Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria Scudder)
Wing span: 2 3/8 - 3 1/4 inches (6 - 8.2 cm).
Identification: Underside looks like a dead leaf. Male summer form is dull red with a barely hooked forewing tip, and a short tail on the hindwing. Male winter form is redder with more dark markings, a definitely hooked forewing tip, and a longer tail than the summer form. Both female forms are lighter red and have an irregular yellow submarginal band. The winter female form has hooked forewing tips.
Life history: Flight is swift, strong, and erratic. Males perch in clearings or on ridgetops to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly under host plant leaves; caterpillars eat leaves. A caterpillar changes shelters as it grows: first it perches on a leaf midvein, then lives in the shelter of a folded leaf, and finally rests in a rolled-up leaf. Adults hibernate, then mate in the spring.
Flight: The winter form flies from August-May, the summer form from July-August.
Caterpillar hosts: Goatweed (Croton capitatum), Texas croton (C. texensis), and prairie tea (C. monanthogynus); all in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Sap, rotting fruit, dung, bird droppings.
Habitat: Deciduous woods and scrub, especially along waterways; open fields, roadsides, railroad tracks, and other places.
Range: Eastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado south to New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas; east to Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia, and the Gulf States.
Conservation: Not usually of conservation concern.
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. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 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.