While browsing Art Shapiro’s butterfly blog I encountered a new term – a “weedy” butterfly. Weedy organisms are those typically associated with habitats disturbed by human activities or dominated by non-native or invasive species. An example of a “weedy” butterfly is the mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta).
Thistles are hosts for mylitta crescent larvae. Originally these butterflies evolved in association with native thistle species. Many additional thistle species, often native to the Mediterranean, were introduced into the Western North American range of mylitta crescents and now outnumber the native thistles. The larvae of these butterflies are common in the disturbed areas these invaders inhabit.
This mylitta crescent was photographed on the gravel trail between the North and South Elkins Barns at Ash Creek Wildlife Area (Modoc County CA).