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Copyright by: Erin Backus
Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 3-7/8 inches. The uppersides of the wings are mahogany brown with black borders and two postmedian rows of white spots on the forewings. The upperside of each hindwing on the male has a black scent patch. The undersides of the wings have a black border with two rows of white spots; the undersides of the hindwings have black veins. Caterpillars are black with cream stripes, yellow spots and three pairs of black filaments. The chrysalis can be green, light to dark brown or cream colored with a golden-edged black band.
Florida and southwestern United States, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America; strays into the central and northern United States.
Locally uncommon in West Florida early April - early November; locally uncommon in North Florida early March - early November; uncommon to common in Central Florida February - early December; common all year in South Florida; uncommon to common all year in the Keys.
Salt marshes, prairies, pinelands, hardwood hammock edges and open, disturbed sites.
Three or more broods per year. The cream-colored eggs are laid singly on the leaves, stems and flower buds of the host plants.
Males patrol all day to find females. Adults roost communally. Caterpillars sequester toxic chemicals in their bodies from the milkweed plants on which they feed, and become distasteful to predators.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves, flower buds, and stems of host plants. Native larval host plants include the cultivated wildflowers fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), green antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and rarely butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and the vine, vine milkweed (Seutera angustifolia). Other native host plants include the wildflowers Curtiss' milkweed (Asclepias curtissii), longleaf milkweed (Asclepias longifolia), pinewoods milkweed (Asclepias humistrata) and velvetleaf milkweed (Asclepias tomentosa) and the vines, hairnetvine (Orthosia scoparia) and whitevine (Funastrum clausum). The nonnative latexplant (Morrenia odorata) and scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) also are larval host plants. Native nectar plants include turkey tangle fog fruit (Phyla nodiflora).