Butterflies of California
Illustrations with gouache and colored pencil on Duralene.
Monarchs depend on milkweed as a host plant for their larvae. Females lay eggs on the leaves and the caterpillars feed on the plant as they grow. An important part of protecting monarch populations is also protecting the plants and habitats they need to complete their lifecycle.
West Coast Lady is one of three “lady” butterflies in California. It has several flights throughout the year and is often seen on open ground. It is a strong flyer and will generally retreat quickly when approached. The West Coast Lady larvae feed primarily on nettle (Urtica sp.) and Cheeseweed (Malva sp.).
Common Buckeye often patrols trails and other open areas that resemble stream beds. The large eye spots on the wings can be used to scare predators away by positioning them in such a way that they look like the eyes of a much larger creature.