Lepidoptera Buffet | Crescentspot Butterflies
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Crescentspot Butterflies

Crescentspot Butterflies 6

Crescentspot Butterflies

Small Crescent butterflies (also called Crescentspot), appear in our gardens as fast-moving flashes of orange and black, darting among the flowers. This diminutive butterfly, Phyciodes tharos, has a wing span between one and two inches. Males fly around open fields and pastures looking for mates. They puddle in the mud along the roads and ditches, and look for nectar from flowers like Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coneflowers.

There are several variations in wing markings between the different Crescents. They do not interbreed. The males have black-tipped, clubbed antennae where the female’s are lighter.

Phyciodes tharos

This female Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos, is a frequent visitor around various flowers at Lepidoptera Buffet. The black spots just above the white crescent markings along the dark margins of the hind wings help to differentiate between Silvery Crescentspot.


Phyciodes tharos

Pearl Crescent nectars from the Pink Coneflower.

Many types of composite flowers provide food for the Crescent butterflies. Around the spiny quills poking out of the central disc of this Purple Coneflower, a Crescent sucks up the rich nectar in the tube-like tongue called proboscis.

Phyciodes tharos

This Pearl Crescent uncoils the proboscis to sip nectar from the Echinacea quills.


Phyciodes tharos

Female Crescentspot butterflies have lighter tips on the club antennae.


Phyciodes tharos

Tiny butterflies compared to the Swallowtails, these Crescents are territorial around their favorite nectar flowers.

Sources:
http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Phyciodes-tharos
The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, Robert Michael Pyle

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Authors: Kathleen Hird Kostner and Ricardo Kostner
© Hird and Kostner | Image reproduction only with written permission from the authors.