Mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside is bright reddish orange with narrow dark markings. Lacks the prominent black inner marginal spot of Phyciodes pallidus. Underside is yellow-orange with somewhat blurry rusty orange markings.
Life history: Males perch or patrol all day near host plants for females. Eggs are deposited on underside of host plant leaves; caterpillars eat leaves. Young caterpillars may live in a small silken nest; partially-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: Two broods in the north from April-September, several in the south from February-November.
Caterpillar hosts: Native thistles (Cirsium), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and European thistles (Carduus).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: From sea level to 8000 feet in mountains, fields, meadows, roads, vacant lots, parks, and fencerows.
Range: Southern British Columbia southeast through the Rocky Mountain region to Mexico; south to Washington, Oregon, and California.
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.
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:
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.