Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Dateline: July 29, 2011*

Female nectaring on Bidens alba (photo from 2015)

A while back I was enthralled watching a pair of Crescent Butterflies fluttering around, preparing to mate so I made a video slideshow (1 minute 28 seconds) with a “tongue-in-cheek” caption narrative of my photoshoot.

The Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) is in the Nymphalidae Family, Subfamily: Nymphalinae which are commonly known as the True Brushfoots. It is a small butterfly with a wingspan of about one to 1.5 inches. The larval host for this butterfly includes several species of smooth-leaved true asters (Aster spp. aka Symphyotrichum spp.) For nectar they like Bidens alba, Blackeyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and, as can be seen in the video, Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora).

“One of the most abundant small butterflies in eastern North America, the pearl crescent is fond of most open locations, including old fields, roadsides, and pastures. It flies quickly and low to the ground, and often perches in low vegetation. The pearl crescent is orange above with numerous black markings and black wing borders. Females are slightly larger than males and have more pattern elements. The hind wings below vary depending on the temperature and daylength the developing larvae go through. Cool-season forms tend to be darker and more heavily marked.”

shown on Sentitive pea, Asters are the larval host for Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Try adding asters and some of their favorite nectar sources to attract this fun butterfly. I hope you enjoy the show!

*This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on July 29, 2011 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.


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