Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 1/16 - 1 1/2 inches (2.7 - 3.9 cm).
Identification: Wings are black or blackish brown. Upperside of male forewing has a large transparent white spot below the end of the black stigma and several other spots above and below it. Female forewing has a transparent square spot at the end of the cell. Underside of both sexes is black, sometimes with a purple sheen, and often has a few distinct pale spots.
Life history: Males perch on low vegetation in sunny clearings to wait for females; courtship usually occurs around noon. Caterpillars eat leaves and live in shelters of rolled or tied leaves.
Flight: One brood from mid-June to early August in the north; two broods from April to September in the south.
Caterpillar hosts: Purpletop (Tridens flavus).
Adult food: Nectar from white, pink, and purple flowers is preferred, including dogbane, selfheal, peppermint, joe-pye weed, and common and swamp milkweeds. Yellow flowers are visited when others are unavailable.
Habitat: Moist places near shaded wood edges.
Range: Central New England west to central Nebraska; south to northern Florida, the Gulf Coast, and South Texas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may 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. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.