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Goatweed Leafwing
Anaea andria
Description:
Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 3-1/4 inches. The upperside is reddish-orange or orange-brown with a short hindwing tail. The underside resembles a dead leaf. The summer form of the male is dull red with a barely hooked forewing tip and a short tail. The winter form of the male is redder, with more and darker markings, a hooked forewing tip, and a longer tail. Both summer and winter forms of the female are lighter red and have an irregular yellow submarginal band. The winter form of the female has hooked forewing tips. The slender caterpillar is green to grayish-green, sometimes with purple blotches; it is covered in white spines and may have red spots on the back. There are short, rounded yellowish spines on the head.
Range:
Florida north to Virginia and Michigan, west to Colorado, and south to Texas.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Locally rare to locally common February-November in West Florida; locally rare to locally uncommon February-November (summer form) and October-April (winter form) in North Florida; rare in Central Florida; rare stray in South Florida; rare stray in August in the Keys. Caterpillars are present March through early November.
Habitat(s):
Sandhills, dry flatwoods, open woodlands, and edges of hammocks near rivers.
Reproduction:
Two broods per year in most of range; up to three broods in Florida, the Gulf states, and Texas. The whitish eggs are laid singly on the leaves of host plants.
Natural History:
Males perch in clearings or on ridgetops, waiting for females. This butterfly is a swift, strong flier; it often swoops up and down or flies erratically. The caterpillar uses silk to attach fecal pellets to its back and to the leaves of the host plant, possibly to deter ants and other predators.
Food:
Caterpillars feed on leaves of host plants. Larval host plants include the native silver croton (Croton argyranthemus) and wooly croton (Croton capitatus), the nonnative Texas croton (Croton texensis) and other members of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Adults feed on sap, rotting fruit, dung, and bird droppings.
Comments:
For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America.



 
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