Callippe Silverspot Butterfly (Viola Pedunculata)

Topics: San Francisco, San Mateo County, California, Insect Pages: 1 (421 words) Published: March 8, 2011
Callippe Silverspot Butterfly (Viola pedunculata)

The Callippe Silverspot is a butterfly with varying colors of black, orange, tan, and brown on top of its 4.5cm wingspan. What distinguishes this butterfly from others, and gives it its name are the spots of silver scales on the bottom of the wings (U.C. Berkley, 1997). There is only one plant that the Callippe Silverspot will lay their eggs, and that is on a Jump-up, a relative of the violet. Once the larvae hatch in the early summer they begin to feed on the egg shell before going into a dormant stage of inactivity and low metabolism (U.C. Berkley, 1997). After winter is over the caterpillar emerge from their silk pad and feed on the now green Jump-up. Then for the next two to three months they eat and shed their skin four times (Hautala). They finally make a pupae of leaves and silk for themselves and stay in there for about two weeks before emerging as a butterfly (The Butterfly Conservation Initiative, 2006). Their adult life will then last for approximately 3 weeks consisting of sipping on nectar from thistles, mints, and other flowers, mating and laying eggs (Hautala). This species of butterflies used to be abundant all over the San Francisco Bay region (The Butterfly Conservation Initiative, 2006). The butterfly is now only known to have populations in the San Bruno Mountains, about 10mi south of the bay, and in an undisclosed city park in Alameda (U.C. Berkley, 1997). Since the greater area of their habitat is now inhabited by cityscape and suburbia, along with implementation of imported plant species, the Jump-up has lost most of its breading ground in that region, resulting in the decline of the Callippe Silverspot. If the butterfly has less spots for it to lay its eggs on the violets the reproduction number of the species will then follow the trend of declining (The Butterfly Conservation Initiative, 2006). All that can be done for now is planting more of the host plant that the butterfly relies...
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