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Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Posted by ladobe NV (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 29, 10 at 17:15

It's been very windy in Las Vegas the last couple of days and that probably blew these few leps in.

I was sitting out on the patio enjoying the last of todays shade before noon when a Battus philenor floated in and did a few touch and goes on the Lantana a few feet away from me before continuing on its journey. It was the first Papilionidae of any species I've seen here this year so far, and the first B. philenor I've seen in Las Vegas in over a dozen years. I've never seen any wild Aristolochia growing in southern NV, nor even in cultivated plantings in town, so they probably only stray through the area.

A few minutes later a couple of Sachem skippers stopped for a sip followed by what was probably a Colias occidentalis that blew by on the wind. Then a tattered Pieris protodice male paid the Lantana a visit as well. It overstayed its welcome though when the large female Collarded lizard that lives in the plants next to my patio snatched it up for a mid day snack.

I first saw Missy (what I call her) when she waddled past me a couple of months ago obviously laden with eggs. I only see her occasionally, but she is not afraid of me so sometimes scurries past my feet. Now I see one of her tiny offspring almost daily as it lives in the plants on the other side of my patio. It too has learned to trust me, but it mostly comes out at night to snatch up the moths, beetles and other insects that come to my lights and land on the ground or on the Lantana. It's small enough to climb up in the plants to get at them and is growing fast. Spike even followed me back into my house one night and I had to shoo it back out. "Spike" because when I first saw him he was so small that he looked like a spike nail. So how senile are you getting when you name and talk to wild lizards? LOL

(Sorry, but the year has been so barren lep wise that there's just not much else to write about.)

Larry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Thank you for the chuckle. I can just see Spike and Missy! Sounds like more and more lep are stopping by to sample your lantana. They must be spreading the word.

Sandy


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

If you are senile, what is my excuse? I was yelling at a monarch that had a broken wing and wouldn't let me catch it. It kept flying up and landing in out of reach places. It couldn't really go anywhere. So, there I was, yelling at it to get out of the trees, my roof, etc. Thank god for privacy fences :)!

Keep the stories coming,
Elisabeth


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Spike

Got a picture of little Spike this morning on a patio pillar. I didn't see him until he moved closer to eyeball me (picture is from about 2' away). Growing nicely, but has about a foot more growing to do.


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

So . . . how big do these Lizards get? I need a little distraction right now. My grandson in Asia is running a high fever that isn't responding to meds. May have Dengue fever--it's hit big time where he lives. The rainy season was late and has lingered. Mosquitoes are very bad, and my daughter says they can't keep them out of the house. They do sleep under nets. My SIL had it last week--but he wasn't as sick. Hope the daughter and little guy don't get it.

Sandy


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

I'm surprized your not familiar with them Sandy as they are the state reptile of OK. Wikpedia says they are called Monutain Boomers in your area (folklore). Full grown they are a foot or a little more long and fairly heavy bodied. Not as heavy or long as our Chuckwalla or Gila Monsters. They make great pets, probably only surpassed by Horned lizards. My son kept Collared, Leopard, Whiptail, Spiny and Horned lizrds as well as Banded Gekos as pets while growing up, along with several species of snakes. His mom drew the line at tarantulas and scorpions in the house though, so he kept them on a back patio.

Sorry about your sick family.

Larry


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Things are so dry here that my first-year container-grown lantana is drawing all sorts of leps in. We don't have the Collared lizard here in SE Oklahoma, but I've seen them out west...really neat critters!


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Neat lizards, Larry!
The local anoles have just about disappeared since last winter - I've only seen one small one this year. I assume it was the cold winter that got them. We've still got plenty of lined skinks, though, that spend winter under the brick steps up to my front porch and go in and out of their "hidey holes" during the rest of the year.
Congrats on the B. philenor! They're my favorite butterfly. I'm raising a few now, and plan to clean out my garden soon, trim back the pipevines and fertilize them, so, hopefully, they'll make lots of new growth, and I'll have plenty of chrysalides to overwinter.
Sherry


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Wow - that is a stunning lizard! As a city dweller, I don't see any at all. Only my little garter snakes on occasion. My daughter and I had a gekko when she was small. We loved that little guy! We inherited it from her classroom at the end of the school year. I've always been fascinated by snakes and lizards - especially the Gila monster. What an incredible lizard.

Congrats on your Pipevine BTW!

Susan


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Sherry,
I saw a B. philenor again the next day. No way of knowing if it was the same one hanging around or a second one though. Closest natural colony I know of is in north central AZ a couple of hundred miles away at a place where their LFP grows wild.

Susan,
All the years that I lived in SW Utah I did volunteer work for the local county DOA and the BLM. For the DOA I did the Desert Tortoise counts every spring, monitored and stood observation watches at several raptor aeries, did the lep and native plant studies for a new state reserve being established and participated in all the Gila Monster - rattlesnake round-ups at Red Cliffs Canyon. Red Cliffs is a small box canyon with a highly used year-round semi primitive campground. Twice a year 3-4 of us would collect and relocate the GM's and 4 species of rattlesnakes to another ideal habitat several miles away that was isolated and seldom visited even by hikers. The campers were always glad to see them removed with many having small children or pets with them. So we never told them that we were removing them to protect the reptiles and not the campers. LOL For the BLM I patrolled the AZ Strip and back country North Rim of the GC 3 or 4 days a week covering as much as 300 miles a day on dirt back roads, and was on their wildfire team running supplies and people to the fire lines and standing by on the fire lines as an emergency rescue driver for the firefighters and jump teams in case of blow ups. They put me through EMT and fire schools and issued me a very well equipped 4X4 Power Wagon so I could (and did) handle almost any emergency in the back country. All were lots of fun to be involved in, and naturally I also did Lepidoptera as a side line when "on duty". Miss those days of being active and useful.

Larry


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Ah, yes, but you have wonderful memories that a lot of us don't. You should write a book, Larry! You have marvelous stories to convey to I'm sure what would be a fascinated audience. You've sure captured our attention here on the forum. :)

Susan


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Susan,
I was very fortunate to be able to do all the things I was able to do in my life time, and do have a ton of wonderful memories from them. If anyhbody every went through a super active life with their hair on fire it was me. But unfortunately the memories is all I have left now. Glad some might find a little entertainment from my posts here (thank you). With almost no lep activity here and not being able to go to them in their natural habitats anymore the stories is about all I can add here.
L.


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

I like lizards, and would love to have them living on my patio, but it's too cold here. There is a toad and a little frog that live near the small plant nursery, where it harbors some moisture even through the weeks of no rain we've had this summer because I regularly water the plants.

Your post has me wondering Larry - these may be dumb questions - but you are probably the perfect person to ask! Why are moths attracted to light and is it a bad thing for Leps to leave outdoor lights on all night? What about all those solar lights that from what I understand, you can't turn them off?


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Larry,

Enjoying your stories. As always, I have to check things out. We don't have the Collared Lizard in this area, nor in the area where I grew up. We had the Horned Lizard or "Horny toads" as we called them. However, our yearly Bioblitz is coming up, and there is a picture of the Collared Lizard on the cover of the application. I need to dig my Oklahoma Reptile/Amphibian book out and read up. About all I see around here are the skinks. They are everywhere. And we have lots of toads and frogs species. I have found snake skins in the hanging baskets--not an ideal place for them, IMHO.

Looks like everyone in Laos has contracted dengue fever, including the little guy. You've probably had this during your trips. I don't think I ever want to get it. Wishing I could help my daughter. But we won't be going until November. Hopefully the virus will have run its course and be out of there. I will be bringing plenty of mosquito repellent for sure.

Sandy


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RE: Uncommon visitor today at Lizardland.

Spike had a friend in tow this morning, another baby Collared. I think Collared's only lay up to about a half dozen eggs or so. It looks like at least two of Missy's might be resident in my plantings now.

Sandy,
I've had my share of localized complications in my pursuits of Lepidoptera for sure, but I never contracted that one. But it does bring to mind Olaf Pagels R, my closest lep companion in Costa Rica who contracted bonecrusher fever as an additional complication to a large brain tumor that all too quickly took his life. His girlfriend was a doctor and took him to Mexico City where they have far superior medical resources, but she/they couldn't save him. I remained in contact with his parents, sister and girlfriend in Escazu for many years after he died, but we eventually lost touch with each other. Have to admit that it brings tears to my eyes when I come across his name in my journals or synoptic collection. He was a wonderful person that I consider one of the best friends I ever had.


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