Little Metalmark (Calephelis virginiensis [Guérin- Ménéville])
Wing span: 1/2 - 1 inch (1.3 - 2.5 cm).
Identification: The only metalmark of the southeast Atlantic coastal plain. Small. Upperside rusty orange, with fringes dark and not checkered. Underside brighter orange.
Life history: Males perch on low-growing plants to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars rest underneath leaves during the day, emerging at night and on cloudy days to feed.
Flight: Three to five broods from March-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Yellow thistle (Cirsium horridulum).
Adult food: Short-flowered composites including yarrow, lance-leaved coreopsis, fine-leaved sneezeweed, and blue mist flower.
Habitat: Grassy areas of the coastal plain and in open pine woods, savannah, and salt-marsh meadows.
Range: Atlantic coastal plain and piedmont from Maryland south to Florida and the Keys; west along the Gulf coast to southeast Texas.
Conservation: Colonies are localized but apparently conservation concern is minimal.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.