Large Marble

Large Marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides)

Surprises await in every venture. I was looking at Red-winged Blackbirds on the north side, hoping to get pictures of females building nests. I did see a couple of females but without nest-building material. As I turned to go, a pair of black-tailed jackrabbits flushed and raced away before I could point the camera in their direction. Then I saw a white fluttering thing. Oho, I thought, a Cabbage White. Nothing to get very excited about, but since it was the first one of the season, I followed. When it finally settled long enough for me to get a picture, I realized that this was a butterfly I had never seen before. Back home, researching the matter, I learned that I’m not alone. This species, Large Marble (Euchloe ausonides), has been in steep decline and has not been found in many parts of its former range for so long that it’s believed regionally extinct. But here it was. Feeding, and possibly laying its eggs on the wild radish (Raphanis raphanistrum), which grows abundantly in many park locations. This butterfly originally specialized in the wild mustard family but transitioned successfully to the radish plants. I saw only this one individual, but will keep eyes peeled for more. If it was laying eggs, perhaps we’ll see a little colony develop. That will be ecological good news.

Large Marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides)

More: Wikipedia BugGuide BMNA Al Shapiro

3 thoughts on “Large Marble

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  • April 8, 2020 at 8:13 pm
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    wow, you got great shots! i saw another one of those magical anna’s hummingbirds today. very special.

  • April 8, 2020 at 5:40 pm
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    Thank you for this heartening news! not to mention lovely photographs.

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