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Butterflies of California -- Phyciodes mylitta

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of California

Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
JPG -- species photo

Mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside is bright reddish orange with narrow dark markings. Lacks the prominent black inner marginal spot of Phyciodes pallidus. Underside is yellow-orange with somewhat blurry rusty orange markings.

Life history: Males perch or patrol all day near host plants for females. Eggs are deposited on underside of host plant leaves; caterpillars eat leaves. Young caterpillars may live in a small silken nest; partially-grown caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: Two broods in the north from April-September, several in the south from February-November.

Caterpillar hosts: Native thistles (Cirsium), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and European thistles (Carduus).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: From sea level to 8000 feet in mountains, fields, meadows, roads, vacant lots, parks, and fencerows.

Range: Southern British Columbia southeast through the Rocky Mountain region to Mexico; south to Washington, Oregon, and California.

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.

References:

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.
Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)
distribution map
map legend

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