Little Metalmark
Calephelis virginiensis

Small butterfly measuring up to 1" in length. The upperside of the wings is a rusty orange color with dark fringes. The underside is a brighter orange. Caterpillars are light green with long white hairs. The chrysalis is green and cream with dark markings.
Southeast United States
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Most common in Florida during late summer and fall, though caterpillars can be found March to November.
Coastal areas, grassy areas, open pine woods, savannah, and salt-marsh meadows.
Eggs are laid on host plant leaves.
Natural History:
Can be seen quickly flying among low vegetation. Caterpillars prefer to feed at night and on cloudy days.
Larval host plants include the native purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum) and occasionally climbing hempweed (Mikania scandens). Nectar host plants are flat-flowered composites (Asteraceae).
The only metalmark of the southeast. For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Know Your Native Pollinators page.

Mary Keim, 2014.
Mary Keim, 2017.
Mary Keim, 2011. Little Metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis) on Rosy Camphorweed (Pluchea baccharis).
Scott Sutherland, 2022.
Scott Sutherland, 2022.