Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta [Cramer])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 7/8 inches (3.2 - 4.8 cm).
Identification: Antennal clubs of male are orange. Females are darker than males. Upperside is orange-brown with dark borders; median orange-brown areas are mostly open, with few dark markings. Underside of hindwing is orange with a tan patch surrounding the pale marginal crescent.
Life history: All day long, males patrol near the host plants for receptive females. Eggs are laid in bunches of about 40 on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves, and young ones live and feed communally. Third-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from June-July, perhaps two broods in southern Canada.
Caterpillar hosts: Asters, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of dogbane, fleabane, and white clover.
Habitat: Moist open areas in rocky places, wooded streams, marsh edges, and shale barrens.
Range: Newfoundland and northern New England west across the Great Lake states and southern Canada to British Columbia; south in the western mountains to Utah, southeast Arizona, and southern New Mexico; south in the Appalachians to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Conservation: Some geographically restricted subspecies and unnamed populations should be monitored, managed, or preserved.
Management needs: Maintain habitat integrity, host plant colonies, and nectar sources.
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:
Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif. Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from Entomological Reprint Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.] Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California. Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif. Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies. California Natural History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35. Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State University, Masters Thesis. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.