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Copyright by: Beryn Harty
Small butterfly with a wingspan up to 1-3/8 inches. The upperside is reddish-brown, with a few orange or reddish-orange patches and a two-part black stigma (the "broken dash"). There is a broad gray fringe on the forewing and a buffy fringe on the hindwing. The underside is orange or reddish-orange and has a band of pale spots. The male has a rectangular orange spot at the end of each stigma. The female has a rectangular orange spot on the hindwing. The small, slender caterpillar is brownish-green with a black head, a pale orange stripe on the side, small dark spots, and faint dark lines on the back and sides.
North America, West Indies, Central America, South America
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Common in West Florida and North Florida early April-November; commmon in Central Florida March-November; uncommon to common in South Florida all year; uncommon all year in the Keys. Caterpillars are present all year.
Woodland edges, adjacent open areas, and hammocks.
Two to three broods per year; all year in Florida. The whitish eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the host plants.
Caterpillars live in nests formed of leaves or grass clippings tied together with silk. A caterpillar holds a piece of leaf over itself when feeding. Males perch within two feet of the ground, usually in the early morning, waiting for females.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of host plants. Larval host plants include the native grass blue paspalum (Paspalum caespitosum) and the naturalized Indian goose grass (Eleusine indica) and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Native nectar plants include the wildlflowers blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), Leavenworth's tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii), silver sea-oxeye-daisy (Borrichia frutescens) and the weedy Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata); the herbs narrowleaf yellowtops (Flaveria linearis) and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata); the vine yellowroot (Morinda royoc); the shrubs coastal sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) and Florida Keys blackbead (Pithecellobium keyense); the trees smooth strongback (Bourreria succulenta) and poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum); and the naturalized herb common selfheal (Prunella vulgaris), vine Mexican flamevine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides) and tree Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).