Status:  locally common resident

Flights:  1, Jul-Oct

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  widespread in foothills and mountains; Arroyo Seco, Fort Ord, Garrapata SP, Bottcher’s Gap, Priest Valley, W. Pinnacles

Habitats:  arid, open regions; chaparral, open oak woodland, sparse grasslands, dunes

Host plants: buckwheats (Eriogonum)

Adult foodbuckwheats, yellow-flowered composites like Senecio and rabbitbrush

Conservation: ssp. langei, Antioch dunes of CA, endangered due to loss of habitat


  1.   adults fast and erratic in flight

  2.   walk about on flowers, mechanically opening and closing wings

  3.   may be more than one ssp. in MCO - look for Behr’s metalmark (A. m. virgulti) in s. MCO - may be separate species, flies spring/early summer

  4.   highly variable; sexes similar


Mormon metalmark Apodemia mormo

Life history facts

egg: laid in groups of 2-4 on lower leaves of host plant, or singly on other parts of plant

larva: rest during day in shelters of leaves tied together with silk, emerge at night to feed; young caterpillars feed on leaves, older caterpillars on leaves and stems


adult:  males perch in hillside hollows to watch for females

priest valley area