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photo of habitat

Culvert Hopping - 1

There is a phenomona called hilltopping, where butterflies seem to gravitate to the tops of large hills, supposedly for breeding purposes. Good collecting can be had at the these hilltops. Another gathering place for Lepidoptera is culverts. A culvert is a tunnel made under a highway to let water runoff from side canyons pass underneath. Moisture gathers at the entrance to the tunnel and attracts many insects. In the many mountain canyons here in Southern California I do what I call culvert-hopping: stopping at each culvert along a mountain road to see what I can find. This particular culvert has yielded an astounding number of Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera species, all gathering to find wet mud to drink on. During wet years there were so many butterflies gathering here that I could not keep up with them. Always check your culverts and you may be pleasantly surprised.

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