Mexican Bluewing (Myscelia ethusa [Boisduval])
Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 inches (6.4 - 7.6 cm).
Identification: Forewing apex is truncated. Upperside is black with iridescent blue bands; outer half of forewing has white spots.
Life history: Young caterpillars make a resting perch by attaching dung pellets and silk to a leaf vein. The adults rest on tree trunks with wings closed, exposing their undersides which look like bark.
Flight: Many flights throughout the year in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: In the tropics, Dalechampia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).
Adult food: Rotting fruit.
Habitat: Stream valleys with dry scrub or scattered tropical forest.
Range: Colombia north through Central America to Mexico. Periodically strays and lives in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Conservation: Conserve remaining Tamaulipan brushland habitats in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
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: Expand the lower Rio Grande Valley refuge complex. Protect existing habitats on refuges.
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.