California Tortoiseshell

Nymphalis californica
True Brushfoots

Appearance: Jagged wing edges. Above, mostly bright orange with dark margins and a few black spots on the forewing. Below, mottled brown (tree bark) coloring.

Size: Medium; 1 3/4 to 2 1/8 inches

Habitat: Open woods and brushy areas; males hilltop

Season: Emerge in early summer, fly until fall, over winter, and then fly until April or May when mating occurs; 1 brood

Larval Foodplant: Buckbrushes and wild lilac

Did You Know…
Occasionally this species irrupts in huge numbers and spreads far beyond its normal range. At such times roads can become slippery from their caterpillars and/or carcasses.

Species Gallery (click to enlarge)