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Over a period of many years, I have studied certain distinctive populations of Mariposa Coppers in Northwest Washington. This investigation led to a review of the entire species, across much of the West, with Paul Hammond. We compared the butterflies throughout their range and concluded that there are twelve distinctive subspecies, nine of which we described as new. In this talk I will introduce all twelve and discuss their variation, distribution, historical biogeography, hypothetical evolutionary patterns, ecology, and conservation, emphasizing the five subspecies occurring in Washington. A charmer and a favorite butterfly of many, Lycaena mariposa turns out to have much more to its natural history than we ever realized before.
Robert Michael Pyle, a charter member of WBA, is the author of Watching Washington Butterflies, The Butterflies of Cascadia, and (with Caitlin LaBar) The Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest, along with 22 other books. Founder of the Xerces Society fifty years ago, Bob was a pioneer of butterfly conservation, watching, and photography. He is coordinator of the Washington Butterfly Survey with Jonathan P. Pelham, and an Honorary Fellow of both the Royal and American Entomological Societies.