Red-bordered Pixie (Melanis pixe [Boisduval])
Wing span: 1 1/2 - 1 7/8 inches (3.8 - 4.4 cm).
Identification: Upperside black. Tip of forewing yellow-orange; base of wing with red spot. Hindwing outer margin with band of red spots.
Life history: Eggs are laid in groups of 10-30 on the host tree leaves, stems, or bark; caterpillars feed gregariously on leaves and pupate together in groups.
Flight: January-November in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Guamuchil (Pithecellobium dulce), Albizia, and Inga species; all in the pea family (Fabaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of Pithecellobium, Albizia, Inga, Coffea, Cordia, Lantana, and Citrus.
Habitat: Lowland riparian tropical forest, city parks.
Range: Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas south to Costa Rica.
Conservation: Not required for occasional 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.
DeVries, P. J. 1997. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Volume II Riodinidae. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 288 pages, 25 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.
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.