Lange's Metalmark

The Life of Animals | Lange's Metalmark  | Large-scale sand mining and industrial development fragmented the sand dune habitat until only a small portion of the original ecosystem remained. Nonnative grasses and vegetation encroached on the sand dunes to crowd the few remaining endangered plants. By the time the Antioch Dunes Refuge was established, only a few acres of remnant dune habitat supported the last natural populations of the endangered Antioch Dunes evening-primrose, Contra Costa wallflower, and Lange's metalmark.

Formerly a dynamic mosaic of open sand and vegetation, the dunes have slowly been stabilized by the removal of sand and by the introduction of plants which have spread over the sand and now prevent much sand movement.  Lange's metalmark (Apodemia mormo langei) is a brightly colored butterfly in the Riodinidae (metalmark) family. All the life stages of Lange's metalmark butterflies are found close to the larval food plant, naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum ssp. auriculatum). Lange's metalmark butterfly also use lupine (Lupinus albifrons) for mating. 

Lange's metalmark butterfly was historically restricted to sand dunes along the southern bank of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River, and is currently found only at Antioch Sand Dunes in Contra Costa County. Most of the habitat is now part of the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. 

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