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Close-up photo of adult California Tortoiseshell butterfly

Buford Park, Lane Co, June 2


Nymphalis californica

Size: Up to 2.5 inch wingspan

Key ID features:  Above bright orange with black and white patches on the leading edge of FW, a few smaller black spots on FW, and dark border on FW and HW.  Below striated two-toned with darker inner half and brown outer half with darker margin, and often a dark gray-blue submarginal line.

Similar species: Above, Milbert's dark basally with bright orange rim.  Below, Milbert's Tortoiseshell more distinctly two-toned, outer band lighter, more variable and more gray than brown.

Host plant: Ceanothus species include snowbrush (C. velutinus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus).

Habitat: While dispersing, may be found in any habitat, including in the middle of urban areas. Otherwise in mountain slopes, canyons, meadows, riversides, road edges and shorelines. 

Range: Throughout Oregon.

Season: Late January to early December.

Abundance: Common, abundant in some years. 


Conservation Status: Secure

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