We went to Albany Hill in Albany, California for one last time before leaving for Ithaca, New York.
We have probably went to Albany Hill over a hundred times in just this year. Today was the last time. We took a bunch of photographs on the way, just to see how it will change by the next time we come back to Albany. A new segment has just been added to the Bay Trail this year with newly propagated willows (Salix) and alders (Alnus) along a man-made creek that mimics the rest of the trail perfectly. In a few year's time, we expect that it will grow in a lot.
The following are pictures of the two blocks of the trail that have always been here. Most of the trees are really declining as the season passes, but it is still rich with life.
At the end of the trail is Albany Hill. We did't see too much flying today, except for some skippers as detailed in here. We were not able to find any red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) larvae or eggs on the pellitory (Parietaria) even though the plants were getting clobbered in eggs all throughout the summer.
After exploring the outside of the hill, we crossed the creek to get inside. The pipevine here was in pretty bad shape, but there were still a one or two pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsuta) larvae. A while ago we had come and found a least a dozen or two, so we suppose they either pupated or died.
Inside the hill, the scenery was a far step from when we first came in the Spring. The ground was covered in yellow hay and the trees were mature and dry. To our surprise, we saw a single western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) at some point. We took this as an opportunity to take a few pictures of ourselves one last time before we leave (as you may have noticed, the pictures of us have changed on this website).
Rearing notes for western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) pupae. Stock originated as eggs laid by a captive female, originally found as an egg in Albany, California and hand-paired to a male captured also in Albany, California, on July 7.
Rearing notes 8/9/17-8/16/17:
Rearing notes for a common checkerspot (Pyrgus communis) fourth larva originally found as an egg on wild mallow (Malva sp.) in Albany, California
Rearing notes 8/13/17-8/16/17:
Rearing notes for regal moth (Citheronia regalis) prepupae. Stock originated from Ohio, July 2017.
Rearing notes 8/12/17-8/16/17:
We collected the mass data of our anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) pupae.
Now that most all of our anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) larvae have pupated, we have a lot of pupa mass data. We have a very large sample size that includes larvae of many different lineages, so it should be fairly representative of our region's population when fed on fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), which they almost always use in the wild already. The only concern was our accuracy in sexing the pupae. For some reason, anise pupae are particularly ambiguous compared to other swallowtails we have reared and because the pupae were weighed on the day of pupation, some of them still had not completely gotten into shape which could have made it hard. But even with an 80-90% accuracy, it was still quite clear that females are larger on average than males when you consider a whopping t = 90637 (df = 179; n = 181; p<0.0001) in a 2-sample t-test for the difference in means. A table summarizing our data is shown below.
Summary Statistics for Papilio zelicaon Pupa Mass
Mean Std Dev Median Min Max N
Male 0.9612903226 0.1132832714 1 0.7 1.2 93
Female 1.123863636 0.1259395204 1.1 0.9 1.5 88
All 1.040331492 0.1444449167 1 0.7 1.5 181
Although the difference in size between the two sexes was statistically significant, the difference isn't huge in real life, especially with the large standard deviations. Just eyeing them, the only ones that can be instantly sexed without looking at the genitalia are the massive females; even though there is only a 0.16 difference in means, the difference in maximums was 0.3. Disproportionately high female potential seems to be a common trend in the species we have reared.
What surprised us as we were collecting was how many of the pupae were exactly 1 gram, regardless of sex. For this kind of data, it would definitely have helped to use a more precise scale (perhaps to .001). This would have made the curve much smoother in the charts below and may have helped in showing the difference in size between the sexes. It is especially strange that so many of the females were 1 g, making it is hard to draw any conclusions from their distribution other than that we may have messed up. The male curve and the combined curve are both much more unimodal albeit sightly skewed.
Rearing notes for regal moth (Citheronia regalis) fifth instar larvae. Stock originated from Ohio, July 2017.
Rearing notes 8/2/17-8/11/17:
Rearing notes for anise swallowtails (Papilio zelicaon). Originally obtained as eggs or larvae in Albany, El Cerrito, and Berkeley California.
Rearing notes 8/2/17-7/10/17:
On what is one of our last trips to Albany Hill (Albany, California), we found some checkerspot skipper (Pyrgus communis) eggs and adults and west coast lady (Vanessa annabella) eggs.
Fast and darty as always, it was hard to get close to this checkerspot skipper (Pyrgus communis) to take pictures of it. Unlike other skippers, we almost always only find them near mallow (Malva), which the larvae eat, or dry grassy areas in general where the plants grow. We have never seen them nectar at anything except for mallow flowers and the flowers of other small plants on the ground.
Although we see checkerspot skippers throughout the year, the only time we kind actually find a decent amount of their eggs is towards the end of summer. A few weeks ago we found one and today we found another with trying very hard. Of course, we have never known them to be very common around here, so it was still a nice find. We would have taken it home if we weren't leaving in a few days. We also found at least a dozen or two west coast lady (Vanessa annabella) eggs scattered around. It seems that the painted ladies (V. cardui) take the spring, red admirals (V. atalanta) take the summer, and these west coasts take the end of summer and fall.
Rearing notes for a common checkerspot (Pyrgus communis) third larva originally found as an egg on wild mallow (Malva sp.) in Albany, California.
Rearing notes 8/6/17-8/10/17:
Rearing notes for western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) fifth instar larvae. Stock originated as eggs laid by a captive female, originally found as an egg in Albany, California and hand-paired to a male captured also in Albany, California, on July 7.
Rearing notes 8/1/17-8/9/17:
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations on and experiences with various insects in Albany California and surrounding areas, from 2012-2017. Since we did not publish this site until 2016, posts before that were constructed retroactively. Starting in August 2017, we moved to Ithaca, New York; posts from there on can be viewed at Timeline 2017-present: Ithaca, New York.
August 2017 (49)
July 2017 (121)
June 2017 (79)
May 2017 (77)
April 2017 (91)
March 2017 (35)
February 2017 (12)
January 2017 (10)
December 2016 (12)
November 2016 (26)
October 2016 (49)
September 2016 (84)
August 2016 (94)
July 2016 (99)
June 2016 (53)
May 2016 (21)
April 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (2)
June 2014 (3)
May 2014 (1)
April 2014 (3)
March 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (11)
August 2013 (15)
July 2013 (9)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (2)
November 2012 (1)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (1)
June 2012 (1)
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Coenonympha tullia california
Langia zenzeroides formosana
Orthosia hibisci quenquefasciata
Papilio machaon oregonius
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Samia cynthia advena
Papilio glaucus × Papilio rutulus
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Araneae (Class: Arachnida)