Dull Firetip (Pyrrhopyge araxes [Hewitson])
Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.7 cm).
Identification: Upperside is dark brown; forewing with large white patches, hindwing with scalloped outer margin. Underside of forewing is the same as the upperside, and has orange at the wing base. Underside of hindwing is mostly orange with a dark border and blurry dark markings.
Life history: Adults are fast, strong fliers. They bask with their wings held open. The caterpillar eats leaves and lives in the shelter of a folded leaf.
Flight: Several broods from June-November, most common in September.
Caterpillar hosts: Arizona oak (Quercus arizonica), Emory Oak (Q. emoryi), and Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia)
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including Monarda and Baccharis.
Habitat: Open oak woodland, roadsides, streamsides, forest trails and edges.
Range: Southern Arizona, west Texas, Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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: None reported.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. 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.