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Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 2 inches. The body and wings are brown. The forewing has large clear or yellowish spots, with a dark brown band on the underside. A band of the lighter body color extends almost through the dark brown band. The underside of the hindwing has two bands of pale spots. The fringes of the two long tails are checkered. The caterpillar is green, or occasionally brown, with a dark brown or black head, a chain of yellow spots with a dark border along each side, and a dark line down the back.
North America north to California, West Indies, Central America, South America.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Common; adults and caterpillars present all year in Florida. Tends to move north in Florida during the late summer and fall.
Hammocks, forest edges, and disturbed areas such as roadsides and overgrown fields.
Three or more broods per year. The greenish eggs are laid singly on the leaves and flower stalks of the host plants.
This butterfly spends much of its time perching upside down under leaves; it rarely lands with its wings open.
Larval host plants include the native beggar's-ticks (Desmodium incanum) and cow-pea (Vigna luteola) and the nonnative Dixie ticktrefoil (Desmodium tortuosum). Nectar plants include the native Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata), narrowleaf yellowtops (Flaveria linearis), wild-sage (Lantana involucrata), snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) and blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) and the nonnative Mexican flamevine (Pseudognoxys chenopodioides).