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California tortoiseshell

Nymphalis californica


The top of its wings are orange with big black spots and a dark border (used mainly for camouflage). The browns and grays of the wing underside make it resemble a dead leaf when the wings are closed (pic2). Its wingspan varies from 3.2 to 7 cm (​1 1⁄4–​2 3⁄4 inches).


Spotted sunning itself on a rock next to a dirt road. There is a spring that runs all year nearby. This is in the foothills of the Cascades around 2000 ft. The forest is mostly conifers. Habitat: Chaparral, woodland, brush areas, forest clearings and edges.


Range: British Columbia south along the Pacific Coast to Baja California Norte, east to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Rare migrants to Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont after periodic population explosions in Mexico.

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Spotted by

Washington, USA

Spotted on Sep 21, 2018
Submitted on Sep 22, 2018

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