Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lorquin's Admiral

On another recent peregrination to Wheeler County, I found a group of Lorquin's Admirals (Limenitis lorquini). These beautiful butterflies are found almost throughout Oregon and Washington, and adults can be encountered from February through October.

The definitive book for identifying butterflies in the Northwest is The Butterflies of Cascadia by Robert Michael Pyle. Besides wonderful photographs, good range maps, and a good deal of information about the insects themselves, this book provides interesting details about natural history and those who study it. From the section on Lorquin's Admiral, I quote here regarding the man for whom it was named...
Pierre Joseph Michel Lorquin (ca. 1800-1877) was a French lawyer, gold-hunter, and naturalist who roamed goldrush-era California by stage and foot. I imagine him walking into rough, Roaring Forties saloons with his butterfly net, and shake my head. He obtained much new and important material, most of which he dispatched to his family doctor, the great Parisian lepidopterist Jean Baptiste Boisduval. His contribution is recognized not only by this handsome insect in his name, but also by the oldest entomological club on the West Coast, the Lorquin Society of Los Angeles.

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