Status:    rare to abundant winter resident/late spring migrant

Flights:  Oct?-Jun; adult overwinters, mates Mar-Apr; offspring migrate out-of-county north/east in May-Jun; 2nd brood offspring return in fall to overwinter

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  widespread mid-county, esp. during migration

Habitats:  open brushy areas (chaparral), open woods, ridgetops (males)

Host plants:  ceanothus spp., other plants during outbreaks

Adult foodflower nectar, dung

Conservation: secure globally


  1.   flies in winter on warm days

  2.   pop. outbreaks some years, other years scarce

  3.   outbreaks may be due to overcrowding, or to search for foods low in tannin

  4.   adults live from summer (June) to following spring, when mating occurs

  5.   wing margins less jagged than commas


California tortoiseshell Nymphalis californica

Life history facts

egg: laid in bunches on host plant

larva: eats leaves, feeds together when young


adult:  hibernates; males perch in late afternoon to look for females

salt lick?