Mulberry Wing (Poanes massasoit [Scudder])
Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 7/16 inches (2.9 - 3.7 cm).
Identification: Wings are dark brown to black, relatively short and rounded. Upperside has small (male) or larger (female) yellow spots. Underside of hindwing has a large irregular yellow patch; rare individuals are rust colored and have no patch.
Life history: Males patrol with a low, weak, meandering flight through marshes in search for receptive females.
Flight: One brood from late June to mid-August.
Caterpillar hosts: Uptight sedge (Carex stricta), and possibly others.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Freshwater marshes or bogs.
Range: New York and Massachusetts west across the Great Lakes states to southern Minnesota and North Dakota. A coastal population ranges from southern New Hampshire south to Maryland.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might 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. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Nekola, Jeffrey C. 1995. County Distribution Maps of Iowa Butterflies and Skippers. Dept. of Natural and Applied Sciences, Univ. of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI. 30 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.