The rock strewn arroyo bed was as dry as the proverbial bone. September 12th at White Tank Mountain Regional Park west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Nectaring plants were very hard to find. Though 9:40 in the morning…and of course full Arizona sun, Empress Leila butterflies were here and there, flying and perching, flying and perching.
Astercocampa leilia are similar to, and closely related to the Hackberry butterflies (see our Hackbery Emperor posts).
Photographing here was difficult. When we spotted the butterfly, our approach had to overcome huge rocks. How these rocks were randomly placed in that arroyo is a tantalizing exercise in Physics.
Territorial like the Tawny and Hackberry Emperors, persistence paid off. That is if the Empress Leilia fled my approach, I knew it wouldn’t fly much beyond a definable perimeter.
Their host plant is spiny hackberry, a hackberry of course.
So the heat (very real), boulders, and nearly unapproachable Leilias made for good memories, and a fair enough photo.
The heat, the heat, the heat.