Vesta Crescent (Phyciodes vesta [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/2 inches (2.2 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Orange above with markings of fine black lines. Below, forewing has a series of postmedian and submarginal orange circles on a dark background.
Life history: Males patrol for females all day in low areas. Females lay eggs in clumps on leaves of host plant; caterpillars eat leaves.
Flight: Many broods from April-September in the north, February-December in South Texas, all year in Mexico.
Caterpillar hosts: Hairy tubetongue (Siphonoglossa pilosella) in the acanthus family.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Thorn and mesquite woodlands, desert, prairie, road edges, dry streambeds.
Range: Guatemala north through Mexico to southeast Arizona and central Texas. Temporary colonist to Arkansas, Colorado, and Nebraska.
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 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. 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.