Thursday, November 11, 2010


Metalmarks (family Riodinidae)
"Scintillant" Metalmarks (genus Calephelis)

Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis)
Hmmm, ... species name is nemesis. Makes me wonder if the original voucher hunter saw it, looked down to get his or her glasses, looked back and could not find it again; at least for awhile.

"Scintillant" metalmarks are quite small butterflies. Usually only one, perhaps a second, in large expanses of nectar sources. If in the shadow of a leaf, probably passed by. Spotted by the casual observer, likely thought to be a boring little brown bug.

However, if one has the opportunity to look closer. Closer, still...
They have a narrow but amazing blue-silver metallic postmedian and submarginal band.

"Common", though possibly often missed, from the southern half of Arizona to the southwestern half of Texas. They are some of the more difficult butterflies to identify. Thankfully, I guess.., (C. nemesis) is the only scintillant we get in the Big Bend Region. However, if you think you have found a different species, show me...

Fatal Metalmark with a "Cuckoo Wasp"(family Chrysididae)

Incidentally, Cuckoo wasps make up a family of small, metallic wasps. They are sting-less, by the way. They are mostly parasites in the nests of other wasps or bees.

A final flight of adults before the cold snap? ...

"For whom the bell tolls, time marches on" - Metallica, Ride the Lightening, some year back before they cut their hair and went soft. You know, the good years.


  1. Amazing! I appreciate the photos and info. I'll be on the lookout for that butterfly. I may have seen one and thought it was a moth. I'll go through my photos and see.

  2. They're sneaky little dudes; like Funereal Duskywings at first glance (but much smaller!), you tend to shrug off the drab ones as moths in favor of ones who look like 'real' butterflies. This is why Matt is so handy - I'd still be too focused on the large, gaudy ones to notice the little guys.