Black Crescent (Phyciodes ptolyca [Bates])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/8 inches (3.2 - 3.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside is black with wide yellow markings. Underside of forewing with narrow yellow or white marginal patch.
Life history: Eggs are laid in clusters on the host plants; caterpillars feed in groups.
Flight: December in South Texas; many flights throughout the year in the tropics.
Caterpillar hosts: Not reported.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Subtropical lowland fields and pastures.
Range: Venezuela north through Central America to Mexico. A rare stray to South Texas.
Conservation: Not necessary for rare stray.
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 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:
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.