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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Florida

Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
JPG -- species photo

Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades [Geyer])

Wing span: 1 3/4 - 1 15/16 inches (4.5 - 4.9 cm).

Identification: Upperside of wings is dark brown; center of forewing with a transparent gold band. Fringes are checkered. Underside of hindwing is black-brown with a wide silvery white band along most of the outer margin.

Life history: To seek females males perch in forest openings on branches about 3-6 feet above ground. They fly out repeatedly to chase other insects but will return to the same perch. Females lay eggs singly under leaflets of host plants that are in full or partial shade. Caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from June-August in the north; 2 broods from April-September in most of its range.

Caterpillar hosts: Beggar's ticks (Desmodium); occasionally false indigo (Baptisia) and bush clover (Lespedeza); all in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of common milkweed, dogbane, buttonbush, Japanese honeysuckle, and New Jersey tea.

Habitat: Open woodland and brushy areas, particularly oak or pine woods with sandy soil.

Range: Eastern United States from central New England south to northern Florida; west to Iowa, eastern Kansas, and central Texas. Outlying record from western Kansas.

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:

Gerberg, E.J. and Arnett, R.H., Jr.  Florida Butterflies.  Natural Science
     Publications, Inc.  Baltimore, MD.  90 pp.

Kimball, C.P.  1965.  Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas - Vol. 1:
     Lepidoptera of Florida.  Div. of Plant Industry, State of Florida Dept. 
     of Agriculture.  Gainesville, FL.  363 pp. 

Minno, M.C. and Emmel, T.C.  1993.  Butterflies of the Florida Keys.  Scientific
     Publishers.  Gainesville, FL.  168 pp.
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Smith, D.S., Miller, L.D. and Miller, J.Y.  1994.  The Butterflies of the West
     Indies and South Florida.  Oxford Univ. Press.  Oxford, U.K.  264 pp.
Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)
distribution map
map legend

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