North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Delaware

Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus (=daunus))
JPG -- species photo

Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus [J. E. Smith])

Wing span: 1 5/16 - 1 7/8 inches (3.3 - 5 cm).

Identification: Hindwing is elongated. Upperside is dark brown; forewing has a wide band composed of aligned transparent spots. Male lacks a costal fold.

Life history: To seek females, males perch on vegetation 1.5 to 4.5 feet above ground, usually on hilltops or knolls. Some males appear to use the same perch throughout their lives (which lasts no more than 2 weeks). Females lay eggs singly on the underside of a host plant leaflet. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters of rolled or tied leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from mid-June to mid-July in the north; two broods (possibly three) from June-early October in most of its range.

Caterpillar hosts: Various plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) including beggar's ticks (Desmodium), bush clover (Lespedeza), clover (Trifolium), milkvetch (Astragalus), fuzzybean (Strophostyles), and wild bean (Glycine).

Adult food: Usually nectar from blue, purple, pink, or white flowers including dogbane, selfheal, crown vetch, Japanese honeysuckle, thistles, common milkweed, and others.

Habitat: Open, scrubby places including dry meadows, burned areas, dry prairie hills, powerline right-of-ways, and others.

Range: Most of the eastern United States from southern Maine west across the Great Lake States to Minnesota, Nebraska, southeastern Colorado, and northern New Mexico; south to central Florida, the Gulf Coast, and 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.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp.
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Shapiro, A.M. 1966.  Butterflies of the Delaware Valley.  American Entomological
     Society Special Publication.  Philadelphia, PA.  79 pp. 

Woodbury, E.N.  1994.  Butterflies of Delmarva.  Delaware Nature Society, Inc.,
     Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, MD.  138 pp.  [NOTE: this book only 
     treats True Butterflies (Papilionoidea).  It does not treat Skippers
Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus (=daunus))
distribution map
map legend

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