Mexican Longtail (Polythrix mexicana H. A. Freeman)
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 5/8 inches (3.5 - 4.1 cm).
Identification: Hindwings have long tails. Wings are brown; forewing with 2 submarginal spots near the rear of the wing. Underside of forewing has a dark brown spot near the base. Males have a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the leading edge of the forewing.
Life history: Adults perch upside down on the undersides of leaves. Caterpillars live in leaf shelters and feed on leaves.
Flight: Many broods from April-October in Mexico; June-July and October in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Tree legumes Amerimnon and Ichtyomenthia.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Shady subtropical forest.
Range: Peru north to Mexico. Strays north to the lower Rio Grande Valley, 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.