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Small dark butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-15/16 inches. The upperside of the wings is dark brown; the fringes are checkered. The upperside of the forewing has a broken brownish-gold band. The underside of the hindwing has a white patch on the margin. The caterpillar has a dark brown or black head, a light brown, slightly greenish body with many orange and white spots, and a yellowish-brown stripe along the abdomen.
Eastern United States from Massachusetts south to northern and central Florida; west to Texas.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Rare in West Florida April-September, rare in North Florida late March-early October, rare in Central Florida early March-early October, not present in South Florida or the Keys. Caterpillars present throughout the year.
Open pine woodlands, sandhills, brushy areas and edges of hammocks, especially oak or pine woodlands with sandy soil.
Two broods per year in Florida; one brood in northern part of range. The whitish eggs are laid singly under the leaflets of host plants that are in full or partial shade.
Males perch on branches 3 to 6 feet above the ground in forest openings, waiting for females. They fly out to challenge other insects but return to the same perch. Caterpillars live in a shelter made of leaves tied together with silk; mature caterpillars crawl into leaf litter and form cocoons in which they overwinter.
Caterpillars feed on leaves of plants in the pea family (Fabaceae), especially the native beggar's-ticks (Desmodium incanum), butterfly pea (Clitoria mariana), and indigobush (Amorpha sp.). Adults nectar on flowers of the native milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), climbing dogbane (Thrysanthella difformis), common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) and the nonnative Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).