is the United States is from Florida west to southern Arizona, south through the West Indies and Mexico to Argentina. Stray individuals recorded as far north as Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois. Adults are nectar feeders, possibly favoring orchids, Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), and Periwinkle (Vinca spp.).
Caterpillars feed on foliage of several genera including Vitis, Cissus, Parthenocissus, Ludwigia, and Magnolia. Species name "vitis" and common name "Vine" both refer to the species' use of grapes (genus Vitis) and other vines as host plants for caterpillars. Long flight time of April through November. Adults are nectar feeders, possibly favoring orchids, Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), and Periwinkle (Vinca spp.). Caterpillars feed on foliage of several genera including Vitis, Cissus, Parthenocissus, Ludwigia, and Magnolia.
Preying Mantis (Mantis religiosa)
Found on Hwy 66 West in Colorado - September 7, 2008
Information from Encyclopedia of Life: Mantis religiosa is a mantis species native to temperate areas of Europe, Asia and northern Africa, but has spread around the world and is now well established across the United States and into Canada. Outside of Europe it is known as the European mantis; in Europe, it is known simply as the preying mantis. It was introduced to the eastern US in 1899. In 1977 it officially became the state insect of Connecticut. The European mantis is 5-7.5 cm long, usually a shade of green with brown, usually well camouflaged in its surroundings, and also difficult to see because of its usually motionless stance. There are several other similarly large mantis species also commonly found in the United States: the Mediterranean mantis (Isis oragoria), the Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridigolia, and the native Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina). The European mantis can be distinguished from these by a distinctive black bulls-eye pattern on its coxae (most proximal segment) of the fore leg.
Although a carnivore and an impressive predator, this mantis is completely harmless to humans and a beneficial species in that it eats many harmful insects, including the gypsy moth caterpillar, many aphids, flies, mites, grasshoppers and, when an individual comes upon another mantis, will show cannibalistic behavior. Thus, European mantises are solitary insects, coming together to mate only once a year. Females are known to eat the males after mating.
Females lay about 100 eggs in a white hardened foam ootheca (egg case) which they cement to a tree branch or leaf. The juveniles, miniature versions of adults, hatch in early spring, and are wind dispersed, or serve as nourishment for their siblings.