Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.
Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Copyright by: Holly L Salvato, 2021.
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-7/16 inches. The upperside of the wings is yellow-orange with black borders, which are wider in the female. The female has a long, thin black mark in the center of the orange portion of the forewing. The underside of the wings is orange-yellow with whitish veins; the hindwing has a white fringe. The small, slender caterpillar has a bluish-white body and a pale head with narrow reddish-brown stripes.
Mostly Oklahoma and Kansas west to Colorada, north to North Dakota, with isolated colonies to the east and south to South Florida where possible extirpated. Recent records in Florida are from south of Kissimmee and west of Melbourne, where numerous records have recently been posted on iNaturalist, and the Florida Panhandle.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Locally rare in West Florida and North Florida April-October; locally rare in Central Florida March-November; locally rare (but possibly extirpated) in South Florida March-October; not present in Keys. Caterpillars are present througout the year.
Relatively undisturbed grasslands, prairies, and sandhills.
Two to three broods per year in southern part of range. The whitish eggs are laid singly under host plant leaves. The caterpillar lives in a tube-shaped leaf shelter.
Males perch on low plants near host plants in the afternoon, waiting for females.
Caterpillars feed on leaves of host plants, including the native lopsided Indian grass (Sorghastrum secundum) in peninsular Florida and the native toothache grass (Ctenium aromaticum) in the Panhandle, as well as the native big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). Adults nectar on flowers, including the native climbing dogbane (Thyrsantella difformis), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), southern milkweed (Asclepias viridula), and species of tickseed (Coreopsis spp.), as well as as the nonnative oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgar), purple vetch (Vicia americana), and species of thistle (Cirsium spp.).