Florida Leafwing (Anaea floridalis Johnson & Comstock)
Wing span: 3 - 3 1/2 inches (7.6 - 9 cm).
Identification: Forewing tip is slightly hooked and margin is straight; hindwing has a pointed tail. Upperside is red with dark outer margins but few other dark markings; forewing has a dark bar in the cell. Underside resembles a dead leaf.
Life history: Males perch on twigs about 10 feet off the ground to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on leaves of the host plant; caterpillars eat leaves. Young caterpillars make a resting perch from a leaf vein; older caterpillars live in a rolled-up leaf shelter.
Flight: The dry season form flies from October-April; the wet season form from May-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Woolly croton (Croton linearis) in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Rotting fruit and dung.
Habitat: Pine-palmetto scrub and edges.
Range: Extreme southern peninsular Florida and the Florida Keys.
Conservation: Limited to a few remaining habitats in the Florida Keys.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G1 - Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. (Critically endangered throughout its range).
Management needs: Conserve remaining habitat on the Florida Keys and practice proper successional management.
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.
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.