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Butterflies of Colorado -- Megisto cymela

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Colorado

Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
JPG -- species photo

Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela [Cramer])

Wing span: 1 1/2 - 1 7/8 inches (3.8 - 4.8 cm).

Identification: Light brown. Forewing has 2 yellow-rimmed black eyespots both above and below. Hindwing has 2 eyespots on upper side; but may have smaller spots below.

Life history: In the early morning and late afternoon, Little Wood Satyrs bask with their wings open while perched on tree leaves or on leaf litter. Adults have a slow bouncing flight and will rise as far as the tops of tall trees. Males patrol in the shade to find females. Eggs are laid singly on grass blades. Fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from June-July in the north; two to three broods from March-September in the south.

Caterpillar hosts: Orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) and centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides).

Adult food: Sap, aphid honeydew, and rarely flower nectar.

Habitat: Grassy woods and openings, old fields; especially in limey or basic soils.

Range: Eastern Nebraska and northeastern Colorado south to eastern Texas; east through all of the eastern United States except northern New England, southern peninsular Florida, and coastal Louisiana.

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:

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, F.M., Eff, J.D., and B. Rotger. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Denver 
     Museum of Natural History, Denver.

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
distribution map
map legend

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