Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-5/8 inches. The upperside of the male is yellow-orange with a wide brown border on the wings. There is a large square-shaped black stigma on the forewing. The upperside of the female varies from yellow-brown to dark brown; there is a square-shaped transparent white spot at the end of the forewing and a black patch at the center of the forewing. The underside of the female is brown with square-shaped white spots and a large, pale yellow postmedian chevron on the hindwing. The greenish-brown caterpillar has a black head with two brown stripes on the upper face.
North America, West Indies, Central America, South America south to Brazil
Common in West Florida March-October; common in North Florida and Central Florida February-November; common all year in South Florida; locally uncommon in the Keys all year. Caterpillars are present throughout the year.
Disturbed open areas such as sandhills, fields, roadsides, meadows, landfills and lawns.
Three or more broods per year in the northern part of the range; four to five or more in the southern part. The whitish eggs are laid on dry grass blades in the afternoon. The caterpillars live singly in tubes of silk or leaves and detritus at the base of the host plant and are difficult to find.
Males perch on or near the ground, waiting for females.
Larval host plants include the native narrowleaf yellowtops (Flaveria lineatus), snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) and Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata); the nonnative Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon), Indian goose grass (Eleusine sp.), Mexican flamevine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides), shrubverbena (Lantana camara) and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum); and both native and nonnative species of crabgrass (Digitaria spp.). Adults nectar on a wide variety of flowers, including the native asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata) and thistles (Cirsium spp.) and the nonnative common marigold (Tagetes erecta), peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and red clover (Trifolium pratense).